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China proposes to treat Alzheimer’s with new drug

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  1. Issues related to health.

 

China proposes to treat Alzheimer’s with new drug

 

What to study?

For Prelims and mains: All about Alzheimer’s, treatment and concerns.

 

Context: China recently announced that a new drug, meant to potentially treat Alzheimer’s disease, will be available to Chinese patients by the end of this year.

Called GV-971 or “Oligomannate”, it is a seaweed-based drug, administered orally.

 

What is Alzheimer’s?

  • It is a progressive brain disorder that typically affects people older than 65. When it affects younger individuals, it is considered early onset.
  • The disease destroys brain cells and nerves, and disrupts the message-carrying neurotransmitters.
  • Eventually, a person with Alzheimer’s loses the ability to perform day-to-day activities.

Symptoms include memory loss, difficulty in completing familiar tasks, confusion with time or place, problems in speaking and writing, decreased or poor judgment, and changes in mood and personality. Alzheimer’s disease is also the most common cause of dementia — which is a syndrome and not a disease in itself, and whose symptoms include loss of memory, thinking skills, problems with language, changes in mood and deterioration in behaviour.

 

Treatment:

There is no cure for Alzheimer’s, because its exact causes are not known. Most drugs being developed try to slow down or stop the progression of the disease.

  • There is a degree of consensus in the scientific community that Alzheimer’s involves two proteins, called beta amyloids and tau. When levels of either protein reach abnormal levels in the brain, it leads to the formation of plaque, which gets deposited between neurons, damaging and disrupting nerve cells.
  • Most existing drugs for Alzheimer’s try to target these proteins to manage some of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s.

 

Sources: Indian Express.

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