Alzheimer’s is one of the most important public health concerns in the world because it affects so many aging adults. As the average life expectancy increases and medicine for conditions like heart disease improves, we will see Alzheimer’s cause a growing share of deaths. That means understanding AD and finding a treatment will be perhaps the single most important medical goal of the next few decades. In this post, we will discuss the current state of Alzheimer’s research and where things go from here.
What We Know
Researchers are aware that the most likely culprit of Alzheimer’s is a buildup of plaque inside the brain. What is less clear is what causes this plaque to appear in the first place and why it happens to some people, but not others.
Although there are medications available to slow the declines associated with AD, there is no known cure. Researchers are not sure if removing the plaque would be enough to stop the disease, or if too much damage would have been done by that point. The alternative would be preventative treatment. Medical scientists have been able to identify several unique types of AD, some of which seemed to be linked to genetics and others which are not. This has only deepened the mystery, as some have speculated that AD might be a group of diseases with similar manifestations.
Current Treatment And The Future
The current course of treatment for Alzheimer’s focuses on using medication to slow the decline as much as possible, and helping both patients with the diseases and their caregivers cope with the outcomes. This may include assisted-living centers like Cornerstone Hospice and Palliative Care facilities as well as in-home nurses.
As for the future, medical researchers are trying to both find ways to help people who already have the disease deal with its symptoms and try to uncover ways to prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s. Both of these are important tasks that will only become more important as AD becomes the dominant health concern for older adults.
Right now, the cure seems far away, but it is true that the last several years have seen many new developments. Moreover, Alzheimer’s is steadily growing in importance among doctors and researchers as they realize how much it will affect the landscape of health care. That means there is more research being done than ever before, and that is a sign of real hope.