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Functional studies of new drugs for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease

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Few treatments for Alzheimer's disease (AD) have been evaluated to date by studying their effects on functional brain activity. Neuroimaging techniques such as positron emission tomography (PET) and single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) are important tools that can provide an increased understanding of functional correlates to biological and structural changes in brains of patients with AD. These techniques provide valuable information about effects of drug treatments on functional parameters including blood flow, glucose metabolism, and neurotransmitter activity. Functional study outcomes are especially valuable when they are combined with studies of the effect of treatment on EEG and cognitive tests. This paper discusses functional changes observed in the brains of patients with AD following treatment with tacrine or nerve growth factor. Although these agents represent different approaches to cognitive drug treatment for AD, functional study outcomes indicate that both drugs improve cholinergic activity in the brain during long‐term treatment.

Document Type: Original Article


Affiliations: Department of Clinical Neuroscience and Family Medicine, Karolinska Institute, Huddinge, Sweden

Publication date: April 1, 1996

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