Alzheimer’s Research Featured in Odyssey

Contact: Mary Margaret Colliver

 

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The magazine also features cultural anthropologist Monica Udvardy, who is teaming up with American museums to stop global traffic in vigango (memorial statues) and return them to their creators, the Giriama people of Kenya. Mark Summers, UK’s first Thomas D. Clark Endowed Professor in History, discusses the power of political cartoons, and drug-delivery expert Audra Stinchcomb talks about her first-of-its-kind prescription patch that delivers marijuana-like chemicals to ease nausea and stimulate appetite in people with AIDS and cancer.

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 11, 2004) -- Why do our brains betray us? For over 30 years, University of Kentucky researchers have worked to answer this central question about Alzheimer’s disease. And the fight against dementia has intensified.

The Odyssey cover story features William Markesbery, the patriarch of Alzheimer’s research at UK, who is studying the preventive potential of vitamin E and selenium, and Stephen Scheff, who is studying synaptic connectivity in people with memory decline. Louis Hersh and Jeffrey Keller are focusing on A-beta and proteasome, respectively, to shed light on how these enzymes contribute to the disease, and Philip Landfield is utilizing a new technology called DNA microarray to analyze thousands of genes and genetic pathways to better understand “incipient” Alzheimer’s—the earliest stage of the disease.

There is hope for those suffering right now: Frederick Schmitt and Wes Ashford led UK’s part of a large, multi-center clinical trial of memantine, which was shown to suppress the activity of a key brain chemical involved in mental deterioration. Memantine (Namenda™), which has been available by prescription since January, is the first medication approved in the United States to treat moderate to severe Alzheimer’s. Ruth Hobbs, 73, who participated in the trial said, “I'm delighted about how I'm doing. I can do anything I want to do really. I'm sure a happier person than before they started giving me this drug.”

The magazine also features cultural anthropologist Monica Udvardy, who is teaming up with American museums to stop global traffic in vigango (memorial statues) and return them to their creators, the Giriama people of Kenya. Mark Summers, UK’s first Thomas D. Clark Endowed Professor in History, discusses the power of political cartoons, and drug-delivery expert Audra Stinchcomb talks about her first-of-its-kind prescription patch that delivers marijuana-like chemicals to ease nausea and stimulate appetite in people with AIDS and cancer.

Odyssey covers the latest research advances, innovative scholarship, and outstanding people that are part of UK’s $223-million-a-year research enterprise. The award-winning magazine, published through the Office of the Executive Vice President for Research, is also available online.


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