Alzheimer’s disease – it’s one of those conditions that many people struggle with, especially in later life. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that it is the seventh most common cause of death. Moreover, in excess of 120,000 people died from the condition in 2019 alone, with recent studies suggesting mortality rates could be as much as six times greater than official estimates.
Evidently, the condition has a massive impact not only on our world but also on how the elderly population lives. However, recent research has focused heavily on finding new ways to overcome the condition. In line with this, exciting new data suggests that there may finally be an option to slow cognitive decline in patients struggling with Alzheimer’s.
What is Alzheimer’s?
Before looking any further, it’s first important that we tackle what the disease actually is. Simply put, Alzheimer’s is a form of dementia. In fact, it is generally considered the most common form of the condition and can appear in many different scenarios. Still, the most common causes typically seen among patients include age and genetic factors.
Over time, Alzheimer’s causes brain cell death, resulting in the organ shrinking as a whole too. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this can then lead to many potential issues, such as memory loss, changes in behavior, and even loss of social skills. With time, this may cause many potential problems for sufferers, significantly hampering their quality of life overall.
As such, the importance of taking steps to slow the progression of the condition is integral for a patient’s quality of life. However, treatment options presently can be somewhat limited, and so new opportunities for treating or slowing the condition are often met with a great deal of anticipation by the scientific and medical communities.
The New Drug Tackling Alzheimer’s Disease
While things have often looked bleak for patients, a recent trial has shed some potentially positive light. Indeed, a new drug, donanemab, has proven effective in removing beta-amyloid build-ups from around the brains in Alzheimer’s patients. The drug is given as a monthly transfusion.
Things aren’t completely smooth sailing just yet, though. Indeed, while the trials did prove effective for many people, between two and three volunteers in the trial phase died of brain swellings, indicating that further research is needed to confirm the safety level of the drug before it can be used with a wider public audience overall.
When looking to the future, it’s important to consider the potential value that the new drug could deliver. Indeed, while its application might be limited exclusively to Alzheimer’s patients (meaning it’s less useful for those with other types of dementia), it could offer a life-changing opportunity for early-diagnosed patients in the future if approved for use.
As such, there’s no doubt that the scientific and medical communities will be watching the progression of this new drug with great interest. Potentially, it may have the ability to save thousands of lives per year – especially since recent deaths have roughly doubled since 2000.
While there’s promising news about an Alzheimer’s drug experiment, other health news is more concerning, as numbers show younger adults are becoming more prone to colorectal cancer.