With so much negative news throughout 2020, it is worth noting some of the incredible achievements the year brought – including the Alzheimer’s research milestones. 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 here are just some of the Alzheimer’s research milestones reached that are taking us ever closer to a cure:
- Identification of Alzheimer’s disease risk factors. Learning about the leading risk factors for Alzheimer’s, in particular pollution, excessive alcohol consumption, and traumatic brain injury (among others) is estimated to reduce cases of dementia around the world up to 40%.
- Decreasing rates of Alzheimer’s cases. For the past three decades, dementia diagnoses in Europe and North America have declined by 13% per decade – likely the result of changes in lifestyle.
- Progress towards earlier diagnosis. The Early Detection of Neurodegenerative diseases initiative (EDoN) has been started, in which digital devices are being developed to diagnose dementia as early as 10 to 15 years prior to symptom onset.
- Increased attention to MCI. Mild cognitive impairment, or MCI, is now being evaluated more thoroughly, allowing for earlier strategy, diagnosis and treatment.
- Dementia blood tests. Predictors for the risk of Alzheimer’s disease have become more sophisticated, and in a recently available study from Sweden, researchers identified blood-based proteins that predict future memory and thinking problems.
- Review of antipsychotic meds. A recent study conducted by the University College London reported an increased rate of the prescription of antipsychotic drugs for people with dementia – possibly linked to the greater need for delirium management along with agitation and anxiety from COVID-19 restrictions. These meds are recommended only when no alternative is available, and the reduction of their use is currently being further explored.
- Artificial intelligence. At a faster pace and lower cost, an innovative new AI solution is able to identify the formation of proteins within the brain, helping researchers design treatments to help remove these proteins.
- The FDA accepted this promising drug in 2020 for a priority review process, meaning that sometime in 2021, we should be finding out if it’s approved for use in the general population.
At Responsive Home Care, we are committed to following the current research on dementia, as well as on offering the cutting-edge, highly skilled care that helps individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer’s live to their fullest potential. Whether the need is for full-time care, or just a few hours each week for reliable respite services, reach out to us at (954) 486-6440 for an in-home consultation or to explore options for home health care in Pembroke Pines and the surrounding areas.