Ireland part of global Alzheimer study

Tallaght Hospital, Dublin has been selected as the lead research site in Ireland as part of a global study for Alzheimer Disease.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, characterised by progressive loss of cognition – the ability to learn, remember and plan our lives.

There are approximately 48,000 people in Ireland suffering from the disease and that number is set to increase as the population ages.

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The disease impacts many families around the country, and current therapies are limited so there is a great need to understand how Alzheimer’s disease develops, and what the underlying processes are in order to develop effective treatments.

The trial is focussing on a newly developed drug, Verubecestat produced by MSD. This tablet has been shown to “switch off” the production of the protein amyloid in the brain which is thought to be the chief cause of Alzheimer’s disease. Importantly, amyloid accumulation in the brain can precede the onset of symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease by several decades. Therefore, participants in the MSD trial have been selected based on having mild memory difficulties but without the presence of Alzheimer’s, as memory difficulties can indicate this amyloid accumulation.

Tallaght Hospital has developed several high quality supports and services for Alzheimer’s and Dementia research, including the Hospital’s weekly Memory Clinic. Launched last year it offers a multidisciplinary service incorporating geriatric medicine physicians, clinical nurse specialists, clinical neuropsychologists and occupational therapists, among others, aiming to identity those most at risk of dementia as early as possible.