16 March 2015

Antiepileptic drug normalizes brain function in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University, working under the guidance of Professor Michela Gallagher, have found that the antiepileptic drug levetiracetam suppresses hyperactivity of the hippocampus of the brain in elderly patients with moderate amnesic cognitive impairment (weakening of memory and cognitive abilities) associated with a high risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.

According to the authors, hyperactivity of the hippocampus is very often registered in patients with this kind and is a prognostic factor for further extinction of cognitive functions and the development of senile dementia or Alzheimer's disease.

Three years ago, researchers demonstrated for the first time the ability of low doses of levetiracitam to normalize brain activity and improve memory in patients with moderate amnesic cognitive impairment. The data obtained were in good agreement with the results of earlier experiments conducted by the authors and other groups of researchers on animal models.

To obtain more detailed results and approximate the proposed approach to clinical practice, the scientists conducted a double-blind randomized clinical trial under placebo control. A total of 84 people over the age of 55 took part in it (the average age was 70 years). 17 of the participants were found to be practically healthy, while the rest had symptoms of memory loss preceding senile dementia, characterized as moderate amnesic cognitive impairment.

As part of the study, participants took different doses of levetiracitam or placebo. The results showed that low doses of levetiracitam not only improved the participants' memory, but also normalized the activity of their hippocampus, the level of which was recorded by functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) during the memorization task. At the same time, the optimal dosage of the drug corresponded to the results obtained earlier in animal models.

In the near future, the authors plan to find out whether taking low doses of levetiracitam can prevent further loss of cognitive functions and delay or prevent the development of Alzheimer's disease.

Article by Arnold Bakker et al. Response of the medial temporal lobe network in amnesty mild cognitive impairment to therapeutic intervention assessed by fMRI and memory task performance is published in the journal NeuroImage: Clinical.

Evgeniya Ryabtseva
Portal "Eternal youth" http://vechnayamolodost.ru based on Johns Hopkins University materials:
Drug Restores Brain Function and Memory in Early Alzheimer’s Disease.


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