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Alzheimer's Drug Slows Memory Decline

Other Alzheimer's Drugs in Late-Stage Testing

There are more than 5 million Americans living with Alzheimer's disease, which disrupts memory, learning, and other mental functions. In 2010, estimates showed nearly half a million new cases each year, and by 2050, there will be nearly a million new cases annually, according to the Alzheimer's Association.

Also at the meeting, researchers offered an update on another drug called bapineuzumab, which targets beta-amyloid in the brain.

In August, researchers reported that patients taking bapineuzumab didn't fare any better in terms of memory loss or daily functioning than those taking placebo.

Reisa Sperling, MD, director of the Center for Alzheimer's Research and Treatment at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, now reports that imaging studies show bapineuzumab reduces beta-amyloid more than placebo.

Is the lack of a bigger effect in terms of reducing symptoms because "we are giving too little of the drug or giving the drug too late?" she asks.

"Hopefully, these new results from the bapineuzumab studies together with the clinical results from the solanezumab studies may provide a potential path forward for Alzheimer's research,'' Sperling says.

No cost has been set for either drug, but targeted disease-modifying drugs used to treat arthritis generally cost hundreds of dollars a month.

These findings were presented at a medical conference. They should be considered preliminary, as they have not yet undergone the "peer review" process, in which outside experts scrutinize the data prior to publication in a medical journal.

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