Elderly couple standing at a gate.

UW-Madison study investigating treatment to prevent Alzheimer’s disease

Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Institute

A research study at UW–Madison School of Medicine and Public Health is investigating a drug that could one day prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

The AHEAD study is a global research study investigating lecanemab, a treatment aimed at delaying memory decline in people up to 20 years before the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease appear.

There are 100 AHEAD study sites in the world. Beginning in 2023, the study started at UW-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health under the guidance of lead investigator Cynthia Carlsson, MD, MS. A news story on Milwaukee PBS featured an interview with Carlsson and a research participant enrolled in the study.

“The AHEAD study is really a study to see if we can prevent Alzheimer’s in people whose thinking ability is normal. They have no symptoms of memory loss, but they have a build-up of a protein called amyloid,” Carlsson said. Deposits of amyloid in the brain, called amyloid plaques, are a hallmark finding associated with Alzheimer’s disease, although not every person with amyloid plaques will develop Alzheimer’s disease.

The interview featured a participant enrolled in the study, Marilyn Krause, who described how her husband Larry’s death from cancer prompted her desire to contribute to medical research. Read more…