NBC News, CNN: Company reports Alzheimer's drug study data

UC researcher says impact was small, recommends 'cautious optimism'

Japanese drugmaker Eisai recently reported cognitive decline was slowed by 27% after 18 months for patients with early-stage Alzheimer's who were given experimental drug lecanemab. The results have not yet been peer-reviewed.

The University of Cincinnati's Alberto Espay, MD, was not involved in the trial and provided his expert analysis to NBC News and CNN. He said the benefit to patients was "small" and fell below the threshold of what would be considered meaningful to a patient, but added that "patients can view this with cautious optimism."

Espay, professor of neurology in the UC College of Medicine, director and endowed chair of the James J. and Joan A. Gardner Family Center for Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders at the UC Gardner Neuroscience Institute and a UC Health physician, said that while the results appear to be positive, the single trial is unlikely to prove that amyloid plaques are responsible for the decline in mental function often seen in patients.

Espay argues that amyloid plaques are a “consequence, not a cause” of Alzheimer’s disease. Cognitive impairment, he said, could be due to a decline in levels of a specific brain protein called amyloid-beta peptide, which then leads to the accumulation of amyloid plaques in the brain. 

Read the NBC News article.

Read the CNN article.

Featured photo at top courtesy of Unsplash.

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