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Chin Med. 2011 Apr 22;6:15. doi: 10.1186/1749-8546-6-15.

Drug discovery from Chinese medicine against neurodegeneration in Alzheimer's and vascular dementia.

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  • 1Laboratory of Neurodegenerative Diseases, Department of Anatomy, The University of Hong Kong Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR, China.


Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia are two major diseases associated with dementia, which is common among the elderly. While the etiology of dementia is multi-factorial and complex, neurodegeneration may be the major cause of these two diseases. Effective drugs for treating dementia are still to be discovered. Current western pharmacological approaches against neurodegeneration in dementia develop symptom-relieving and disease-modifying drugs. Current integrative and holistic approaches of Chinese medicine to discovering drugs for neurodegeneration in dementia include (1) single molecules from the herbs, (2) standardized extracts from a single herb, and (3) herbal formula with definite composition. This article not only reviews the concept of dementia in western medicine and Chinese medicine but also evaluates the advantages and disadvantages of these approaches.

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