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“This drug is not a cure. It doesn’t stop people from getting worse, but it does measurably slow the progression of the disease,” said Dr. Joy Snider, a neurologist at Washington University in St. Louis. “That might mean someone could have an extra six months to a year of being able to drive.”
Gut bacteria can influence brain health, according to a study of mice genetically predisposed to develop Alzheimer’s-like brain damage. The study, by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, indicates that gut bacteria produce compounds that influence the behavior of immune cells, including ones in the brain that can cause neurodegeneration. The findings suggest a new approach to treating Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases.
Randall Bateman of Washington University, St. Louis, presented the biomarker evidence, concluding that it indicates the treatment modified underlying biology. “These findings support the ability to change the course of Alzheimer’s disease,” he told Alzforum.
Biogen Inc. and Eisai Co. caused a stir in September when they announced positive results in a late-stage trial for a closely watched Alzheimer’s drug, lecanemab. Doctors tempered their excitement, though, until they could scrutinize the full peer-reviewed data. That data arrived Tuesday night. And while it is stoking enthusiasm that physicians might soon be able to offer patients a treatment that can slow the progression of the devastating disease, doctors need to carefully balance that optimism with safety concerns and the reality that the drug is far from a cure — and in fact, it’s hard to quantify how meaningful it might be for a given patient.
Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have found a biomarker that identifies, with up to 89% accuracy, people with a primary tauopathy called corticobasal degeneration (CBD). Traditional diagnostic methods for CBD are only 25% to 50% accurate, the researchers said.