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Technology Aids Development of New Alzheimer’s Drugs

By Senior News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on July 22, 2013

Technology Aids Development of New Alzheimer's MedicationsComputerized cognitive testing is gaining ground as the preferred method to develop pharmaceutical therapy for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Recently, at an international conference for Alzheimer’s, researchers discussed new data for potential therapies.

In the first study, researchers presented the first behavioral data in Alzheimer’s patients that associates genetic and biomarker activity to dysfunction in a major brain area involved both in memory and the production of new nerve cells (neurogenesis).

Researchers found that patients with two APOE ϵ4 alleles (which confer a 10- to 30-fold increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease) showed a selective decline in a computerized cognitive test measure associated with activity in a part of the brain called the hippocampal dentate gyrus.

As interest in Alzheimer’s research is shifting to begin treating the disease at its earliest stages, these findings identify a potential genetic and biomarker strategy for selecting individuals for early treatment with therapies that may promote hippocampal neurogenesis.

A second study provided the first data that performance on objective tests of attention and memory can be improved by the drug memantine in two other major forms of dementia — Parkinson’s disease dementia and dementia with Lewy bodies.

The improvements detected were highly statistically reliable and of clinically relevant effect sizes; indicating that memantine can produce cognitive benefits in patients with these dementias that match those seen previously with anticholinesterases.

Both studies utilized the CDR System, an automated cognitive test system, making a strong case for benefits for the increased sensitivity and specificity that such procedures bring to dementia research, when compared with traditional tests.

Another recent Alzheimer’s trial conducted by Orion Corporation demonstrated proof of concept of a new drug with a novel mode of action.

The phase II clinical trial tested ORM-12741, the first drug to target a specific subtype of adrenergic receptors in the brain, which are believed to be involved in modulation of brain functions under stressful conditions.

The trial of 100 patients showed significant positive effects on episodic memory in patients with moderate Alzheimer’s disease. Efficacy was assessed using the CDR System.

Source: Bracket Global

Abstract of computerized brain photo by shutterstock.

 

APA Reference
Nauert, R. (2013). Technology Aids Development of New Alzheimer’s Drugs. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 24, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/news/2013/07/22/technology-aids-development-of-new-alzheimers-drugs/57482.html