Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation: Therapeutic Application of Melatonin in Mild Cognitive Impairment.

Therapeutic application of melatonin in mild cognitive impairment.

Filed under: Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation

Am J Neurodegener Dis. 2012; 1(3): 280-91
Cardinali DP, Vigo DE, Olivar N, Vidal MF, Furio AM, Brusco LI

Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is an etiologically heterogeneous syndrome defined by cognitive impairment in advance of dementia. We previously reported in a retrospective analysis that daily 3 – 9 mg of a fast-release melatonin preparation given p. o. at bedtime for up to 3 years significantly improved cognitive and emotional performance and daily sleep/wake cycle in MCI patients. In a follow up of that study we now report data from another series of 96 MCI outpatients, 61 of who had received daily 3 – 24 mg of a fast-release melatonin preparation p. o. at bedtime for 15 to 60 months. Melatonin was given in addition to the standard medication prescribed by the attending psychiatrist. Patients treated with melatonin exhibited significantly better performance in Mini-Mental State Examination and the cognitive subscale of the Alzheimer’s disease Assessment Scale. After application of a neuropsychological battery comprising a Mattis´ test, Digit-symbol test, Trail A and B tasks and the Rey´s verbal test, better performance was found in melatonin-treated patients for every parameter tested. Abnormally high Beck Depression Inventory scores decreased in melatonin-treated patients, concomitantly with the improvement in the quality of sleep and wakefulness. The comparison of the medication profile in both groups of MCI patients indicated that 9.8% in the melatonin group received benzodiazepines vs. 62.8% in the non-melatonin group. The results further support that melatonin can be a useful add-on drug for treating MCI in a clinic environment.
HubMed – drug


Advances in designs for Alzheimer’s disease clinical trials.

Filed under: Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation

Am J Neurodegener Dis. 2012; 1(3): 205-16
Cummings J, Gould H, Zhong K

There is an urgent need to identify new treatments for the rapidly growing population of people with Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Innovations in clinical trial designs many help to reduce development time, provide more definitive answers regarding drug efficacy, and facilitate prioritizing compounds to be advanced to Phase III clinical trials. Standard designs compare drug and placebo changes from baseline on a rating scale. Baysian adaptive clinical trials allow the use of data collected in the trial to modify doses, sample size, trial duration, and entry criteria in an ongoing way as the data are collected. Disease-modification is supported by findings on staggered start and delayed withdrawal designs. Futility designs can use historical controls and may shorten trial duration. Combination therapy designs may allow investigation of additive or synergistic treatment effects. Novel trial selection criteria allow investigation of treatment effects in asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic, prodromal AD populations. The Clinical Dementia Rating-Sum of Boxes (CDR-SOB) can be considered as a single trial outcome in early disease populations. Alternate forms of the Alzheimer’s Disease Assessment Scale-Cognitive Portion (ADAS-cog), computerized measures, and pharmacoeconomic scales provide new and relevant information on drug effects. Comparative dose strategies are used in trials of symptomatic agents, and novel methods including withdrawal designs, symptom emergence analyses, and sequential designs are being utilized to assess the efficacy of putative psychotropic agents. The choice of trial design is driven by the question to be answered by the clinical trial; an increasing number of design approaches are available and may be useful in accelerating and refining AD drug development.
HubMed – drug


Circulating progranulin as a biomarker for neurodegenerative diseases.

Filed under: Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation

Am J Neurodegener Dis. 2012; 1(2): 180-90
Ghidoni R, Paterlini A, Benussi L

Progranulin is a growth factor involved in the regulation of multiple processes including tumorigenesis, wound repair, development, and inflammation. The recent discovery that mutations in the gene encoding for progranulin (GRN) cause frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD), and other neurodegenerative diseases leading to dementia, has brought renewed interest in progranulin and its functions in the central nervous system. GRN null mutations cause protein haploinsufficiency, leading to a significant decrease in progranulin levels that can be detected in plasma, serum and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of mutation carriers. The dosage of circulating progranulin sped up the identification of GRN mutations thus favoring genotype-phenotype correlation studies. Researchers demonstrated that, in GRN null mutation carriers, the shortage of progranulin invariably precedes clinical symptoms and thus mutation carriers are “captured” regardless of their disease status. GRN is a particularly appealing gene for drug targeting, in the way that boosting its expression may be beneficial for mutation carriers, preventing or delaying the onset of GRN-related neurodegenerative diseases. Physiological regulation of progranulin expression level is only partially known. Progranulin expression reflects mutation status and, intriguingly, its levels can be modulated by some additional factor (i.e. genetic background; drugs). Thus, factors increasing the production and secretion of progranulin from the normal gene are promising potential therapeutic avenues. In conclusion, peripheral progranulin is a nonintrusive highly accurate biomarker for early identification of mutation carriers and for monitoring future treatments that might boost the level of this protein.
HubMed – drug


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