February 24, 2021
With a great deal of negative news in the forefront of 2020, it is worth noting a number of the wonderful achievements the year brought – such as the advancements in Alzheimer’s disease research. Katie McDonough, director of programs and services at the Alzheimer’s Association, shares, “There are many things that we’re learning and it’s an exciting time for Alzheimer’s research.”
Here are just a few of the milestones reached that are leading us ever closer to a cure:
- Identification of dementia risk factors. Learning about the leading risk factors for Alzheimer’s, such as pollution, excessive alcohol consumption, and traumatic brain injury (among others) is estimated to lower cases of dementia worldwide by up to 40%.
- Falling rates of dementia cases. Over the preceding three decades, Alzheimer’s diagnoses in North America and Europe have declined by 13% per decade – most likely as a result of lifestyle changes.
- Progress towards earlier diagnosis. The Early Detection of Neurodegenerative diseases initiative (EDoN) has been started, in which digital devices are now being developed to diagnosis Alzheimer’s earlier – as early as 10 – 15 years prior to symptom onset.
- Greater attention to MCI. Mild cognitive impairment, or MCI, is now being examined more thoroughly, making it possible for earlier strategy, diagnosis and treatment.
- Dementia blood tests. Predictors for the risk of dementia are becoming more advanced, and in a recent research study from Sweden, scientists identified blood-based proteins that anticipate future memory and thinking problems.
- Review of antipsychotic medications. A recently available research study conducted by the University College London reported an increased rate for the prescription of antipsychotic medications for people with Alzheimer’s – possibly linked to the greater need for delirium management along with agitation and anxiety from COVID-19 These meds are only recommended when no alternative is available; therefore, the reduction of their use is now being explored further.
- Artificial intelligence. At a faster pace and lower cost, a new AI solution is equipped to identify the form of proteins within the brain, helping medical researchers design treatments that can help remove these proteins.
- The Food and Drug Administration accepted this promising drug in 2020 for a priority review process, meaning that sometime at the start of 2021, we should be finding out if it is approved for use within the general population.
At Continuum, our experts in home care in Ladue and nearby areas are committed to following the latest research on Alzheimer’s disease, as well as on providing the cutting-edge, highly skilled care that helps people diagnosed with dementia live to their greatest potential. Whether the need is for full-time care, or simply several hours each week for dependable respite services, reach out to us for an in-home assessment for more information about how we can help.