Alzheimer's drugs may help patients with glaucoma

September 6, 2007

Drugs which slow the progress of Alzheimer's disease may also protect patients at risk of eye damage from glaucoma.

Drugs which slow the progress of Alzheimer's disease may also protect patients at risk of eye damage from glaucoma, according to researchers at the University College London (UCL), UK.

By examining nerve cell damage in the retina, the researchers discovered that the protein beta-amyloid, which causes damaging plaques in the brains of Alzheimer's patients, is also responsible for harm to the optic nerve. Drugs that reverse the build-up of beta-amyloid plaques were then used on rats and it was found that they reduced the rate of nerve cell death in the eye.

The UCL team, led by Francesca Cordeiro, stressed that despite the strong similarities between the two conditions, people with glaucoma are not at higher risk of developing Alzheimer's and vice versa.

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