A Monash University-led study has found a promising new treatment for patients with behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia, the second most common form of dementia in people under 60 – leading to a stabilization of what would normally be an escalation behavioral problems and slowing of the brain. shrinkage due to disease. This is the second clinical trial to show that the drug, sodium selenate, can slow the cognitive decline and neurodegenerative damage that characterizes many dementias, including Alzheimer’s disease.
Behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD) is a rapidly progressive, destructive disease and can occur in people as young as 35 years old. It is characterized by behavioral disturbances and personality changes and can be very disruptive and distressing for patients and their families. Currently, there is no treatment or cure for bvFTD and typical survival is 5-7 years from diagnosis.
The phase 1 trial conducted in collaboration with the Royal Melbourne Hospital, the only one in Australia targeting non-genetic bvFTD, and one of the few in the world, has shown that the drug, sodium selenate, is safe and well tolerated in patients with bvFTD for a period of 12 months. Importantly, the majority of patients receiving sodium selenate showed no change in their cognitive or behavioral symptoms and reduced rates of brain atrophy during the trial period. The results of the trial, led by Dr. Lucy Vivash, of Monash University’s Department of Neuroscience, have just been published in the journal, Alzheimer’s and Dementia: Translational Research and Clinical Interventions.
In nearly half of bvFTD cases, damage to neurons in the brain is caused by the buildup of a protein called tau. This protein is a major target for research in the prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, as a means of reversing the neurodegeneration caused by this accumulation of tau.
According to Dr. Vivash, sodium selenate upregulates an enzyme in the brain that effectively breaks down tau protein. “We have already shown, in a phase 2 trial, that sodium selenate given to patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease leads to less neurodegeneration than in those without it,” he said. she declared. Importantly, patients in the trial with higher levels of selenium, a breakdown product of sodium selenate, in their bloodstream showed less cognitive decline.
The research group is currently conducting a larger study in many hospitals in Australia and New Zealand to further test whether this drug is beneficial for patients with bvFTD.
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Sodium selenate slows behavioral variant of frontotemporal dementia – second most common dementia in people under 60 Psychology and Psychiatry News
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