Inside Science: Why Alzheimer's Drug Trials Keep Failing

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WASHINGTON, March 13, 2018 – In a new story for Inside Science News Service, Joel Shurkin offers an intimate look at why Alzheimer's research is failing to help patients, including his own wife. Read the story for free at:'s-Drug-Trials-Keep-Failing/

Inside Science is an editorially-independent nonprofit journalism venture operated by the American Institute of Physics.

Researchers have long believed that Alzheimer's disease symptoms are caused by protein deposits called “amyloid plaques.” But the amyloid model may be wrong, writes Shurkin, and that could explain why so many new drugs have failed in clinical trials. Shurkin's wife was a patient in a now-canceled trial, and her story offers a poignant glimpse of the human cost of such failures.

Shurkin explains the science that led to the amyloid model, as well as the creeping doubts now rising amongst Alzheimer's researchers. He goes on to describe potential new directions for future research — research that will be too late for his wife, but perhaps life-saving for others down the road. 

Inside Science is an editorially-independent nonprofit science news service run out of the American Institute of Physics and supported by a coalition of underwriters. It produces original breaking news stories, features, essays, illustrations, documentaries, animations and news videos, all of which are procurable for syndication by news organizations or available on our web site.

The American Institute of Physics is an organization of physical science societies, representing scientists, engineers, educators, and students. AIP delivers valuable services and expertise in education and student programs, science communications, government relations, career services, statistical research in physics employment and education, industrial outreach and the history of physics and allied fields. AIP publishes Physics Today, the most closely followed magazine of the physical sciences community.

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Maria Burns

Maria Burns

Maria is a Viral News Editor who graduated from the University Of California. She likes social media trends, being semi-healthy, Buffalo Wild Wings and vodka with lime. When she isn’t writing, Maria loves to travel. She last went to Thailand to play with elephants and is planning a trip to Bali.