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What We’re Reading: Alzheimer Drug Fails; Impact of Repeated COVID-19 Infection; Psychedelic Compounds Approved


Negative trial results come in for Roche’s experimental Alzheimer disease drug; high risks of several adverse outcomes seen with repeated SARS-CoV-2 infection; Colorado has passed a measure to legalize 2 psychedelic compounds for medicinal and recreational use.

Roche’s Gantenerumab Fails in Pair of Trials

According to The Wall Street Journal, a pair of trials lasting 2-plus years have produced statistically insignificant results in cognitive decline of 8% and 6%, having compared results of Roche’s experimental gantenerumab compared with placebo in cognition and such functional areas as memory, orientation, and problem-solving. Gantenerumab targets beta-amyloid build-up, which experts believe may be linked to Alzheimer disease development. At present, although Roche is ending its trials of gantenerumab among patients with early-stage Alzheimer disease, it will continue investigation of the drug as a preventive in persons as high risk of disease development, as well as a version engineered “to better access the brain.”

Adverse Outcomes More Likely With Repeated COVID-19 Infection

New study findings show higher risks of death, hospitalization, and serious health issues following at least a second infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, compared with an initial infection, reports Reuters. From Department of Veterans Affair data collected from close to 6 million individuals over a 2-year period—40,947 of whom were infected with SARS-CoV-2 at least twice—investigators showed potential for lung, heart, and neurological problems following a repeat infection compared with just one bout of COVID-19. Although repeated infections can lead to greater immunity, the public should still take precautions, cautioned lead study authors Ziyad Al-Aly, MD, of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

Ballot Measure in Colorado Legalizes Psychedelic Use

In Colorado's midterm elections last week, Article 170, the Natural Medicine Health Act of 2022, was added to the state’s existing statues and it covers use of 2 compounds: psilocybin at state-regulated centers and psilocybin and psilocin for personal use among persons aged 21 and older. As reported by NBC News, with increasing evidence that psychedelic therapy can have benefits toward issues of mental health that include depression, anxiety, and eating disorders, psilocybin was granted Breakthrough Therapy status from the FDA in 2018—although to date, the compound remains illegal at the federal level and in most states. A similar measure passed in Oregon in 2021 and over a dozen states have similar legislation in the works.

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