New drug halts Alzheimer's progression, scientists discover

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Attendees at the International Conference on Alzheimer's Disease in Chicago last week heard some exciting news: Scientists have been able to halt the progression of Alzheimer's during a recent clinical drug trial.

The trial involved an experimental drug called Rember, which targets tau tangles—protein clumps that develop deep within nerve cells. All study participants were in the early stages of dementia at the start of the trial. At the six-month marker, the placebo group had lost 7% of its cognitive functions while a group receiving a moderate dose of Rember experienced no decline whatever. After a full 19 months, in fact, the Rember group retained their mental capacity while the control group continued to decline.

While the findings are encouraging, scientists caution that the drug is still in the early stages of its clinical trials. Another trial involving more participants is slated for some time next year, and it may be several years yet before the drug is available to the public.