If a senior loved one lives with Alzheimer’s disease, staying up-to-date with the latest research on treatments and preventions is probably important to you. Most families never give up hope that a cure will be discovered. Many also live with the unspoken concern that having someone close to them with the disease increases their genetic risk for developing it. To help address these concerns, we will be taking time every few months to share some of the most recent findings about dementia.
Recent Alzheimer’s Research Updates
Here are a few of the research trials that seem to hold promise for people living with Alzheimer’s disease or a related form of dementia:
- Researchers at The University of Melbourne had previously discovered changes in the brain that can show signs of dementia several decades before the first symptoms appear. But these changes could only be identified through expensive imaging procedures. Now they have developed a non-invasive blood test that shows promise of being accurate in diagnosing early onset Alzheimer’s disease. More research will be done on a bigger group of participants over a period of three to five years.
- A study conducted in the United Kingdom suggests that medications used to treat Type 2 Diabetes might be able to reverse Alzheimer’s disease and restore cognitive function. Previous studies seemed to indicate that insulin could protect the brain and repair damaged neurons. This study using mice found that daily injections of two different drugs used to treat diabetes over a 10 week period decreased amyloid plaque in participants’ brains. The result was restored memories and an improvement in ability to recognize objects.
- Personality type may influence whether or not a person develops Alzheimer’s disease. A study published in Neurology conducted on 800 women seemed to show that women who worry too much, have poor coping skills and experience mood swings in mid-life are at higher risk for Alzheimer’s disease.
- A study published online last month in the Journal of Molecular Neurodegeneration shows that the protein tau, not plaques, might really be the main cause of Alzheimer’s disease. A malfunctioning tau might be what causes neuron death and no plaques as previously believed.