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Testing new treatments for Alzheimer's disease, from the January 2013 Harvard Health Letter

Harvard doctors are testing two new approaches to Alzheimer's disease aimed at reversing the condition or its symptoms, reports the January 2013 Harvard Health Letter.

Dr. Rudy Tanzi helped create a drug called PBT2. It prevents the production of protein plaques and tangles that kill brain cells. "It also induces new neurons to grow in the hippocampus, which improves executive function," says Dr. Tanzi, who is the Joseph P. and Rose F. Kennedy professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School. PBT2 is now in clinical trials in Australia.

The second new approach is NeuroAD, a treatment from Israel being tested at Harvard for the management of AD symptoms. NeuroAD uses a magnet to stimulate a region of a person's brain that is being affected by Alzheimer's and then immediately challenges him or her to solve problems on a computer. During a session, each brief brain stimulation is followed by a computer challenge. "It doesn't cure the disease, but it does make the brain circuits work better, and this leads to a striking improvement in cognitive abilities for day-to-day tasks," says lead researcher Dr. Alvaro Pascual-Leone, professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School.

Read the full-length article: "Can we reverse Alzheimer's?"

Also in this issue of the Harvard Health Letter

  • Can we reverse Alzheimer's?
  • Ask the doctor: When to remove carotid blockage?
  • Ask the doctor: Is high altitude exercising better for your heart?
  • Are high tech heart tests best?
  • Depression and obesity: Confirming the link
  • NSAIDs: topicals vs. pills for pain
  • Why doctors keep pushing fiber
  • Considering testosterone therapy?
  • Should you get a PSA test?
  • The popular fix for droopy eyes
  • New attack on precancerous patches
  • What you should know about: Vitamin C
  • News briefs: Multivitamin use may reduce cancer risk
  • News briefs: Beans may help control blood sugar in people with diabetes
  • News briefs: Aspirin may help colon cancer patients live longer
  • News briefs: Bisphosphonates may help men with osteoporosis

More Harvard Health News »


About Harvard Health Publications

Harvard Health Publications publishes four monthly newsletters--Harvard Health Letter, Harvard Women's Health Watch, Harvard Men's Health Watch, and Harvard Heart Letter--as well as more than 50 special health reports and books drawing on the expertise of the 8,000 faculty physicians at Harvard Medical School and its world-famous affiliated hospitals.