New tests and drugs could help predict the likelihood of Alzheimer’s disease, and turn the tide of treating symptoms for millions of patients worldwide, according to a leading expert at Cleveland Clinic.
Dr Marwan Sabbagh, director of Cleveland Clinic’s Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas, United States, said: “While Alzheimer’s is widespread globally, it’s a very exciting time in the medical field with new and innovative treatments that can reduce symptoms. Physicians, specialists and medical researchers have a renewed sense of purpose in delivering innovations that can give back quality of life to patients, and deploy tests that can predict Alzheimer’s before it worsens.”
Alzheimer’s is a common brain disorder, in which protein builds up in the brain, causing progressive deterioration in memory, thinking and learning.
More than 26 million people worldwide live with Alzheimer’s disease, which could more than quadruple to 106 million by 2050, according to a recent report by the US National Institute of Health.
Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of the state of dementia, impacting 60-80% of dementia cases, according to Cleveland Clinic.
One in 10 people older than 65 and nearly half of all people older than 85 will have Alzheimer’s disease.
However, doctors and patients are welcoming breakthroughs in new blood tests, and an injectable radioactive agent for brain imaging, called flortaucipir F18.
In treatment, the US Food and Drug Administration is reviewing a new drug (aducanumab), which could reduce the amount of protein from the brain, and significantly slow the disease’s progression.
One of the biggest challenges facing patients with Alzheimer’s is the current Covid-19 era of physical distancing, especially for people in institutional living facilities.
“Patients with Alzheimer’s frequently rely on caregivers to support them – from the early stages of helping with appointments, transportation, and managing money and medication, to the middle to late stages that require more intense daily care,” added Dr Sabbagh.
“The Covid-19 era of physical distancing is seeing many Alzheimer’s patients separated or with reduced contact from their caregivers, leading to isolation and more challenging daily lives for these patients.”
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