With a great deal of negative news in the forefront of 2020, it is worth noting some of the wonderful achievements the year brought – most notably the advancements in Alzheimer’s disease research. 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.”
Here are just a few of the milestones attained that are leading us ever closer to a cure:
- Identification of dementia risk factors. Understanding the leading risk factors for dementia, such as excessive alcohol consumption, pollution, and traumatic brain injury (among others) is projected to lower cases of Alzheimer’s throughout the world up to 40%.
- Decreasing rates of dementia cases. For the preceding 30 years, dementia diagnoses in North America and Europe have decreased by 13% per decade – likely due to lifestyle changes.
- Advancements towards earlier diagnosis. The Early Detection of Neurodegenerative diseases initiative (EDoN) has been started, and digital devices are now being developed to diagnosis dementia earlier – as early as 10 – 15 years prior to symptom onset.
- Increased focus on MCI. Mild cognitive impairment, or MCI, is now being evaluated more thoroughly, making it possible for earlier strategy, diagnosis and treatment.
- Dementia blood tests. Predictors for the potential risk of dementia are becoming more advanced, and in a recent research study from Sweden, researchers uncovered blood-based proteins that forecast future memory and thinking problems.
- Review of antipsychotic medications. A recently available study conducted by the University College London identified an increased rate of the prescription of antipsychotic drugs for people with Alzheimer’s – possibly linked to the greater dependence on delirium management in addition to agitation and anxiety from COVID-19 restrictions. These medications are recommended only when no alternative is available, therefore the reduction of their use is now being further explored.
- Artificial intelligence. At a faster pace and lower cost, an innovative new AI solution is able to determine the shape of proteins in the brain, helping scientists design medications to help remove these proteins.
- Aducanumab. The Food and Drug Administration 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.
As the leading provider of companion care in Chesapeake and nearby areas, we at Seniorcorp are focused on following the most current research on dementia, and on providing the cutting-edge, highly skilled care that helps those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease live to their fullest potential. Whether the need is for full-time care, or just a couple of hours each week for reliable respite services, contact us for an in-home consultation for more information on how we can help. Call us at 757-640-0557 or see our site for our full service area.