St. Petersburg Times
Special report
Video report
  • For their own good
    Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
  • More video reports
Multimedia report
Print Email this storyEmail story Comment Letter to the editor
Fill out this form to email this article to a friend
Your name Your email
Friend's name Friend's email
Your message

Milk shake drug may help fight Alzheimer's

Published June 12, 2007


WASHINGTON - Drinking a milk-shake-style medicine at breakfast seems to feed brain cells starved from Alzheimer's damage, researchers reported Monday. It's one of four promising experimental drugs poised for large-scale testing against the brain-destroying disease.

The milk shake drug, called Ketasyn, is a dramatically different way to approach dementia. It hinges on recent research suggesting that diabetic-like changes in brain cells' ability to use sugar for energy play a role in at least some forms of Alzheimer's.

Special fatty acids in Ketasyn offer an alternate food source to rev up those hungry neurons, researchers told an international Alzheimer's meeting Monday. In a study of 150 patients, adding Ketasyn to their regular medicines produced a small but important boost in mental functioning, but only in people who don't carry an Alzheimer's gene called ApoE4. Still, that's about half of all patients.

"We see this as a co-therapy, " not a way to stop Alzheimer's, cautioned Dr. Lauren Constantini, a former Harvard scientist now with Accera Inc., which is developing the drug.

To stop Alzheimer's brain decay, most scientists have their hopes pinned on drugs that promise to prevent a sticky goo called beta-amyloid from clogging up patients' brains.

Monday brought frustrating news on that front: The first of those amyloid blockers to make it to large-scale, Phase III testing has hit a hurdle, and scientists will have to wait until at least month's end to learn if the much-anticipated drug Alzhemed really works.

[Last modified June 12, 2007, 02:07:23]

Share your thoughts on this story

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Subscribe to the Times
Click here for daily delivery
of the St. Petersburg Times.

Email Newsletters