Alzheimer's disease may be better treated with a cocktail of therapies that limit production of the plaque that impairs the brain rather than with a single treatment, a study in mice suggests.
The combination approach preserved memory with few side effects, something individual treatment methods haven't been able to do as well, researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine said in a report published yesterday in the journal Science Translational Medicine.
There is no cure yet for Alzheimer's, a disease that attacks the brain and causes memory loss that can devolve into severe cognitive decline. It affects an estimated 30 million people worldwide and was the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States in 2007, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. Scientists suspect Alzheimer's may be caused by a protein called amyloid beta, generated by two enzymes that drugmakers have been targeting individually with experimental treatments.
"The idea is if you can identify compounds or drugs that inhibit these enzymes, you'll be able to slow down the progression of the disease."