A new discovery could potentially make a huge difference to the lives of Alzheimer's sufferers and their families.
Scientists based at a research facility in Zurich have recently discovered a drug that could slow down and stop the process of Alzheimer's disease, a progressive and degenerative disease, which causes gradual mental deterioration and decline in the elderly over a number of years.
The drug, named Aducanumab, works like an antibody by clearing away amyloid plaques in the brain. Amyloid plaques stop cells from functioning properly, leading to irreversible memory loss and cognitive decline, symptoms that are associated with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
Aducanumab was developed by scientists at the Institute for Regenerative Medicine at the University of Zurich, and the treatment was found to be effective at a high dosage after a year of continuous use. Professor Roger M. Nitsch at the research institute said the effect of the antibody is "very impressive" but the outcome was "dependent on the dosage and length of treatment".
This is very good news. In fact, this is brilliant and it is a major breakthrough in dementia research, as this drug could help stop the disease from getting worse or prevent it altogether.
At the moment there is no cure for the disease. Around 850,000 people are currently living with dementia in Great Britain, and the most common form of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease. It is predicted that by the year 2025 one million people in Britain will suffer from dementia, and by 2050 that figure is set to double. While these figures are concerning , the scientific discovery could help to reduce these numbers significantly.
Aducanumab is more likely to be effective for those who are suffering from early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, and from the research is it not clear if the drug could completely prevent dementia. However, from the study, it is clear that the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease - which include extreme forgetfulness, disorientation, problems with speech and language, and difficulty performing spatial tasks - could be prevented as long as the right dosage was taken during a lengthy period of time. This is one of the most important discoveries in medicine and it could potentially restore the lives of the elderly and their loved ones who have been severely affected by Alzheimer's disease. Meanwhile, there are many areas of support and care for Alzheimer's sufferers and their loved ones, including residential care specifically tailored to those suffering from the illness.