5 Amazing Alzheimer's Breakthroughs
Written by Gurleen Khaira
5.5 million. That’s the number of people who have Alzheimer’s in the USA. Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for the condition, however this has driven researchers across the globe to try to find a solution. Due to their work, there have been groundbreaking discoveries and clinical trials in Alzheimer’s and the medical field. So, we here at MindMate looked into these breakthroughs to bring you the best breakthroughs in Alzheimers.
1. Diagnosis through eyes Through research, Duke University has found that Alzheimer’s patients have less retinal blood vessels at the back of their eyes compared to healthy patients. The volume of blood vessels can be checked using an eye scan, meaning this measure can be used to easily and quickly diagnose Alzheimer’s. This is a huge step in research may be used as an early Alzheimer's test, and helps to better understand the stages of Alzheimer's. The research also provides better understanding into the connection between eye health and memory power.
2. Blood test diagnoses Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine are currently testing a blood test that could be used to diagnose Alzheimer’s. Current trials highlight that the blood test has a 94% accuracy in diagnosing Alzheimers and is actually able to diagnose the condition before symptoms begin to show, so may be used as an early Alzheimer's test.
3. Ultrasounds to treat Alzheimers For those with early-stage Alzheimer’s, there is promising research currently being undertaken where focused ultrasound beams could be used to treat Alzheimer’s. In fact, researchers from the West Virginia University performed the procedure on their first patient successfully! The ultrasound can open the blood-brain barrier which prevents molecules from reaching the brain. By doing so, a medication that clears Alzheimer’s-causing plaques can be given.
4. Alzheimer’s drug The pharmaceutical company, Biogen, shared the success of their drug aducanumab in its final trial phase. The trial, which consisted of 3000 participants, revealed that the drug can prevent the decline of brain function by 40% when used over 18 months. Some participants also noted an improvement in memory and were better able to carry out daily tasks like eating.
5. Jelly Drops Unfortunately, dehydration is a common consequence for those with dementia as they often forget to or refuse to drink water. This ultimately leads to more confusion. However, researchers have developed a bright, easy to consume, sweet called ‘Jelly Drops’ which consist of 90% water and other molecules that intensify their hydration ability. These are currently in development and will be used to prevent dehydration in both dementia and Alzheimer’s patients.
Future Steps All the research into Alzheimer’s has allowed researchers to understand the condition much better. But for more to be done, and a cure to be found, much more research and studies are required. A core part of this research is clinical trials. Many of the breakthroughs above had to go through, and are still going through, trial phases where participants are needed to see if the drug/procedure being tested is actually effective. A cure for Alzheimer’s cannot be found without more clinical trials, which means more trial participants are needed. If you think you can help, download the MindMate app - MindMate not only supports brain health, but will also alert you of any clinical trials in your area that you may qualify for.