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ST. LOUIS — Washington University is looking for seniors to participate in a study involving a drug that might delay or prevent Alzheimer’s.

Researchers what to know if a drug called Suvorexant, used to treat sleep problems in older adults, can reduce signs of early Alzheimer’s.

“We’re testing the effect of this drug to decrease the amount of a protein called amyloid-beta that accumulates in the brain during Alzheimer’s,” said Dr. Brendan Lucey, director of the Sleep Medicine Center at the Washington University School of Medicine.

Alzheimer’s disease develops slowly over the course of two decades or more. Lucey and colleagues have shown that poor sleep is linked to higher levels of two proteins in the brain, and those same proteins are linked to Alzheimer’s.

“The hope, in the long run, is that by taking this drug to improve sleep and slow the accumulation of this protein that we can prevent or delay the onset of the problems with thinking and memory,” said Lucey.

Washington University is recruiting 200 people aged 65 or older with difficulty sleeping and no cognitive problems to take Suvorexant before bed every evening for two years.

For more information on participating in the study, contact Washington University at 314-273-6102 or email luceylab@wustl.edu.