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National Alzheimer's study to include two sites in Florida



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WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Two years ago, a study published in the Archives of Neurology found that cholesterol-lowering drugs might decrease the possibility of Alzheimer's disease.

Results were uncertain, however, and continued study was recommended.

Duke University Medical Center has announced that it is one of 40 sites around the country -- two in Florida -- taking part in the CLASP Study, a national clinical research study funded by the National Institutes of Health, to evaluate the impact of Zocor (simvastatin) on reducing Alzheimer's disease.

The two South Florida study locations are the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville (Francine Parfitt, 904-953-7103 or parfit.francine@mayo.edu) and the Wein Center in Miami Beach (Peggy Roberts, 305-674-2424 or proberts@msmc.com).

The CLASP (Cholesterol Lowering Agent to Slow Progression of Alzheimer's Disease) is designed to investigate the safety and effectiveness of drugs commonly used to help lower cholesterol. High cholesterol levels are a common warning sign for heart disease and stroke.

"Although this is not proven, many of the drugs that we thought were traditionally effective only for treating heart disease or diabetes may also be surprisingly useful for either delaying Alzheimer's disease or for improving brain function," said Dr. Murali Doraiswamy, principal investigator for the Duke study site.

"The traditional risk factors for heart disease ... can also be bad for your brain," says Doraiswamy. "A number of drugs also seem to affect the brain changes that may lead to Alzheimer's disease. As with diet and lifestyle, what's good for your heart may also be good for your brain." Carolyn Susman writes for The Palm Beach Post. E-mail: carolyn-susman@pbpost.com Editor Notes:Story Filed By Cox Newspapers For Use By Clients of the New York Times News Service

c.2004 Cox News Service

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