Alzheimer’s has become a haunt to the world. So far no promising cure has been found. 5.4 million People are living with this disorder in the USA alone and it has been said that by the year 2050, this number could triple. In June, the Alzheimer’s Association observes brain awareness and Alzheimer’s month. However, as at June 2016, not much progress is recorded as far as finding solutions and creating awareness is concerned. Any awareness programs in place have focused mainly on the removal of stigma and explaining away myths that have been associated with AD.
Residents of New Canaan, Connecticut, started an Alzheimer’s awareness campaign in April 2016 named, “Paint the Town Purple.” The idea was to honor seventy three thousand people living with Alzheimer’s in Connecticut. Small businesses supported the campaign in the area by agreeing to paint the storefronts purple.
Symptoms of Alzheimer’s
In the beginning the person usually experiences difficulty in remembering conversations, depression and apathy. During the late stage the person experiences disorientation, changes in behavior, poor communication, difficulty in carrying out daily activities such as walking, swallowing and speaking. It is expected that the patient’s condition will become worse as time passes even when the person is being taken care of properly. Today, the current treatments focus on the treatment of symptoms and the pain reduction. However, there have been medical studies running which are seeking a cure even though they have experienced little success. Nevertheless, significant progress has been made when it comes to diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disorder.
The Journal Science Translational Medicine published a paper of research that was carried out by Harvard Neurologists. They found that Beta-amyloid protein, which is known to accumulate in the brain, is actually antimicrobial peptides. These peptides when secreted in an abnormal quantity are what cause Alzheimers.
Additionally, they found that when one is exposed to a small amount of microbes, which are not related to infectious microbes of the brain, the secretion of the said peptides is triggered. These researchers suggest that protecting the brain against these microbes affecting the brain by vaccinating the population could be the elusive cure for AD. This is not the viewpoint that is conventionally held. By working this theory, peptide secretion will be limited and thus will limit their accumulation in the brain.
Another study on mice was conducted by the RIKEN-MIT CNCG (Center for Neural Circuit Genetics). They found that even with Alzheimer’s new memories were still being made. The problem is retrieving the memory already stored. Of course you cannot directly translate the results with the mice to human beings mainly because plague cells transfer works very differently from human cells.
Current Treatment for Alzheimer’s
The FDA has approved 5 different drugs: rivastigmine, donepezil, memantine, galantamine and mementine and donepezil combined. The work of these drugs is really to mask Alzheimer’s symptoms but the cure for Alzheimer’s will be based on delaying or stopping the process of degeneration.
Across the world today, 40 million are suffering from AD. It is time for pharmaceutical firms, governments, regulators and scientists to pay attention so that a cure can be found not just masking the various symptoms.