Instructor of Biology Sarah Cooper published the article “New Windows Opening into Alzheimer’s Disease,” co-authored with Biology major Colleen McCloskey ’10, in the Journal of the Human Anatomy Physiology Society, (14 (3): 16-19). The paper examines new approaches to treating Alzheimer’s Disease and the specific mechanism of drug action, the genetic basis of Alzheimer’s disease and the future direction of research into this disease.
Alzheimer’s Disease is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States. It is an aggressive, neurodegenerative disease that destroys the underlying cells and tissues of the brain that cell-to-cell communication eventually ceases to exist, undermining the physiological function necessary to carry out daily activities. Currently there are three classes of drugs, non-steroidal–inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), cholinesterase inhibitors, and memantine, that are used to provide symptomatic relief of the cognitive impairment that results from the defining characteristics of Alzheimer’s Disease—beta amyloid plaques, tau tangles, atrophied brain tissues and enlarged ventricles.