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Published on: September 28, 2014
by ABC News:
Researchers have found that rheumatoid arthritis patients seem to have protection from developing Alzheimer’s disease. The scientific link between the two may help researchers develop a new treatment for Alzheimer’s.
Looking at pictures is just one way Bob and Donna Otten cope.
“It’ll help him recall what we saw because he won’t remember the trip all that well,” Donna said.
Bob was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease four years ago.
“It slows it a little bit but it’s not anything amazing,” Donna said.
A new study from the University of Colorado may change that.
“A protein that is released during rheumatoid arthritis into the blood seems to get into the brain and prevent Alzheimer’s disease from getting hold,” said Dr. Huntington Potter, professor of neurology UC Anschutz Medical Campus.
The protective protein, known as GMCSF, is also an ingredient in the FDA-approved drug Leukine, which is used to treat leukemia patients.
“This drug is very special because it seems to not only get rid of amyloid deposits in the brain but encourage the growth of new neurons,” Potter said.
The drug was studied in mice and found to be effective at halting Alzheimer’s disease. Human trials are next.
For those with a family history of Alzheimer’s, like the Ottens, the discovery could be life-saving for future generations.
University of Colorado researchers will continue to study this new drug as a treatment for Alzheimer’s but say definitive results are still a few years away.
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