Barcelona, Spain – Currently, there is no drug that can cure Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia. As research to find an effective new treatment continues, a new study finds that a group of prescription drugs already approved for use can reverse the impact of the disease.
In a study on mice, scientists at IRB Barcelona found that two nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and two blood pressure medications can reverse cognitive impairment caused by Alzheimer’s disease. The drugs also reduced the amount of harmful plaques building up in the hippocampus of the brain and partially restored genes linked to the disease.
In addition to finding a group of existing drugs that prevent mental decline, the team also identified three distinct stages of Alzheimer’s disease – the initial, middle, and late stages. At each stage, the researchers analyzed the behavior of the mice, studying the impact of Alzheimer’s disease on the brain, particularly in the hippocampus. From there, they measured gene expression and protein levels, which build up and form disruptive plaques in patients with dementia.
“What we have observed is that although Alzheimer’s disease shares some characteristics of accelerated aging, it is also affected by totally different aging processes”, explains Dr Patrick Aloy, head of the bioinformatics laboratory. structure and biology of IRB Barcelona networks, in a press release. .
“This disease is caused by the abnormal accumulation of certain proteins, and we have seen that in some cases this is not caused by overproduction but by an error in their elimination.”
What prescriptions can help the brain?
The study authors used a computer tool to find existing drugs on the market today that can reverse cognitive damage at the cellular level. After compiling a list of possible candidates, they tested the drugs on mice with the degenerative disease.
Four drugs were ultimately successful in reversing Alzheimer’s disease and stopping its symptoms in mice. The two NSAIDs are dexketoprofen and etodolac and the two antihypertensives are penbutolol and bendroflumethiazide.
“Epidemiological studies already indicated that people who take anti-inflammatory drugs regularly have a lower incidence of Alzheimer’s disease, but this had not been correlated with a specific drug or mechanism. The results we are publishing are most promising and we hope that further research can be carried out on them as they could lead to a paradigm shift in the treatment of this disease, ”adds Dr Aloy.
In addition to finding these new treatment pathways, researchers say identifying the distinct phases of Alzheimer’s disease is key to early detection. Early diagnosis of the disease will allow doctors to treat patients before the brain damage becomes too severe.
Results appear in the journal Genome medicine.