New Findings in Dementia and Alzheimer’s Research
According to the World Health Association, nearly 35 million people worldwide are living with Alzheimer’s disease. While this number continues to increase every year, so does the research around Alzheimer’s and other psychological conditions.
In a recent 2020 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference® (AAIC®), Dr. Maria Carrillo presented insights into the latest research and discoveries in her presentation titled Advancing the Science: The Latest Discoveries in Alzheimer’s Dementia Research. Here are some of the highlights of her findings:
Early Detection and Diagnosis
Biological markers can enable researchers to gauge bodily changes related to Alzheimer’s disease. Two main biomarkers for Alzheimer’s disease are Tau Tangles and Amyloid Plaques. A blood test can detect p-Tau217 – a tau tangle specific to the disease – 20 years before any symptoms of Alzheimer’s occur.
Biomarkers can help medical professionals with early detection and diagnosis. Consequently, it can help people concentrate on their health and slow the progression of the disease.
Lifestyle and Risk
While we cannot change certain risk factors like family history, age, and heredity, we can modify other factors like cardiovascular health, lifestyle, diet, physical activity, sleep, education, cognitive engagement, and brain injury.
The US POINTER study is a two-year clinical trial currently underway in Finland. It assesses whether interventions in lifestyle – like social and cognitive stimulation, physical activity, health coaching, and diet – can target risk factors of Alzheimer’s and protect seniors who are at risk for cognitive impairment.
The biggest chunk of Alzheimer’s drugs in the pipeline in 2020 would try to slow down the process of loss of cognition and function. Anti-amyloid therapy that can treat MCI (Mild Cognitive Impairment) is in the process of seeking FDA’s approval. As a result of this treatment, researchers believe that there will be a decrease in clinical decline in tau-amyloid biomarkers and benefits on function and cognition.
Pneumonia and Flu Vaccination
The research conducted by AAIC suggested that pneumonia and flu vaccines are also correlated with a low risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Studies found out that a flu vaccine can decrease the prevalence of Alzheimer’s by 17%. Another study discovered that a pneumonia vaccine could decrease the risk of Alzheimer’s by 40% for senior citizens.
The ongoing research and latest findings make a strong case for behavioral interventions throughout a person’s life, intending to reduce the risk and combat Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.
If you are concerned that your parents are developing certain symptoms, elder care services like senOcare can help you keep a close watch on them and get an early heads up if anything is wrong.
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