Insight Into Alzheimer's Research

A long piece at EureAlert! is illustrative of the present state of Alzheimer's research: moving forward, optimistic, but still mostly a product of the pills and drugs old school of medicine. "Imagine the day when a routine visit to the family doctor includes a simple blood test to predict the risk for developing Alzheimer's disease (AD). If the test returns a worrisome result - too many sticky brain proteins that might begin to gum up memory and thought in 10 to 15 years - a person could be offered an aspirin-like pill to keep those proteins in check. ... we are at the threshold of developing therapies that we hope will eventually impact Alzheimer's disease. We are not slogging through a fog anymore. We can see the top of the hill for the first time ... I think Alzheimer's is going to be much easier to treat if you can prevent accumulation of [amyloid beta] in your brain, than if you try to treat it once plaques form. We know that statins don't work very well if a heart artery is 99 percent blocked, but do if they are taken earlier. The same thing would go for a drug designed to prevent Alzheimer's ... in the process, they are attempting to answer the question that has stumped the Alzheimer's research world: to what degree is [amyloid beta] responsible for the neurodegeneration seen in the disease ... That is the biggest secret in Alzheimer's disease research. We'd like to know what role it plays."


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