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'Possible Key to Alzheimer Medication'
Date:10/26/2010

impairments or other symptoms of Alzheimer's disease. Under the microscope, however, signs of Alzheimer's are visible. Swaab: "The brain itself appears to compensate for the disease process; nearly 500 genes in the front part of the parahippocampal cortex then become extra active. These genes ensure that nerve cells are better able to communicate with each other, allowing people to continue to function well. As soon as these genes become less active, the memory impairments become apparent."

According to Swaab, this discovery is an important step on the road to finding effective medication. "We see these temporarily active genes as a pointer to a medicine. Once the disease has progressed to a more advanced stage, we can see whether we can reactivate the brain cells using medicines." Swaab adds that a medicine for Alzheimer's will only be a possibility for future generations.

Alzheimer's is the most common cause of dementia. Between sixty and seventy percent of patients suffer from this form of dementia. In Alzheimer's disease, the nerve cells in the brain and the connections between these cells break down, preventing the brain from functioning well. There are an estimated quarter of a million patients in the Netherlands; this number will double in the next forty years.

The research to which among others neuroscientists Dick Swaab, Joost Verhaagen and Koen Bossers from the Netherlands Institute for Neurosciences contribute is funded by Top Instituut Pharma. Other partners are the Netherlands Brain Bank, DNage and health care organization Abbott.

About Top Institute Pharma

Top Institute Pharma (TI Pharma) is a public-private partnership in which the academic and business world work together on innovative, multidisciplinary research targeted toward the improvement of the development of socially valuable medicines. The project portfolio is based on the clinical areas as described in the "Priority Medi
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SOURCE Top Institute Pharma
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