Riskier approaches urged as "safe" Alzheimer's therapies disappoint

A fog is slowly creeping over Dr. William Deutsch's brain. He'd try a risky experiment, even one requiring brain surgery, in hopes of at least stalling his incurable dementia. But scientists have little to offer.

Families battling &to=http://english.pravda.ru/science/19/94/377/15971_diabetes.html' target=_blank>Alzheimer's disease and similar dementias increasingly demand a shot at riskier therapies that might bring bigger benefits than today's relatively safe but largely disappointing drugs.

It's a conundrum: Dementia robs its victims of the ability for full consent to medical experiments. When loved ones can do it for them varies in part according to how much risk is involved.

Critics say that's one reason scientists and regulators generally have treated Alzheimer's more like a chronic disease than the killer it is, tolerating fewer side effects than for, say, cancer therapies. Further chilling was the 2002 halt of a study of a vaccine designed to attack Alzheimer's brain-clogging gunk that caused serious brain inflammation in a few patients.

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