Alzheimer’s disease is one of the biggest specters looming large in minds as the years pass. In a recent survey, 62 percent of people were worried that they would develop the condition in their lifetime. The National Institute on Aging, a division of the National Institutes of Health, estimates there are 5.5 million people living with Alzheimer’s disease. Though most are diagnosed in their 60s, it can affect people younger and older as well. Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive condition that affects memory and thinking abilities over time. Eventually, sufferers lose the ability to carry out simple tasks. Unfortunately, it’s also likely one of the leading causes of death in the US, too. With all this in mind, it’s easy to see why scientists are working hard on Alzheimer’s research. For World Alzheimer’s Month, we wanted to touch upon some of that promising research.
Drug Candidate BAN2401
What exactly is BAN2401? It almost sounds like a flight number, or a license plate. In truth, this microscopic antibody is one of the most promising drug treatments to date for Alzheimer’s. Having recently finished a Phase 2 drug trial, it appears to slow cognitive decline by as much as 30% in patients. While this might sound like a small and incremental step, it’s big news in the research world. The companies producing the drug, Tokyo-based Eisai Co and Biogen Inc, are working toward widespread availability of BAN2401. This type of international cooperation is exactly what people around the globe need in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease.
Alzheimer’s Prevention Research
When it comes to disease treatment, nothing is quite as wonderful as preventing a disease from ever taking hold. The perfect example of this is vaccinations for once-fatal and devastating infections. It’s not surprising, then, that research into Alzheimer’s has turned in this direction. With varying treatment approaches, scientists have proposed promising avenues for preventing the disease. Doing things right takes time, though. The A4 study, for example, will wrap up in 2022. This can be frustrating for those who want answers now, but it’s vital that real science into treatments is done correctly. There are so many false treatments on the market now, based on bunk science or nothing at all. Real answers take time.
Though we’re far from knowing exactly how to live a life that will prevent Alzheimer’s disease entirely (if that’s even possible), there may be some steps individuals can take to lower their risk. The list includes all of the likely suspects. Get some form of physical exercise in regularly. Eat well — there’s some evidence for the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) and the Mediterranean diets. Avoid head trauma. Stay mentally and socially active. Though it’s perhaps not the magic bullet that people hope for, it’s something real that each and every one of us can start doing today.
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