Seizure Med Shows Promise for Alzheimer's
Researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts, recently conducted a feasibility study to examine the potential impact of an anti-epileptic drug on brain activity in people with mild Alzheimer’s. Study results, which suggest the drug could have a beneficial effect, were published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.
Several studies conducted in the past 10 years have linked seizure activity in the brain to cognitive decline in people with Alzheimer’s disease. Research has also shown that people with Alzheimer’s are at increased risk for epilepsy, as well as disrupted electrical activity in the brain that doesn’t result in seizure, called subclinical epileptic activity. This disrupted electrical activity can be measured by an electroencephalogram (EEG) or another type of brain scan.
For the Boston study, a small group of people with mild Alzheimer’s had baseline EEGs and then were given a low dose (2.5 mg) of the anti-seizure drug levetiracetam, or a higher dose (7.4 mg). They then had another EEG and a brain MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan, which measures blood flow. According to researchers, higher doses of the anti-seizure medication appeared to normalize abnormalities seen in the patients’ EEGs. A larger study is currently underway.