Right now there are millions of people worldwide who are suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, but it is actually not a normal part of aging. The underlying cause is not yet understood and there is no cure, although there are medications that may help to improve some of the symptoms of the disease.
There are currently several medications to enhance cognition available for people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Comparison of the safety and effectiveness of the four FDA-approved drugs: donepezil, rivastigmine, galantamine, and memantine, ranked donepezil as most effective. Donepezil has proven to be effective in moderate to severe Alzheimer’s, however, in mild cases it did not improve cognition but rather produced several adverse side effects.
A new study with grey mouse lemurs shows that sleep-induced memory impairment was reversed by acute administration of donepezel and memantine in both young and aged animals. This study gave similar results as observed with monkeys and with humans, but contrasted with the observations from studies that had used rodents. Mouse lemur is one of the smallest primates in the world. Because the lemur is a primate, it has a closer phylogenetic proximity to humans, and may therefore be a better model for drug development, and particularly for research on aging.
Perhaps research using lemurs or other primates rather than rodents may prove to be a more powerful comparison tool and help to get to the bottom of this disease.
Nauert, Rick. Study finds donepezil best Alzheimer’s drug for improving cognition. Psych Central. 2 Oct. 2017. Accessed 19 Oct 2017.
Rahman A, Lamberty Y, Schenker E, et al. Effects of acute administration of donepezil or memantine on sleep-deprivation-induced spatial memory deficit in young and aged non-human primate grey mouse lemurs (Microcebus murinus). PLoS One. 2017 Sep 18;12(9):e0184822 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0184822