Researchers are looking inside the brain to understand the changes in it from Alzheimer's disease. Learn more about the discoveries that could dramatically change the diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer’s.
Alzheimer's disease is a disorder in which nerve cells (neurons) in your brain degenerate and eventually die. As your nerve cells lose function, you'll experience a steady loss of memory and other thinking abilities (cognitive skills) and gradually lose your independence. Alzheimer's disease can't be cured, but doctors can help you manage your condition. (www.mayoclinic.com)
NEW TREATMENTS: Some of the new Alzheimer's treatments furthest along in development target plaques — microscopic clumps of the protein beta-amyloid. Plaques have long been considered an Alzheimer's disease hallmark. Two strategies aimed at beta-amyloid include immunizing the body against it and blocking its production.
A vital brain cell transport system collapses when a protein called tau twists into microscopic fibers called tangles — another hallmark brain abnormality of Alzheimer's. Keeping tau from forming tangles offers another potential drug target. One medication currently under investigation is taken as a nasal spray.
Alzheimer's causes chronic, low-level brain cell inflammation. Based on success in treating inflammation elsewhere in the body, researchers are attempting to develop drugs that zero in on specific inflammatory processes at work in Alzheimer's disease.
Growing evidence suggests that brain health is closely linked to heart and blood vessel health. Your brain is nourished by your arteries. The risk of developing Alzheimer's appears to increase as a result of many conditions that damage the heart or arteries. In addition, the strongest known genetic Alzheimer's risk factor is one form of a gene for apolipoprotein E, a protein that carries cholesterol in the blood. A number of studies are exploring how best to capitalize on this heart-head connection.
LOUISIANA RESEARCH ASSOCIATES: Currently, they are conducting several different trials for Alzheimer’s disease. In general, trials are open to individuals 50 years and older who suffer from mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease. Each candidate must be able to swallow oral medication, have a consistent care taker, and live in assisted living, not nursing homes. Duration of trials vary from 18 months to two years. Safety and efficiency of new medications form the focus of the trials. If any eligible subject has not had a CT scan of the brain performed over the last two years, then one will be provided. All eligible will be paid for their time travel. (www.lrainc.org)