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Alzheimer's

There’s no denying that Alzheimer’s can have a terrible impact on the lives of sufferers and their loved ones, and with diagnosis rates steadily rising, management of the disease is now more important than ever. Currently there is no cure for Alzheimers, but, as its prevalence continues to increase, notably with the aging of the baby boomers generation, research has been stepped up, and it looks as though there might finally be some light at the end of the tunnel.

A new study, published in the journal of Nature Structural & Molecular Biology in February 2015, claims that to have found a way of stopping Alzheimer’s in its tracks, which could lead to the development of a new drug which would have the ability to halt the progression of Alzheimer’s, when taken in the earliest stages of the disease. Alzheimer’s is caused by the formation of plaques in the brain, which hamper nerve cells and interfere with brain function. However, the research revealed that the use of a certain molecule, found naturally in human lungs, can halt this process, and prevent the creation of more plaques.There is still some way to go before this research can be used to develop a drug, but nonetheless, this discovery could lead to a preventative treatment for potentially millions of individuals, allowing them to lead normal lives well into old age.

Another recent study, reported in the journal Science Translational Medicine in March 2015, was conducted by scientists from the University of Queensland, and explored the use of ultrasound to restore brain function in mice with Alzheimer’s. Ultrasound was used to remove the abnormal clumps of brain proteins caused by the disease, and the mice showed a 50% reduction in the amount of plaques following 5-7 weeks’ of treatment, which allowed them to regain lost brain activity. Again this research is in its early stages, but the results on mice were promising, and this will lead to medical trials of the treatment in humans over the next few years. 

Finally, some research from Duke University in North Carolina, published in the Journal of Neuroscience in April 2015, claims to have shed light on the cause of Alzheimer’s which could lead to a whole new wave of treatment options. The study revealed that when Alzheimer’s takes hold, immune cells that normally protect the brain instead start to consume an important brain nutrient called arginine, which leads to the suppression of the immune system. By blocking this process with a drug (DFMO), the team observed that plaques were prevented from forming in the brains of mice, leaving neurological function unaffected.

Currently Alzheimer’s and dementia affect more than 830,000 people in the UK alone, so the ramifications of these discoveries are very far reaching indeed. However, although these results are promising, treatment remains some way off, and even with significant advances in research, it will still be a number of years before any medication will be available to prevent or treat Alzheimer’s.

At Sova Healthcare we know the life changing consequences that this cruel illness can have, and that’s why we’re dedicated to offering a care package which is entirely tailored to you, to help make things a little easier. We will work with you and your loved ones to develop a unique care plan, and we can provide as much, or as little assistance as you require. 

If you’d like to find out more about care available for Alzheimer’s sufferers, please visit our dedicated Alzheimer’s Home Care page, or contact us to talk through your requirements with a friendly member of our team.

Photograph by Bev Sykes.
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