America is one of the countries making the biggest progress in the field of Alzheimer’s disease. Recently the discovery of biomarker measures made it possible to detect this condition early in its development. Furthermore, there are new therapies and treatments. One of the most significant breakthroughs was finding that lowering blood pressure can reduce the risk of mild cognitive impairment. As you know, Alzheimer’s starts with mild symptoms that later can become dementia.
When you think about it, the time for progress was about right. Americans are, after all, the people who put a man on the moon. In recent times, one of the world’s wealthiest people, Bill Gates, put serious funds into finding diagnostics and treatments for Alzheimer’s disease. The renowned philanthropist decided to invest $100 million to support five different strategies, all of which revolve around this condition.
These five strategies are:
- Learning how this disease starts and what prompts it
- Making progress in diagnosing Alzheimer’s
- Discovering new treatments which differ from what is applied today
- Making trial enrollment more simple
- Creating a database which will have information from all patients enrolled in treatments
Learning How This Disease Starts and What Prompts It
The brain is the most complicated organ in our body. Because of this, there are many things about it that we don’t know. For starters, we don’t see how it ages or how Alzheimer’s affects this process. What we know has been discovered through autopsies dissecting patients whose disease was already in the late stages. For example, we do not know which group of people is more prone to Alzheimer’s. If we are going to ever fully understand this condition, we need to go back to the start.
Making Progress in Diagnosing Alzheimer’s
The only way to be entirely sure that someone had Alzheimer’s disease is after their autopsy. A bit late, you will agree. We need to find a way to detect this condition as early as possible. There are specific cognitive tests, but their results vary from candidate to candidate. Even simple things like lack of sleep before the examination can tamper with your results. The diagnostics for a condition as severe as Alzheimer’s need to be reliable, affordable, and accessible.
Discovering New Treatments Which Differ From What Is Applied Today
Today we have a couple of drugs which can slow down and partially prevent this disease. Most medications we have available focus on amyloid and tau, which are proteins that alter our brain. These have shown promise and progress. If they don’t turn out to be a solution, though, we need a different one. A drug that does more than targeting these two proteins should be the focus of doctors and scientists.
Making Trial Enrollment More Simple
One of the keys to solving Alzheimer’s lies in clinical trials. But the pace at which people apply and are being tested is slow. The disease is not known well enough, so people are not eager to participate in trials, regardless of the advancement of their dementia. Sometimes it takes a couple of years to get enough people to join in order to generate accurate results. More time and resources need to be dedicated to finding and grouping patients who would later undergo clinical treatment.
Creating a Database Which Will Have Information From All Patients Enrolled in Treatments
Every time Alzheimer’s tests are conducted, people who perform them collect data. But all the data are preserved at different locations, with the people who funded the trials. They are not shared among different groups of researchers. If all the data were collected in one spot and classified by gender, age, and other metrics, the job for doctors and scientists would be much easier.
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