From The Hastings Center: “A large government-funded study of solanezumab, an experimental Alzheimer’s drug that targets amyloid in the brain, has found no benefit in people with normal cognitive function who have elevated amyloid levels. The results of this long-term, definitive, randomized controlled trial should stay the alarming enthusiasts who have advocated drugging perfectly normal people who have abnormal amyloid levels. But, after decades of investment in unproven anti-amyloid treatments, it’s unlikely that more data will lead industry and industry-funded groups to reverse course.
The Alzheimer’s Association, in fact, recently proposed new diagnostic criteria that define Alzheimer’s ‘biologically,’ using plasma biomarkers for amyloid plaque. Astoundingly, the association recommends that someone with abnormal amyloid biomarkers be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s – regardless of whether the person has memory loss or any other symptoms of Alzheimer’s.
The assumption is that people with plaque in their brains will eventually develop symptoms, and if they live their whole lives without ever developing cognitive issues then they just didn’t live long enough to experience their preprogrammed decline. This is not only wrong, but dangerous. Many people ages 65 and older have significant amounts of amyloid plaque, yet never have cognitive impairment . . .
The pharmaceutical industry would love to target cognitively normal people who have amyloid plaque because that’s a huge market – 30%-to-50% of older individuals. Several pharmaceutical companies have new drugs that remove amyloid plaque and are meant to treat early stages of Alzheimer’s disease with cognitive impairment, and more of these drugs are coming down the pike . . .
People without symptoms of cognitive loss should not take these drugs, which have substantial risks, including death. It’s not even clear that patients who actually have Alzheimer’s disease should take these drugs, because they don’t improve symptoms.”
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