Every time you read about these studies one can’t help but think positive about potential cures. On the other hand though as Rick Morgan at CNBC.com describes below it has been crushing to have hopes of an Alzheimer’s cure dashed time and time again…
Every 66 seconds someone in the United States develops Alzheimer’s. The disease is debilitating and deadly. Day-to-day tasks become difficult or impossible. Caregivers sacrifice untold time and energy to keep patients safe and comfortable.
Researchers have yet to find a drug that reverses the effects of Alzheimer’s once they start to show, and the repeated failures have been crushing. But two recent studies on blood tests might help turn the tide by helping develop more effective treatments.
Researcher Dr. Randall Bateman of Washington University in St. Louis unveiled a blood test this past summer that can detect Alzheimer’s decades before a patient shows physical symptoms. Then this past January a Japanese and Australian team published a study in Nature about a blood test that can detect Alzheimer’s with 90 percent accuracy.A key characteristic of Alzheimer’s is the buildup of a protein called amyloid beta in the brain. This toxic protein can cause dementia. Amyloid has been the overwhelming target of clinical drug trials in the Alzheimer’s field. Bateman estimates the blood test can detect amyloid up to 20 years before a person will develop Alzheimer’s.
With these new findings and blood tests for detecting and hopefully hastening a cure for Alzheimer’s, I am hopeful now more than ever. I think these researchers are onto something big. Let’s cross our collective fingers and hope we see real results soon.
thumbnail courtesy of cnbc.com
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