By, Jay H. Berman
Alzheimer’s and other dementia related disease cost this country as much as $215 billion a year. The past week witnessed a report showing these findings. But a study involving some new drugs show we might prevent Alzheimer’s. 100 families worldwide are taking part in a daring experiment.

Each member of these families has a 50%-50% chance of getting a rare genetic mutation that causes Alzheimer’s in the mid 40s, 50s and 60’s age brackets. Scientists have chosen three drugs that could stop some of them from having the disease. In the drug trials which started last month, family members are receiving either active drugs or a placebo.

Brian scans and other biomarkers will let researchers decide which drugs look best. From there they continue with those to see if they can prevent Alzheimer’s, or slow its progression. These drugs target a protein that some scientists think is the cause of Alzheimer’s. However, not only in families with a rare mutation, also when it strikes later in life.

Other drugs have failed to halt Alzheimer’s, & scientists believe they may have been given too late. Studying families, researchers learned that the brain decay of Alzheimer’s disease begins decades before symptoms begin to appear. Scientists see this as a possibility to prevent brain cells from dying and preventing the onset of Alzheimer’s dementia.

As the most common cause of dementia, Alzheimer’s has always been thought of as age related brain disease. Scientists may have to revisit that perception based upon these new findings. However, it cannot be stressed strongly enough that not only does ongoing research provide information it is likewise succeeding in producing new breakthroughs. Loss of cognitive functioning created by the disease is known to become so severe it interferes with normal everyday activities. Although there is no known cure – scientific medical research is bringing hope formally absent.

As we learn more about the disease, the role of genetic factors has become more & more evident. Genetic links have been recognized in early & late onset of Alzheimer’s. Although early onset is uncommon compared to late age, it is significant & symptoms showing up in individuals in their 30’s & 40’s is now known to be caused by mutations in one of three genes inherited from one parent or the other.

Other genes may increase the risk for late onset & further study seeks to assess what role these play. In searching for added risk factors, understanding more about these genes helps scientists test for enhanced treatment & strategies for prevention, before symptoms appear. This has not yet been accomplished to the degree to which we wish – but at this time more is known & there has been unprecedented success in evaluation& overall comprehension going forward.

Researchers know that clinical trials shall determine our ability to establish what prevents or delays cognitive decline. The N.I.H. [National Institute of Health] with more than 50 research projects – support early drug discovery & early clinical development on new treatment compounds.

Although there is still no all inclusive fail safe proven method of preventing the disease, the research is encouraging & ongoing. Prevention strategy now includes the strong evidence that reduction to risk of heart disease may also lower the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. The most important factors in the prevention of both diseases are the same. They include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, overweight & morbid obesity, & diabetes.

Targeting people at high risk of dementia are being addressed with new programs. These include a multidimensional approach that incorporates physical activity, social activity, healthy diet & cognitive stimulation. Simply meaning, it’s recommended to exercise one’s brain.

Let’s keep active, in all the manners described above, & very possibly reduce the risk of developing this disease!


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