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Alzheimer's Association Grant Furthers Successful Research at UMass Lowell
Date:10/24/2008

'SmartPill' Uses Vitamin Formulation to Improve Brain Health, Memory

LOWELL, Mass., Oct. 24 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Researchers at UMass Lowell have demonstrated success in improving the memory and brain function of patients with Alzheimer's disease, findings that will be published in the December/January issue of the American Journal of Alzheimer's Disease.

Called the "SmartPill," the vitamin-based formulation has been shown to improve memory and recall speed in normal adults and Alzheimer's patients, without side effects. On Monday, Oct. 20, the Alzheimer's Association presented a grant, awarded competitively at the national level, to support additional clinical trials to test whether the formulation can delay the onset of the disease.

James Wessler, president and CEO of the Massachusetts/New Hampshire Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association, presented a check for $240,000 for three years to UMass Lowell Prof. Thomas Shea, the lead researcher on the "SmartPill." A licensing agreement to bring the pill to the market under the name MemoryXL to be sold without a prescription is in negotiations.

"This formulation is the first, non-prescription, low-cost intervention for Alzheimer's disease," says Shea, a professor in UMass Lowell's Biological Sciences Department. "One can start this at the first indication of memory problems, or even before for general brain health, instead of waiting for the severe deterioration of advancing Alzheimer's."

Shea, representatives of the Alzheimer's Association's Massachusetts/New Hampshire Chapter and UMass Lowell, including Chancellor Marty Meehan, were among those who attended the presentation, which was held on the UMass Lowell campus.

Wessler said at the event, "Prof. Shea's work couldn't be more important. If we can push back by five years the onset of Alzheimer's, then 50 percent of today's Americans - who would otherwise get the disease - will never experience Alzheimer's."

"Prof. Shea's important research combines scientific rigor with an eye on the end result. He has increased our understanding of Alzheimer's disease, but he's doing even more to improve the brain functioning and quality of life for patients," said Meehan. "We're moving quickly to share the good results. We want to see innovation in the lab translated into real products that make a difference in people's lives."

For more on living with Alzheimer's disease, call the Alzheimer's Association help line at 800-272-3900 or check out http://www.alz.org/MA.


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SOURCE University of Massachusetts Lowell
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