Healthy woman takes part in Alzheimer's study after losing parent to disease

Doctors at Houston Methodist hospital are treating healthy patients who are at a higher risk for Alzheimer's before it develops.

HOUSTON, TX - Sharon Tyler is not sick, but she gets treatments at Houston Methodist Hospital every four weeks.

Tyler said when her dad died in 1990. They didn't know much about Alzheimer's, but looking back, she's sure he had it.

"You know, when he couldn't remember mom's name in a social environment, he'd been married to my mother for 45 years ... that was not Daddy," she said.

So, Tyler takes part in a national study at Houston Methodist. It's called the A4 study, or anti-amyloid treatment. Doctors say they are removing excess beta amyloid, a protein buildup, from her brain through a drug given in an IV.

She knows she has this buildup from MRI scans and researchers know it begins forming in the brain of people with Alzheimer's 10 to 20 years before initial symptoms.

"We give them this medication to reduce the amount of amyloid in the brain and we can scan them again after a number of months and see whether the amount of amyloid in the brain is less," said Dr. Joseph Masdeu, director of Houston Methodist Nantz National Alzheimer Center.

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