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Bumetanide (Bumex) is a diuretic drug (a medication that removes water, by increasing the production of urine). It is used to treat swelling caused by heart failure or liver or kidney disease. It is a widely used drug that has been well characterised in clinical use.
Recently researchers conducted a screening study to identify clinically available agents that might be useful in the treatment of the cognitive decline associated with a genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s: APOE4
The top drug identified in their study was bumetanide.
In today’s post we will discuss what APOE4 is, we will review the results of the new study, and we will look at why these findings could be interesting for Parkinson’s.
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Many years ago, I was at a patient-research interaction event and a world-leading genetics researcher was asked by someone in the audience if they had had their DNA sequenced.
They said ‘no‘.
The person asking the question frowned and asked ‘why not? You have all the technology and knowledge – don’t you want to know more about yourself?‘
The researcher replied “No. Having your DNA sequenced should not be taken lightly. You might learn stuff about yourself that you don’t want to know”
They used the example of possibly being an APOE4 carrier (who have a higher risk of cognitive decline during aging). The geneticist declared that they would rather not know that kind of information for fear of the impact that it could have on their life.
The questioner respected the honest answer and the conversation that followed was really interesting. More recently, however, as we have learned more about APOE4 and new drugs are being targeted at this risk factor, I have often wondered if their decision would still stand. Are we approaching an age when we might want to know if we are APOE4 carriers?
Hang on a moment. What is this APOE4 thing?