With no promising cure in place, Alzheimer’s continues to haunt the world. In the United States alone, nearly 5.4 million people live with Alzheimer’s disorder. It is projected the numbers would almost triple by 2050. The Alzheimer’s association observes June as Alzheimer’s and brain awareness month. As of June 2016, little progress has been made in terms of creating awareness as well as finding solutions. The awareness programs are largely concentrated on removing the stigma and cracking myths associated with the disorder.
In April 2016, New Canaan residents (Town in Connecticut) set the ball rolling for the Alzheimer’s awareness through Paint the town Purple Campaign. Through the campaign, the promoters aimed to honor 73,000 people living with the condition in Conn. A number of small businesses in the area have rendered their support for the campaign by going purple in their storefronts.
The early stage symptoms of Alzheimer’s disorder include difficulty remembering conversations, apathy and depression. The late stage symptoms include poor communication, disorientation, behavior changes and difficulty in activities such as speaking, swallowing and walking. As the conditions suggest, the patients are expected to worsen over time even under proper care. The treatments addressed as of now across the globe aims to reduce pain and treat the resulting symptoms. A number of medical studies had been running for a while now for finding a cure albeit with little success, however, there has been significant progress made on the fronts of diagnosis.
In a paper published in the Journal Science Translational Medicine, the nonprofit funded research led run by Harvard Neurologists team reveals that Beta-amyloid protein that accumulates in the brain is found to be antimicrobial peptides and the secretion of the peptides in abnormal quantities results eventually in the disorder.
The team proved that exposure to tiny amounts of microbes (unrelated to brain infectious microbes) also triggers secretion of these peptides. Against the conventional viewpoint, the authors suggest that protection against microbes in the sensitive region (brain) through vaccination could be a possible cure. The theory aims to limit the secretion of peptides and eventual accumulation in the region.
A study conducted by RIKEN-MIT Center for Neural Circuit Genetics (CNCG) figured out in mice that new memories are even made while suffering from Alzheimer’s but the issue lies in the ability to retrieve the stored memory. These results in mice cannot be directly translated to humans as the transfer of plague cells in mice is largely different from Humans.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have approved five drugs: donepezil, galantamine, memantine, rivastigmine and combination of donepezil and memantine. These drugs mask the symptoms of Alzheimer’s but the cure lies in treating the underlying disease and stopping or delaying the degeneration process.
Hundred years back, Dr. Alois Alzheimer first made the discovery from an autopsy of patient’s brain. In total, 40 million people across the globe suffer from this form of dementia today. Right now, the time is right for scientists, pharmaceutical firms, regulators and governments to pay attention to find a sensible cure than to mask its symptoms.