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The idea of a vaccine against Alzheimer's disease may yet have some life left to it
Researchers at the University of Michigan have started a new, albeit modified, trial, even while the May 10 issue of Neurology publishes follow-up data to an Alzheimer's vaccine trial that was halted due to safety concerns in 2002. The earlier trial was halted after about 6 percent of participants developed a dangerous brain inflammation, encephalitis. However, researchers continued to monitor the remaining patients for up to a year after their last injection - with some encouraging results, tells Forbes. Participants whose immune systems had mounted a high antibody response to beta-amyloid levels in the brain performed better on memory tests than people who had received a placebo, the Michigan team reported. They found evidence that the vaccine helped clear some of the brain-destroying plaques that characterize the disease. Some vaccinated patients scored better on memory and a few other tests used to diagnose the fatal, incurable condition. We now need to see whether we can create an immune response safely and in a way that slows the progression of Alzheimer's disease and preserves cognition, Dr. Sid Gilman of the University of Michigan Medical School, who led one of the studies, said in a statement. Alzheimer's affects 15 million people around the world. It gradually destroys the brain, causing memory loss and confusion that seriously affects a person's ability to carry out daily activities, report Xinhuanet.
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