scientists researching alzheimer's cure

Alzheimer’s Research Delivers Results

Alzheimer’s disease raises a host of uncertainties. First, the early signs of cognitive decline can be hard to pin down. Even when it’s obvious that dementia is present, the cause is not always clear. And the greatest uncertainty can be about the future: How quickly will the dementia progress? How will it affect our lives? How will we and the people we love manage?

 

But on the other hand, these are exciting times of discovery and promise. There’s new hope that the formerly invasive tests used to diagnose Alzheimer’s—and to distinguish it from other causes of dementia—will be replaced within a few years by a simple blood test. Even more surprising, this blood test might be able to predict the eventual onset of Alzheimer’s in people who currently have no symptoms.

Why do I describe these discoveries as hopeful? After all, many of us might wonder if knowing too much about the future is actually a good thing. But there are several reasons why these new advances bring hope.

First of all, being able to quickly and easily diagnose Alzheimer’s, and especially to screen for those who are likely to develop the disease, is a great boon to scientific research. The blood test has the capacity to greatly increase the efficacy of clinical trials of different treatments by targeting the affected population so much more precisely. Research will be able to move forward by leaps and bounds once it can focus on those who have not yet even developed symptoms. 

Second, when effective Alzheimer’s treatment options become available—and we are on the verge of many—early diagnosis will be key. Alzheimer’s disease is caused by a build-up of toxic deposits in the brain. How much more effective a treatment would be while the build-ups are just starting than after the build-ups are advanced!

When effective treatments become available — early diagnosis will be key.

And third, while there is not yet a cure for Alzheimer’s disease, there is good reason to invest hope in the efficacy of some wonderfully noninvasive, preventative treatments. New evidence for the potency of lights that flicker at 40 hertz for clearing away the brain’s toxic build-ups is appearing all the time. Within a couple of years, research has advanced from observing the effect of the lights on mice to explaining how they work:  scientists are already exploring the mechanism behind how the lights signal the brain to recruit special immune cells to work on the toxic proteins.

The best thing about these lights is how unobtrusive they are. There are no side effects to worry about, and they fit into the background of your life. Along with universally recommended ways of lowering your risk for Alzheimer’s disease—like exercise, a healthy diet, and exercise for your brain— Alzheimer’s light therapy is an excellent way to benefit from current and future research.

The sciences of diagnosis and treatment go hand in hand. The better—and earlier—we understand this disease, the more effective treatments we can discover. This new research, which is racing toward both understanding the disease and curing it, is a beacon of hope for everyone whose lives are touched by Alzheimer’s.