Final Testing Begins on New Alzheimer's Drugs - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

6/25/07

Final Testing Begins on New Alzheimer's Drugs

Several new drugs that have been found to possibly stop or reverse Alzheimer's disease are in the final testing stage.

"My wife asked me to go in.  I'd been having episodes of disorientation while I was driving," says Alzheimer's patient Don Hayen, M.D.

After several brain scans, Dr. Don Hayen got the diagnosis he never thought would never apply to him - Alzheimer's.

"You get kind-of devastated with that kind of word," says Dr. Hayen.

It's a word that describes what's happening inside the brain.  This animation shows how plaque builds up in the brain's nerves leading to memory loss and eventually, fatal brain damage.  Medication can temporarily ease the symptoms.

"My symptoms of getting lost while driving have gone away and I haven't had those anymore at all," says Hayen.

But they won't reverse or cure Alzheimer's.

"I've since had some loss of memory and early memory, I have real troubles with names," says Hayen.

Hayen hopes to get it back as nine new drugs in the final human testing stages may actually stop plaque buildup in the brain. 

"Anti-plaque drugs will significantly alter the disease, not just at symptoms which is what the drugs that are currently available do," says Barbara Mandel Pache, with the Alzheimer's Association.

But, Doctor Hayen won't just wait for the future.  He says he's too busy telling others about Alzheimer's and making new memories.

"I look forward to each day I make as much out of it as I can.  It has made my life exciting and vibrant and I am enjoying it," says Hayen.

If you would like to find out more about these drugs, contact the Alzheimer's Association at 1-800-272-3900 or click here.

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