Study: Reducing brain toxins may stabilize cognitive decline in Alzheimer's patients

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Reducing certain toxins in the brain may help slow the cognitive decline in Alzheimer's disease patients, according to preliminary research by scientists from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease.

Researchers fit eight Alzheimer's patients with shunts designed to drain cerebral spinal fluid to control the levels of isoprostanes in the brain. Isoprostanes are compounds that cause the death of cells involved in memory and language in the brains of Alzheimer's patients.

Isoprostane levels decreased by about 50% in these patients over a year, compared to Alzheimer's patients who took standard oral medications. In a cognitive test, the scores of patients with the shunts remain stable over 12 months, while the scores of the control patients declined by 20%.