Scientists at the Gladstone Institutes have discovered that an FDA-approved anti-epileptic drug reverses memory loss and alleviates other Alzheimer’s-related impairments in an animal model of the disease.
Scientists in the laboratory of Lennart Mucke, MD, who directs neurological research at Gladstone, conducted the research on mice genetically modified to simulate key aspects of Alzheimer’s disease. In the study, they show how levetiracetam—a drug commonly prescribed for patients who suffer from epilepsy—suppresses abnormal brain activity and restores memory function in these mice. They are publishing their findings online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The news comes at a critical time of renewed focus on this most prevalent of neurodegenerative diseases—and amid a dearth of medications that prevent, halt or reverse the increasingly common condition. Alzheimer’s afflicts 5.4 million people in the United States alone—a figure expected to nearly triple by 2050.