ANCHOR LEAD: EVEN THOUGH AN EFFECTIVE VACCINE HAS BEEN DEVELOPED AGAINST PLAQUE IN ALZHEIMER’S, IT DOESN’T HELP, ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS
The smoking gun in Alzheimer’s disease has long been thought to be amyloid plaque, a substance that gums up nerve cells and compromises function. But now a study in the Lancet reports disappointing results with a vaccine known to reduce amyloid in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease. Constantine Lyketsos, an Alzheimer’s disease expert at Johns Hopkins, comments.
LYKETSOS: The basic conclusion was that patients who were vaccinated, a substantial proportion in fact had very low levels of amyloid, in fact, less than would be expected in their brain for the type of cognitive loss that they had, suggesting that the vaccine in fact worked. The troubling finding was that most of these patients died from dementia anyway, suggesting that even though amyloid was cleared from their brain, they developed Alzheimer’s dementia anyway. :28
Lyketsos isn’t ready to pan the vaccine yet, however, suggesting earlier use may help. I’m Elizabeth Tracey reporting.