January 16, 2010

Medical Promise Found in Il Sud

January 14 – A team of medical researchers based in the region of Molise in Southern Italy announced recently the discovery of a treatment that holds promise in the prevention and possibly even the treatment of Alzheimer’s Dementia, a terminal neurological disorder that defies cure or treatment.

Prof. Giovanni Scapagnini MD PhD, a research biochemist at Molise University, presented his team’s findings during a geriatric medicine convention in Rome, Italy.  The treatment involved administering homotaurine, a protein found in seaweed and that has been shown efficacious in blocking formation of toxic chemicals that lead to amyloid plaque deposits in the brain.  These deposits are considered a pathological mark of Alzheimer’s disease.

The study which produced these promising results was conducted on around 2,000 patients across Europe and the U.S.  According to Prof. Scapagnini, the drug “greatly reduced” the buildup of toxic chemicals in the brain as well as improving long-term memory in Alzheimer’s patients.

What makes this study particularly exciting is the fact it was done on human subjects, as opposed to test animals.  Any doctor will tell you that sadly, more often than not drugs that show promise on animals prove to be dismal failures with humans.  Even if ultimately homotaurine proves a letdown, the fact it showed such vigor in human trials lends hope that perhaps one day an analog of the drug might prove effective in halting the spread of the deadly disease.

By Niccol√≤ Graffio