First FDA Approved Drug to Slow Alzheimer’s


CLEVELAND, Ohio (Ivanhoe Newswire) – More than six million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease – it slowly steals your memories and takes away your mind. There is no cure, yet, but now, a newly FDA-approved drug is helping to slow its progression before it’s too late. Slow Alzheimer’s

Seventy-seven-year-old Joan Murtaugh is sifting through a lifetime of memories. But a few years ago, Joan and her husband Larry felt something was off.

“I did see Joan go through a decline,” Larry remembers.

Joan was diagnosed with early-stage Alzheimer’s disease. There was nothing doctors could do. But now, a recently FDA-approved drug helps slow the progression.

The medication, Leqembi, was the first drug to receive full approval. It reduces amyloid plaque in the brain that’s been linked to Alzheimer’s disease.

“If, somehow, you interrupt this cascade of amyloid buildup in the brain, you may be able to slow down this progression,” Cleveland Clinic neurogeriatrician, Babak Tousi, MD, explains.

(Read Full Interview)

Early-stage Alzheimer’s patients who received the medication had a 27 percent reduction of amyloid beta plaque, and a slower rate of cognitive decline. Doctors also saw a decrease in another harmful brain protein, tau tangles.

Dr. Tousi adds, “It’s not just removing the plaque amyloid, we were able to show all these changes in this biomarkers of the disease.”

Joan has been on the medication for three years.

“I think she’s clear, she’s sharper,” Larry says proudly about his wife.

Joan tells Ivanhoe, “When I think about it, I can still drive a car. I mean, I can go back and forth and do the things I always did.”

Dr. Tousi believes this is just the beginning. Clinical trials are already underway using Leqembi on people who are at high risk for Alzheimer’s but are not showing any signs of cognitive decline. In its approval, the FDA included its strongest warning label — called a boxed warning — about side effects, noting that Leqembi can lead to bleeding and brain swelling.

Contributors to this news report include: Marsha Lewis, Producer; Kirk Manson, Videographer; Roque Correa, Editor.

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REPORT:       MB #5269

BACKGROUND: Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive and irreversible neurological disorder that primarily affects cognitive functions, particularly memory, thinking, and behavior. It is the most common type of dementia, a group of brain disorders characterized by a decline in cognitive abilities severe enough to interfere with daily life. Over six million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s Disease. It is predicted that by the year 2050, about 13 million Americans will be living with Alzheimer’s Disease. One in every three seniors dies from the disease or dementia and it is reported to kill more people than breast and prostate cancer combined. While new technologies are being developed to help slow the rate at which Alzheimer’s Disease attacks, there is still currently no existing cure.


DIAGNOSING: Diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease involves a comprehensive evaluation that considers a person’s medical history, cognitive performance, physical examination, and various tests. Since Alzheimer’s is a progressive neurological disorder, early diagnosis is important to initiate appropriate care and interventions. While there is no single definitive test for Alzheimer’s disease, a combination of assessments helps healthcare professionals make an accurate diagnosis. Early signs of dementia include memory impairment, difficulty concentrating, trouble finishing daily tasks, confusion of location, visual and special difficulty, language impairment, poor judgment, withdrawal from work and socials, and psychiatric changes in mood like depression.


NEW TECHNOLOGY: New technologies like single-cell profiling are allowing neuroscientists to see and understand how Alzheimer’s is affecting major brain cell types and developing new possible targeting pathways. The research performed by MIT scientists was published in the review article Nature Neuroscience. They found that the new research showed long-desired insight with great potential to explain and understand Alzheimer’s disease. They found the damage of the disease on five main areas of cellular functioning in the five main cell major brain types. Student Mitch Murdock and Professor Li-Huei Tsai, director of MIT’s Picower Institute for Learning and Memory and Aging Brain Initiative said, “By identifying vulnerable cell types and the molecular programs that give rise to them, therapeutic interventions might reverse aberrant cellular trajectories.”



Alicia Reale Cooney

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Doctor Q and A

Read the entire Doctor Q&A for Dr. Babak Tousi, Neurogeriatrician

Read the entire Q&A