The drug brimonidine, marketed under the brand names Alphagan and Alphagan-P, is routinely used to lower intraocular eye pressure in glaucoma patients. In a recent study published in the journal Cell Death and Disease, researchers observed that the drug reduced the formation of amyloid proteins in the retina of rats. Amyloid proteins are believed to be linked to Alzheimer’s disease, as Alzheimer patients often have amyloid buildup in their retinas. The researchers believe the retina can be viewed as an extension of the brain that provides an opportunity to diagnose and track progression of Alzheimer’s.
“Glaucoma shares a number of features with degenerative brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Lou Gehrig’s disease,” writes Jeffrey L. Goldberg, MD, PhD, Professor and Chair of Ophthalmology at the Byers Eye Institute at Stanford University School of Medicine.
Therefore, it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that glaucoma medication could potentially be used in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. In the aforementioned study, brimonidine was found to decrease neurodegeneration of cells in the retina by lowering the levels of beta amyloid protein. This was achieved by using the drug to stimulate the production of an alternative non-toxic protein which does not kill nerve cells.
Researchers hope the drug will have a similar effect on the brain.
“The findings of our study could not have come at a more significant and important moment, given the increased prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease,” said professor Francesca Cordeiro, study lead. “As we live longer, there will be increasing demand for therapies that can help challenge this extremely damaging disease and we believe that our findings can make a major contribution.”
Glaucoma Treatment in Annapolis
The Anne Arundel Eye Center (AAEC) is a regional leader in the diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma and cataracts. A consultation with board certified ophthalmologist Dr. Samuel Boles will help guide you through the treatment process and help you determine the best course of action.
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Staffed by caring and knowledgeable professionals, AAEC’s state-of-the-art treatment center is dedicated to making the best eye care accessible to everyone.
If you have any questions, please contact Dr. Samuel Boles, Dr. Nicole Kershner Regis, Dr. Kathryn Turner, and the eye care specialists here at AAEC by calling 410-224-2010. AAEC is staffed by caring and knowledgeable professionals who will help guide you on your healing journey.