There is still no cure for Alzheimer’s disease or any kind of dementia and the news seems to just keep getting worse. Researchers at the Alzheimer’s Disease International currently estimate there to be 44 million people living with the disease, but now they say that they expect that number to more than triple in a little over 35 years. That would leave more that 135 million people across the world suffering from dementia in 2050. There is some hope, however. Researchers believe they have made a breakthrough with a drug that would be injected monthly to prevent early onset dementia and could be on the market in five years.
Next week there will be a G8 summit on dementia where leading doctors in the field of dementia will certainly be hungry to dissect and investigate this new drug. Dr. Eric Karran says that he is filled with lots of hope that this could be a viable alternative in five years time.
Further drug trials still need to succeed, but if they go well patients could be looking at a monthly injection that could delay the onset of dementia. It is important to note that this injection would not totally prevent against dementia but could be an effect preventative for those who might be visited by the disease earlier than normal.
The breakthrough occurred with a drug named Solanezumab which could help to suspend memory problems due to troubled brain function.
The drug was originally tested on patients with both mild and moderate forms of dementia but was concluded to be unsuccessful. But when a different study analyzed the drugs effect on only those with mild dementia they found it had a noticeable impact on patients.
Currently dementia is a disease seen most commonly in affluent countries. It is believed that 38 percent of all dementia cases occur in affluent countries but Alzheimer’s Disease International, the same group who projected the increased numbers, says that will change and we will begin to see a majority of cases coming from poorer countries.
One reason that this discrepancy currently exists could be the lower life expectancy rates in some poorer countries and because more cases of dementia go unreported due to lack of medical attention in poorer countries.
The report which predicted this steep climb in the number of dementia patients also says that our governments are seriously unprepared to face this kind of rise in dementia cases. Currently in the UK, which is where the report was filed, dementia receives one-eight of the government funding for research that cancer receives.
Many of those involved in studying this drug believe that it could help governments weather the surge in cases. They believe an effective drug option for the prevention of early onset dementia could cut the number of cases reported in half.
So far the recommendations for people who want to avoid Alzheimer’s is limited to exercise, both mental and physical, and an unproven belief in Vitamin D. Researchers hope that soon that will change and that they will have a solid drug option in the next few years that will be able to help fight against this large increase in dementia patients.
By Nick Manai