Alzheimer’s Cure Research: Latest Discoveries and Progress
Every day, researchers work diligently to find a cure for Alzheimer’s, a disease so prevalent that it is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, more than five million people in the United States currently live with Alzheimer’s and more than 15 million caregivers provided Alzheimer’s care during 2015.
The good news is that there are constant advancements being made in the search for an Alzheimer’s cure. These three recent studies all reveal important information which may contribute to a cure and, ultimately, the prevention of Alzheimer’s.
Alzheimer’s spreads in a pattern due to protein variation.
A new study has revealed the potential reason why Alzheimer’s spreads through the brain in a specific pattern. Researchers had previously identified the pattern of Alzheimer’s in the brain but the reason behind that pattern was unknown until now.
It appears that a variation in the brain’s protein levels actually identifies Alzheimer’s progression in the brain before the disease sets in. It is possible that, aided by this knowledge, doctors could look for these protein variations in patients’ brains to identify those who are susceptible to Alzheimer’s, before symptoms even appear.
This early diagnosis could prove extremely valuable in preventing the disease.
Sense of smell may correlate with Alzheimer’s susceptibility.
A study on the incredible senses of taste and smell that wine tasters possess may have inadvertently provided insight into Alzheimer’s susceptibility. Las Vegas researchers scanned the brains of 13 wine connoisseurs and compared those scans with the brain scans of non-experts. During the brain scans, each study participant smelled different wines and fruits.
The scans revealed that wine connoisseurs can smell particular scents that the average person cannot. But it also revealed something else notable: the parts of the brain which are susceptible to Alzheimer’s were unusually enlarged in the wine connoisseurs.
So what does this mean for Alzheimer’s research? It is possible that developing your sense of smell may help to offer some protection against Alzheimer’s. More research is certainly needed, but this is an exciting discovery.
NSAIDs cure Alzheimer’s symptoms in mice.
A research team has discovered that mefenamic acid, which is a common Non-Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drug (NSAID), cures Alzheimer’s symptoms in mice. During the study, researchers tested 20 mice which were genetically altered so that they exhibited Alzheimer’s symptoms. Ten of the mice were given the mefenamic acid for a month via a pump underneath their skin. The other ten mice were given a placebo, also through a pump underneath their skin.
Prior to the study, all of the mice displayed memory loss. After the treatment, however, the mice which received the mefenamic acid showed a reversal in their memory loss. The mice which received the placebo still displayed the same memory loss that they had at the beginning of the study.
NSAIDs reduce inflammation, and scientists believe that inflammation in the brain makes Alzheimer’s symptoms worse. The mefenamic acid proved promising as a potential Alzheimer’s cure in this study, but it’s important to remember that medications work differently in humans than they do in animals. There is still plenty of research to do, but this new information could potentially play a role in the cure for Alzheimer’s.
Next steps in Alzheimer’s research
As new studies are completed, scientists learn more about how Alzheimer’s progresses and what techniques may be effective in treating and preventing it. Luckily, breakthroughs in Alzheimer’s research are happening daily. While there’s no way to estimate when a cure will be found, researchers are continually making progress in their search.
If your loved one is living with Alzheimer’s, Cahoon Care can help. Contact us today to learn more about the specialized Alzheimer’s care we provide.