Healthcast: New hope for Alzheimer’s disease


There’s new hope when it comes to the future of Alzheimer’s disease.

“Alzheimer’s is the most common neurodegenerative disorder in our population,” explained Dr. Katie Hendley, a neurologist with Covenant Medical Group.

And Dr. Hendley says it goes beyond just forgetting something.

“They often repeat themselves, or get disoriented in what would be a familiar place,” Dr. Hendley explained. “They can’t function on their own or take their own medicines.”

But researchers at the University of New Mexico have developed a vaccine that could prevent it.

“It appears that it’s definitely targeting the pathology of Alzheimer’s,” said Dr. Hendley. “The abnormal protein called tau is in the pathology of the brains of people who have Alzheimer’s that really  causes the neurodegeneration of the cells.”

The vaccine produces antibodies against tau. 

In studies used in mice, the vaccine reduced or eliminated the tau pathology. 

And the mice could do better on both physical and cognitive tests.

Dr. Hendley says this vaccine is exciting and a step in the right direction.

“There are several years going forward to then apply this treatment to humans,” said Dr. Hendley. “One to make it safe and to make sure it’s effective and effective beyond a placebo. So usually that’s 8-10 years for it to become readily available.”

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