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U-M expert: FDA-approved Alzheimer's treatment 'step in the right direction'

Dr. Benjamin Hampstead with a research participant.
Michigan Alzheimer's Disease Center
Dr. Benjamin Hampstead with a research participant.

A drug to treat Alzheimer’s disease was approved by the Food & Drug Administration. While it is not a cure, researchers at the University of Michigan are optimistic about what this could mean for patients and their loved ones.

The drug commonly known asLeqembiis delivered through an IV and helps people with mild dementia and early symptoms of Alzheimer’s.

It’s the first medicine that’s been shown to slow cognitive decline. It improves the brain’s immune mechanisms and studies show that it slows the progression of symptoms.

Judy Heidebrink is a professor of neurology at the U-M.

“It’s a foot in the door, it’s a step in the right direction because we’ve seen lots of failed trials over the years. But now, this drug has that consistent evidence of a modest benefit, but we think it’s a first step in the right direction towards more effective and safer therapies.”

Heidebrink stresses that the drug isn’t for everyone, and there are side effects. Ideal patients for the treatment must be at an appropriate stage of the disease for it to be effective.

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Josh Hakala is the general assignment reporter for the WEMU news department.
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