veggies.jpg (6769 bytes)fruitbowl.jpg (6391 bytes)Alzheimer's Disease: Functional Therapeutics in Neurodegenerative Disease

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Alzheimer's Disease: Functional Therapeutics in Neurodegenerative Disease
David Perlmutter, M.D.

The NMDA Receptor

In recognizing the importance of the NMDA receptor in the cascade ultimately leading to neuronal death, various schemes have been proposed to block the glutamate stimulation of this receptor. It has long been recognized that patients treated with Amantadine for Parkinson’s disease survived longer compared to those who did not receive this medication. The specific mechanism by which Amantadine may be helpful in this regard may stem from its “neuro-protective” effect mediated through the antagonism of the NMDA receptor.[19] Inhibiting glutamate stimulation of the NMDA receptor is the proposed mechanism by which gabapentin and riluzole have purported efficacy in motor neuron disease. The use of branched chain amino acids (L-leucine, L-isoleucine, and L-valine) in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, although not having been shown to be significantly effective, was proposed as this group of amino acids is known to inhibit glutamate production. Further, excessive glutamate as a consequence of deficient clearance from the synaptic cleft may represent a specific mechanism for excessive NMDA receptor stimulation in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.[20]


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