Arthritis Drug Shows Promise in Helping Slow Progression of Alzheimer’s Disease
The prescription drug salsalate, commonly used for treating rheumatoid arthritis, is the subject of new research at the Gladstone Institutes in San Francisco. Researchers are looking at salsalate’s ability to prevent accumulation of tau protein which is present early in the development of Alzheimer’s disease. When too much tau protein builds up it can become toxic and lead to cognitive degeneration.
Tau is a known factor in the development of Alzheimer’s and dementia, but researchers were unable to determine how it builds up and how the buildup leads to cognitive decline. Through postmortem studies of Alzheimer’s patients’ brains, researchers were able to determine that early tau accumulation was a contributing factor in cognitive decline and dysfunction.
Using mouse models, application of salsalate reversed tau-related dysfucnton. These tests led the Gladstone team to develop an approach that reverses the toxicity of the tau protein and helps achieve a delay of Alzheimer’s development. The application may even be successful after Alzheimer’s had set in, allowing some reversal of symptoms and repair of cognitive function.
Researchers are now looking to develop human trials, as salsalate has a long history of relatively safe use for arthritis.
Approximately 5.3 Million Americans Suffer from Alzheimer’s Disease
According to the Alzheimer’s Assoiation, Alzheimer’s disease is the only cause of death in the top 10 in America that cannot be prevented, cured, or slowed at this time. Alzheimer’s not only causes cognitive impairment, but often leads to degenerative physical conditions as well. Most people who are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s cannot continue to work as the disease progresses.
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