Dementia is the most common mental illness on the planet. It affects more than 5 million people in the United States alone and more than 35 million individuals worldwide. Statistics taken from the Alzheimer’s Disease International estimate that these numbers are expected to triple by the year 2050 as the global population ages. With this in mind, the need for effective Alzheimer’s drugs as well as other treatment options is massive and growing.
Research on Alzheimer’s and the effectiveness of various clinical trial medications has revealed that a cure that can help reverse the progress of this debilitating medical condition may be hard to come by. This is partly due to the fact that the exact cause for Alzheimer’s is not completely understood. However, research also shows that while current drugs have failed to halt the progression of the disease in late stage Alzheimer’s patients, that some new Alzheimer’s drugs may actually help slow progression and development of cognitive symptoms if such drugs are administered earlier in the development of the illness.
Many Alzheimer’s drugs that have come on the market have been developed to help treat the symptoms of cognitive decline. Most aim to block the production of amyloid deposits and are commonly known as anti-amyloids. Research on Alzheimer’s has revealed that amyloid deposits are present in plaque buildup in the brain of an Alzheimer’s patient. These deposits are believed to be a primary cause of cognitive function decline. While it is unclear whether these deposits are a by-product of dementia or the actual cause of the condition, it is quite clear that Alzheimer’s drugs need to target the development and buildup of such deposits. As such, it has led to the development of a number of anti-amyloids.
Previous clinical trials that focused on administering anti-amyloids to Alzheimer’s patients who have suffered significant cognitive decline were largely unsuccessful in halting the progression of the illness. However, from the same research, data indicates that early stage Alzheimer’s patients who were on anti-amyloids had decreased cognitive decline. In such cases, data indicates that anti-amyloids were successful in decreasing cognitive decline in such patients by up to 34%.
Despite numerous setbacks in the development of an effective treatment, there are around 80 potential treatments in development. For instance, a research team in Switzerland has found new compounds that work in sync to fight the illness without causing any harmful side effects. The research team states that through these compounds, they can start tailoring treatments that can eliminate the toxic plaque clumps that cause common cognitive symptoms. This was achieved by doing studies concerning how gamma secretase enzymes trigger neuron destruction in the brain. By understanding how the enzyme works, new treatments can now be developed that work by modulating rather than inhibiting the enzyme. This enables the development of effective Azheimer’s drugs that do not have any unwanted side-effects.
Be sure and check out some of our other articles concerning Alzheimer’s warning signs and Alzheimer’s in general.