Alzheimer's disease continues to fuel research, as the incidence is likely to increase in the future. A new drug has been developed to slow the course of Alzheimer's disease. There is a special chemical called glutamate, which is one of the brain's messenger and this chemicalis regulated by a drug called Memantine. Learning and memory are the fields, which are enabled by the chemical glutamate. This happens when glutamate is in its normal concentration. Its concentration can increase or decrease according to the level of Alzheimer's disease.
Available treatments for Alzheimer's that have proven effective at treating mild to moderate stages of the disease are aimed at a different chemical system in the brain, the cholinergic system. Memantine has been approved for use in Germany for more than 10 years.
The Food and Drug Administration is reviewing its safety and efficacy for possible U.S. sale of this drug. Approval could happen by this fall. Findings from a randomized, double-blind study of the drug in 252 patients were published in the April 3 New England Journal of Medicine.
Patients who took Memantine seemed to decline about half as much during the six-month trial as would ordinarily be expected, said Barry Reisberg, MD, professor of psychiatry at New York University School of Medicine, who led the study. Another issue that must be teased out is whether antioxidants in a pill are as beneficial as those in food, noted Paula Bickford, PhD, professor of neurosurgery at the University of South Florida, Tampa.