With so much negative news throughout 2020, it’s worth reflecting on a number of the remarkable achievements the year brought – such as the many Alzheimer’s research breakthroughs. 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.”
The following are just some of the milestones attained that are leading us ever nearer to a cure:
- Identification of Alzheimer’s disease risk factors. Understanding the leading risk factors for dementia, such as pollution, excessive alcohol consumption, and traumatic brain injury (among others) is projected to reduce cases of dementia around the world up to 40%.
- Diminishing rates of dementia cases. Over the previous 30 years, dementia diagnoses in North America and Europe have declined by 13% per decade – very likely the result of lifestyle changes.
- Advancements towards earlier diagnosis. The Early Detection of Neurodegenerative diseases initiative (EDoN) has been launched, wherein digital devices are increasingly being developed to diagnose Alzheimer’s as early to 10 to 15 years before symptoms begin.
- Greater awareness of MCI. Mild cognitive impairment, or MCI, is currently being investigated more closely, making it possible for earlier strategy, diagnosis and treatment.
- Dementia blood tests. Predictors for the potential risk of Alzheimer’s disease are becoming more advanced, and in a recently available study from Sweden, scientists identified blood-based proteins that predict future memory and thinking problems.
- Review of antipsychotic prescription drugs. A recent research study conducted by the University College London reported an elevated rate for the prescription of antipsychotic drugs for all those with Alzheimer’s disease – likely linked to the increased need for delirium management along with anxiety and agitation from COVID-19 restrictions. These medications are only recommended when no alternative is available, and decreasing their use is now being explored further.
- Artificial intelligence. At a faster pace and lower cost, an innovative new AI solution is equipped to identify the formation of proteins within the brain, helping researchers design treatments that can help remove these proteins.
- The Food And Drug Administration accepted this promising therapeutic in 2020 for a priority review process, meaning that sometime at the start of 2021, we should find out if it is approved for use in the general population.
At Home Sweet Home In-Home Care, we are focused on following the current research on dementia, and also on offering the cutting-edge, highly skilled care that can help people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease live to their fullest potential. Whether the need is for full-time care, or simply a couple of hours every week for trusted respite services, give us a call at (269) 373-5444 in Kalamazoo, (269) 763-5350 in Paw Paw, (269) 849-9252 in St. Joseph, and (269) 963-9888 in Battle Creek for an in-home consultation for more information, or explore our service area for home care in Marshall and other Michigan communities. For a full list of the communities we serve, please visit our Location page.