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Oregon Researchers Seeking Patients With Early Signs Of Alzheimer's

A Portland memory center is testing a new drug to treat Alzheimer’s disease and wants new patients to enroll.

Nearly six million Americans live with Alzheimer’s. It’s the most common form of dementia.

But four million more have mild cognitive impairments that can be an early sign of the disease. Such symptoms don’t generally interfere with daily living and are usually explained as senior moments.

Dr. Scott Losk says it’s those people they’re hoping to enroll in this new study at .

“We have a lot of people in our studies who are still working. But they’re not doing it as efficiently,” said Losk.

“Everyone is forgetful sometimes. But memory issues such as forgetting your usual walking route or having trouble following a familiar recipe may be signs of early Alzheimer’s,” said Losk.

“People with these kinds of memory issues or those with a diagnosis of early Alzheimer’s disease could qualify for a study that is evaluating if an investigational medicine works in a new way to keep the disease from worsening.”

The Genentech study is being overseen by the FDA. Early research shows the medication, gantenerumab, may be helpful.

President Barack Obama signed a " National Alzheimer’s Project Act" into law eight years ago — creating a strategic plan to fight the disease. But so far there haven't been any blockbuster drugs that have dramatically reduced the disease.

Copyright 2019 Oregon Public Broadcasting

Kristian Foden-Vencil is a reporter and producer for Oregon Public Broadcasting. He specializes in health care, business, politics, law and public safety.