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Debate Continues Over Effectiveness of New Alzheimer's Drug

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FDA

A new drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as a treatment for people with Alzheimer's is giving hope to caregivers. But not all the experts agree.

A panel of independent advisors for the FDA said there’s no proof the new drug, called Aducanumab, reverses the mental decline that comes with Alzheimer’s Disease.

Eric VanVlyman is the executive director of the Alzheimer’s Association - Miami Valley Chapter. He says he’s focusing on the potential the new treatment offers.

“If you're sixty five years, 70 years old and you've watched your grandparents who had Alzheimer's, you watch them die with this. You watched your parents struggle through and you have mild cognitive impairment or the early parts of Alzheimer's, if a treatment can work even moderately, it might not be perfect, but if it works moderately, you know, people are usually willing to sign up and get help to see if it will make the difference," he says.

VanVlyman says it’ll take some time for local health systems and physicians’ practices to gain access to the drug, so it won’t be available right away.

"It's not a cure. We're not there. Right. So that's why we were saying that, but we see more future development of treatments coming along, the more we understand this disease."

Even as rollout of the drug takes place, the FDA is requiring the manufacturer, Biogen, to conduct follow-up studies on the drug’s efficacy.

Jerry Kenney was introduced to WYSO by a friend and within a year of first tuning in became an avid listener and supporter. He began volunteering at the station in 1991 and began hosting Alpha Rhythms in February of 1992. Jerry joined the WYSO staff in 2007 as a host of All Things Considered and soon transitioned into hosting Morning Edition. In addition to now hosting All Things Considered, Jerry is the host and producer of WYSO Weekend, WYSO's weekly news and arts magazine. He has also produced several radio dramas for WYSO in collaboration with local theater companies. Jerry has won several Ohio AP awards as well as an award from PRINDI for his work with the WYSO news department. Jerry says that the best part of his job is being able to talk to people in the community and share their experiences with WYSO listeners.