Liver Disease Drug Found Effective Against Alzheimer’s

An existing liver drug is also effective against Alzheimer’s disease, a recent study found. The liver drug repairs malfunctioning cells.   
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia and affects 5.7 million people in the United States and 47 million people

Alzheimer’s patients display progressive memory loss, difficulties with problem-solving, and disorientation, among other symptoms.


There is no cure at this time. The current treatments  only slow down the progression of some symptoms and their impact on behavior.




Liver: Drug Fights Alzheimer’s

Earlier research showed that the liver disease drug ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) was effective in stopping the progression of Parkinson’s disease. It did so by improving the functioning of mitochondria. These mitochondria cells give the cells the energy they need to divide.   That study found that UDCA was able to improve the functioning of mitochondria in certain individuals diagnosed with Parkisnon’s.


Mitochondria provide cells with the energy they need to grow and divide. In Alzheimer’s disease, the mitochondria cells misfire, which leads to cell death or dysfunction. This happens even before tau protein plaques begin forming in the brain.


Using tissue collected from different patients with Alzheimer’s disease, the researchers confirmed that the UDCA drug did improve mitochondrial function. It so by by redistributing a protein called “Dynamin-related protein 1” (Drp1). Drp1 provides energy to the mitochondria, and in turn, cells can then grow and divide.



Since UDCA is already in use as liver disease medication, it may certainly help to speed up FDA approval to test it on Alzheimer’s patients.

It’s effectiveness to this point is encouraging and may shorten the time necessary to bring it to market for Alzheimer’s patients.

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