Washington: An FDA-approved anti-epileptic drug reverses memory loss and alleviates other Alzheimer`s-related impairments in an animal model of the disease, according to scientists at the Gladstone Institutes.Scientists in the laboratory of Lennart Mucke, MD, who directs neurological research at Gladstone, conducted the research on mice genetically modified to simulate key aspects of Alzheimer`s disease.In the study, they showed how levetiracetam—a drug commonly prescribed for patients who suffer from epilepsy—suppresses abnormal brain activity and restores memory function in these mice.“For the millions of people suffering from Alzheimer`s worldwide, we have no effective drug to prevent or reverse memory loss—the hallmark symptom of this ultimately fatal disease,” said Dr. Mucke, who is also a professor of neurology and neuroscience at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), with which Gladstone is affiliated.“This study builds on our earlier findings linking Alzheimer`s and epilepsy. It provides new insights into the processes underlying memory loss in Alzheimer`s and demonstrates the ability of an anti-epileptic drug to block these processes,” the researcher stated.Healthy activity in neuronal networks is critical for essential brain functions such as memory. Alzheimer`s wreaks havoc on these brain networks, causing disruptions that occasionally escalate into epileptic seizures.When the Gladstone scientists administered levetiracetam to the Alzheimer`s mouse model, they found that abnormal network activity in their brains dropped by 50 percent in less than a day.
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