Old Cholesterol Drug Promises To Prevent Alzheimer Disease

Dec 3, 2013

The University of Kentucky is about to launch a clinical study into an existing medication as a treatment for Alzheimer Disease.  Researchers at UK’s Alzheimer Disease Center think a cholesterol-lowering class of drugs known as fibrates can also prevent the deadly disease. Clinical Director Greg Jicka says fibrates apparently interact with a person’s RNA.  Inside the cell, ribonucleic acid helps its cousin DNA determine a person’s physical characteristics.

“These micro RNA’S decide whether or not we’re gonna have a healthy brain or a diseased brain and so the medicine actually is directly interacting with our DNA with our genes, getting us to express health rather than disease,” said Jicka.

Jicka says ‘fibrate’ medications have been around for three decades, used primarily in Europe.  He says preliminary studies suggest this drug therapy could help to cut the risk of developing Alzheimer’s in half.  

Although relatively rare, fibrates can cause muscle pain, liver damage, and gallstones when used for several years. Jicka says a call is going out for individuals over 65 with normal memory.  He expects just over 70 people will participate in the year long trial.  The Alzheimer’s specialist admits it would probably be a few years before results are known.