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Liver treatment 'could be key to Alzheimer's treatment'

Liver treatment 'could be key to Alzheimer's treatment'
20th February 2009

A new study by doctors has discovered that the key to treating Alzheimer's disease in the future may be to address the patient's liver.

Reporting for the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, a joint project carried out by the University of Washington School of Medicine and partners in Hong Kong found that there is a strong bond between circulating levels of toxic protein in the blood and the disease itself.

It is understood that in helping the liver clear the blood of the amyloid-beta protein - which is linked directly to the worsening of Alzheimer's disease and dementia - the body may be able to combat the condition.

Dr David Cook of the Washington-based institution said his team were quite surprised with how effective this was.

He continued: "Peripheral A-beta clearance immediately halted almost completely. For several years it has been suggested that the circulatory system can act like an A-beta sink. The data clearly show that the liver is the primary drain."

Despite being diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2007, Sir Terry Pratchett goes from strength to strength, campaigning for the illness and receiving a knighthood yesterday.