MBRF Trustees Offer Perspective on FDA Approval of Aduhelm (aducanumab)

Valerie PatmintraBrain Health, Cognitive Aging, News

With the FDA’s recent approval of the first new Alzheimer’s drug in nearly two decades, many may be wondering about the differences between cognitive aging, mild cognitive impairment, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. MBRF Trustee, Dr. Richard Issacson, has answered many media inquiries about the FDA’s announcement and served as a key spokesperson in explaining the promise of the new therapy balanced with the fact that the benefits of treatment will vary from patient to patient. 

Dr. Isaacson explains the difference between non-pathological decline, like cognitive aging and age-related memory loss, and pathological decline due to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease as whether or not you can remember what you forget. 

“While cognitive aging is often characterized by a word being on the tip of your tongue, dementia is when you forget something and don’t remember it.”

As Dr. Isaacson explains: “We have to really temper expectations and explain to people that this drug is meant for the earliest symptomatic phases,” he said. “It pains me to say this but if I have a severe Alzheimer’s patient who can no longer speak or interact much with others and their family member is begging me to give them this drug, I won’t be able to do it.”

MBRF Vice Chair, Madhav Thambisetty, MD, PhD, who served on the advisory committee that advised the FDA on aducanumab also authored this op-ed outlining why he would continue serving on an FDA committee if asked to do so despite the advisory committee members who resigned in protest of the FDA’s decision to approve aducanumab. Read the op-ed online here. 

Follow the links below to read more about the announcement:

FDA Approves First New Alzheimer’s Drug in Nearly Two Decades, Wall Street Journal

FDA Approves an Alzheimer’s Drug, CNN Videos

In Controversial Decision, FDA Approves First New Alzheimer’s Disease Drug in Nearly 20 Years, CNN

New Alzheimer’s Drug is 1st of its Kind to be FDA Approved, ABC News 

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