February 23, 2021 by
With a great deal of negative news in the forefront of 2020, it is worth reflecting on a few of the remarkable achievements the year brought – including the advancements in dementia research. Katie McDonough, director of programs and services at the Alzheimer’s Association, shares, “There are many things that we’re learning and it’s an exciting time for Alzheimer’s research.”
Listed below are just some of the milestones reached that are leading us ever closer to a cure:
- Identification of Alzheimer’s risk factors. Understanding the leading risk factors for dementia, including pollution, excessive alcohol consumption, and traumatic brain injury (among others), is estimated to lower cases of Alzheimer’s worldwide up to 40%.
- Falling rates of Alzheimer’s cases. Over the previous three decades, dementia diagnoses in North America and Europe have declined by 13% per decade – most likely the result of lifestyle changes.
- Advancements towards earlier diagnosis. The Early Detection of Neurodegenerative diseases initiative (EDoN) has been started, in which digital devices are increasingly being developed to diagnosis dementia much earlier – as early as 10 – 15 years before symptoms begin.
- Greater awareness of MCI. Mild cognitive impairment, or MCI, is now being evaluated more thoroughly, making it possible for earlier strategy, diagnosis and treatment.
- Dementia blood tests. Predictors for the risk of Alzheimer’s disease have become more sophisticated, and in a recent study from Sweden, medical researchers uncovered blood-based proteins that anticipate future thinking and memory problems.
- Review of antipsychotic drug treatments. A recent study conducted by the University College London reported an elevated rate for the prescription of antipsychotic drugs for people with Alzheimer’s disease – potentially from the greater dependence on delirium management as well as agitation and anxiety from COVID-19 restrictions. These medications are recommended only when no alternative is available, and ways to decrease their use are being further explored.
- Artificial intelligence. At a faster pace and less expensive, an innovative new AI solution is equipped to determine the form of proteins in the brain, helping scientists design therapeutics to help remove these proteins.
- Aducanumab. The FDA accepted this promising medication in 2020 for a priority review process, meaning that sometime early in 2021, we should be finding out if it’s approved for use within the general population.
With At Home Independent Living, exceptional providers of dementia care in Fayetteville, NY and nearby areas, we are focused on following the most current dementia research, and on offering the cutting-edge, highly skilled care that helps those with dementia live to their greatest potential. Whether the need is for full-time care, or just a couple of hours weekly for dependable respite services, contact us for more information about how we can help.