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New study challenges accepted approaches to research in senile dementia (Alzheimer's disease)
Date:11/7/2011

Amsterdam, NL -- Impacting millions of families and devouring billions of dollars globally, Alzheimer's disease is the focus of exhaustive research to find a cure. Although intensely investigated over the last three decades using cutting-edge technologies, the "pathogenic cause" of Alzheimer's disease has not been found. While many research "breakthroughs" have been claimed and high-profile drugs trials carried out, why does the promised "cure" still seem to elude scientists?

In an effort to address this question, Ming Chen, PhD, Huey T. Nguyen, BS, and Darrell R. Sawmiller, PhD, Aging Research Laboratory, R&D Service, Bay Pines VA Healthcare System and University of South Florida, undertook an independent and systematic analysis of the underlying research assumptions against the established scientific principles. This analysis led them to hypothesize that perhaps the main problem is the research community's perception of the disease.

In an article scheduled for publication in the December issue of the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease the authors suggest that when the National Institutes of Health separated out dementia from other senile conditions and redefined it as a distinct and "curable" disease -- Alzheimer's in the 1970s, it opened a Pandora's box and may have misdirected research for decades. It triggered the search for pathogenic factors and cures, and disregarded the role of demographic change and its diverse end results in the elderly.

The authors argue that senile disorders diseases occurring after age 60 and eventually affecting the majority of the elderly, such as tooth, hearing or memory loss are caused by aging, thus differ fundamentally from distinct diseases by origin, study paradigm and intervention strategy.

Moreover, the authors contend that a central regulator in cognition − the Ca2+ signaling system − has been misconceived by institutional thinking that favors a "cure" for
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Contact: Daphne Watrin
d.watrin@iospress.nl
31-206-883-355
IOS Press
Source:Eurekalert

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