July 19, 2008
Alzheimer’s Vaccine Stops Plaque, Not Dementia
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
LONDON - Some doctors have long suspected that if the plaque that builds up in the brains of patients with Alzheimer's disease could be removed, they could be saved. But a new vaccine that did just that suggests the theory is wrong.
British researchers gave 64 patients with moderate Alzheimer's disease an experimental vaccine designed to eliminate plaque from their brains. Some patients were followed for up to six years.
Autopsies on seven patients who died of Alzheimer's during the study showed that nearly all of the sticky beta-amyloid protein thought to be dangerous had been removed. But all patients still had severe dementia.
"It may be that these toxic plaques trigger the neurodegeneration, but don't have an ongoing role," said Clive Holmes of the University of Southampton, lead author, in a press statement.
The study was published today in the medical journal, The Lancet.
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