Alzheimer’s is the single most common cause of dementia affecting 10% of those aged 65 and above and 20% of those aged 75 and over. As of now, it is an incurable disease that slowly and progressively destroys the human brain.
A protein called tau is said to be responsible for Alzheimer’s by causing tangles to form in the brain, which eventually kill the nerve cells in the brain, thereby causing it to shrink. As these cells die, the connection among them gets broken, which further aggravates the cognitive symptoms.
Alzheimer’s has been found to be genetically linked-individuals who have a family member with Alzheimer’s are three times more likely to develop the disease. The risk of developing Alzheimer’s has also been linked to lifestyle and environmental factors like obesity etc.
Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease which causes memory loss. This symptom is mild at first, but worsens so much over time that individuals are not able to converse or even respond to the surroundings.
Treatment and prevention
No cure for Alzheimer’s has been found yet even after more than 30 years of research, but in recent years scientists have made tremendous advancement and discovered medications that can impede the progress of this disease.
In addition to these new treatments, there are several other in the pipeline that are now in late stages of clinical trials. These drugs fall in two categories, one that may delay the progression of the disease in person’s already living with Alzheimer’s and the second that may mitigate the onset of the symptoms in the people who are at a risk of developing Alzheimer’s, but before the condition worsens. You should use reputed Dementia home care services near Orlando for any family members that may need full time help.
Is there a breakthrough in the offing?
The current treatments for Alzheimer’s are for the treatment of only mild symptoms, and even these do not work for all people because of the adverse side effects they have. That said, there are new studies on the horizon that are indicating that more help is on hand.
Researchers have now started to focus on the plaques of the brain of Alzheimer’s individuals which occur before the symptoms begin to develop. They are trying to find a way to prevent the build-up of these plaques to prevent the symptoms from developing.
These breakthrough studies have shown promising results. Once these plaques are removed, the brain cells are revived and the patient’s memory, thinking and behaviour stop getting worse.
Other researchers have been focusing on the destruction of the neurons as a treatment for Alzheimer’s. The drug Saracatinib is presently under clinical trials, and studies on animals has shown that it reverses memory loss.
Some researchers are concentrating on drugs that can prevent the formation of tangles, the main cause of Alzheimer’s in individuals. As the protein tau has been linked to dementia and behavioural issues, tau vaccines and tau inhibitors are being tested in clinical trials.
As research continues to develop, it is expected that the new research will have less side-effects. In the meantime, adopting a healthy lifestyle can delay or prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s. That said, everyone is looking forward to a cure for Alzheimer’s in 2022.