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Alzheimer’s disease: Future Scope - Avens Blog | Avens Blog

Alzheimer’s disease: Future Scope

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a slow progressive, irreversible disease of the brain that is characterized by impairment of memory and other intellectual abilities. It’s most common form is dementia, a general term for memory loss and enough to interfere with daily life. Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 60 to 80 percent of dementia cases. Alzheimer’s disease is currently ranked as the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, but recent estimates indicate that the disorder may rank third, next to heart diseases and cancer as a cause of death for older people.

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Although the disease was first identified more than 100 years ago, research into its symptoms, causes, risk factors and treatment have gained momentum only in the last 30 years. Most of the medications currently approved to treat Alzheimer’s are for early to moderate stages. These include cholinesterase inhibitors and Memantine drug. Cholinesterase inhibitors treat symptoms related to memory, thinking, language, judgment and other thought processes. Glutamate helps to send messages between nerve cells. Glutamate is excessively released during Alzheimer’s. Memantine drug protects the brain cells by blocking the effects of excess glutamate.

There is a vigorous drug development for Alzheimer’s disease. Many compounds are under clinical testing, most of which intend to slow down the progress of the disease. Several of these drugs are under Phase III trials, which is a final phase before approval for general use.

Developing new treatments for Alzheimer’s has proven challenging, however, scientists still need to know more about how the brain functions. Scientists are working on better ways to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease in its earlier stages, before symptoms initially start appearing. These include brain scan techniques that can track amyloid beta or detect changes in brain function, size, or blood use. Spinal tests that detect abnormal amounts of amyloid and tau proteins could help track disease progress in those with mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer’s disease.One of the new Alzheimer’s treatments is developing target microscopic clumps of the protein beta-amyloid (plaques). Plaques have long been considered as a sign of Alzheimer’s disease. Two strategies aimed at beta-amyloid include immunization against it and blocking its production.

Studies also continue on the kinds of exercises, mental activities, diets, and lifestyle choices that seem to minimize the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, or reduce the severity and progression of symptoms.

Although current Alzheimer’s treatments cannot stop Alzheimer’s from progressing, they can temporarily slow down the worsening of dementia symptoms and improve quality of life. Today, there is a worldwide effort to find better ways to treat the disease, delay its onset and prevent it from developing.

Journal of Neurology and Psychology

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