With a great deal of negative news throughout 2020, it is worth noting a number of the remarkable achievements the year brought – including 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.”
Listed below are just a few of the milestones reached that are leading us ever closer to a cure:
- Identification of Alzheimer’s risk factors. Understanding the leading risk factors for Alzheimer’s, in particular excessive alcohol consumption, pollution, and traumatic brain injury (among others), is estimated to reduce cases of Alzheimer’s around the world by as much as 40%.
- Diminishing rates of Alzheimer’s cases. For the preceding 30 years, Alzheimer’s diagnoses in Europe and North America have decreased by 13% per decade – likely because of lifestyle changes.
- Advancements towards earlier diagnosis. The Early Detection of Neurodegenerative diseases initiative (EDoN) has been launched, whereby digital devices are increasingly being developed to diagnosis dementia much earlier – as early as 10 – 15 years before symptoms begin.
- Increased attention to MCI. Mild cognitive impairment, or MCI, is now being examined more closely, making it possible for earlier strategy, diagnosis and treatment.
- Dementia blood tests. Predictors for the risk of dementia are becoming more sophisticated, and in a recent research study from Sweden, scientists identified blood-based proteins that anticipate future thinking and memory problems.
- Review of antipsychotic meds. A recently available research study conducted by the University College London revealed an increased rate of the prescription of antipsychotic medications for all those with dementia – potentially from the greater need for delirium management in addition to agitation and anxiety from COVID-19 restrictions. These meds are only recommended when no alternative is available, and the reduction of their use is currently being explored further.
- Artificial intelligence. At a faster pace and less expensive, a new AI solution is able to identify the form of proteins in the brain, helping scientists design treatments to help remove these proteins.
- Aducanumab. The Food and Drug Administration accepted this promising drug in 2020 for a priority review process, meaning that sometime in 2021, we should find out if it is approved for use within the general population.
At Atlanta Home Care Partners, the leading providers of in-home elderly care in Atlanta and nearby areas, we are committed to following the latest research on Alzheimer’s disease, as well as offering the cutting-edge, highly skilled care that can help those with dementia live to their greatest potential. Whether the need is for full-time care, or simply a couple of hours weekly for reliable respite services, reach out to us for an in-home consultation for more information about the ways we can help.