Health Highlights: Jan. 21, 201301/21/13
Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Study Will Test Drug for Alzheimer's Prevention
An experimental drug called solanezumab will be used in a large
U.S. government-funded study that will assess if it's possible to
prevent Alzheimer's disease in seniors at high risk for the brain
Previous research found that the drug -- which is meant to help
clear the amyloid plaques that are a main cause of Alzheimer's --
did not help patients with moderate to severe disease, the
However, solanezumab did show some promise in people with milder
Alzheimer's and researchers believe it might help this group of
"The hope is we can catch people before they decline," Dr. Reisa Sperling, who is director of the Alzheimer's center at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston and will help lead the new study, told the AP.
The clinical trial will include 1,000 people ages 70 to 85 whose
brain scans reveal plaques but who do not yet show any signs of
dementia. The patients will receive monthly infusions of either
solanezumab or a placebo for three years.
The main objective of the study will be to slow the rate of the
patients' mental decline. Sperling said the research will be
conducted at 50 locations in the U.S. and possibly others in
Australia, Europe and Canada, the
Solanezumab is an Eli Lilly & Co. drug.
About five million people in the U.S. have Alzheimer's, which is
the most common type of dementia. Current medicines can easy
symptoms, but there is no known cure.
Global Treaty Seeks to Reduce Mercury Emissions
More than 140 nations on Saturday adopted a legally binding
international treaty to reduce emissions of mercury, which poses a
number of health risks.
The deal seeks to reduce mercury pollution from utility plants,
mining, industrial processes, and a wide range of consumer
products. This would be done by setting enforceable limits and by
promoting alternatives in which mercury is not used, released or
Mercury can cause nerve damage, brain and kidney damage, memory
loss and language impairment.
The treaty "will help us to protect human health and the
environment all over the world," Swiss environment ambassador Franz
Perrez told a news conference, the
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