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Study sparks fresh debate over an old theory on the cause of Alzheimer’s

| | August 9, 2018

In the long-running debate over just what causes Alzheimer’s disease, one side looks to have scored a victory with new results with an in-development drug. But there’s enough variation in the data to ensure that the squabbling factions of Alzheimer’s will have plenty to fight about.

At issue is the so-called amyloid hypothesis, a decades-old theory claiming that Alzheimer’s gradual degradation of the brain is caused by the accumulation of sticky plaques. And the new drug is BAN2401, designed by Biogen and Eisai to prevent those amyloid plaques from clustering and attack the clumps that already have.

In data presented [recently], one group of patients receiving BAN2401 saw their amyloid levels plummet, a result that was tied to a significant reduction in cognitive decline compared with placebo.

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But to skeptics, the trial was laden with confounding details that make it impossible to draw conclusions.

“These results are a mess,” wrote Baird biotech analyst Brian Skorney. “Not so much that they indicate an outright failure of the [amyloid] hypothesis, but they don’t really say anything informative at all.”

If amyloid really is the driving factor behind Alzheimer’s, why didn’t each incremental reduction in plaques lead to a corresponding improvement in cognition?

Read full, original post: Alzheimer’s study sparks a new round of debate over the amyloid hypothesis

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