There is new hope in the fight against Alzheimer’s this week, as Japanese scientists announce they have developed brain imaging techniques that can detect the build-up of a protein linked to Alzheimer’s.
This could lead to earlier diagnosis and help in the testing of new drugs.
Because Alzheimer’s starts to kill the brain long before symptoms become apparent, diagnosis is not currently possible until the disease is quite far advanced.
But with these new imaging techniques, earlier diagnosis should be possible, allowing treatment to commence sooner. It will also mean scientists will be able to assess the effectiveness of drug intervention at a much earlier stage.
The protein is called Tau and it is believed that in Alzheimer’s patients tangles of Tau are responsible for killing brain cells.
Dementia, of which Alzheimer’s is the most common form, is one of the biggest global health challenges we are currently facing.
Worldwide, someone is diagnosed with dementia every four seconds and it costs more than US$650billion a year. There are some 35.6 million people living with dementia and with the world’s population ageing, the problem is set to get worse. The World Health Organisation estimates that cases of dementia will almost double every 20 years, reaching an estimated 65.7 million in 2030, and 115.4 million in 2050.
The sheer scale of the problem is hard to grasp. But on a personal level, the growth in dementia is sadly all too apparent, with few of us not touched in some way by the disease.
Dementia not only devastates sufferers but also poses serious challenges for family members and friends trying to care for loved ones.
If you are caring for someone with dementia and live in the Torrevieja area, the Association of Friends and Relatives of Alzheimer’s Sufferers in Torrevieja (AFA Torrevieja), may be able to give you some help or support.
They can be contacted on 966702500 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
AFA is a charity so does need support. If you are planning any fundraising activities then do consider this important organisation.
Find out more about them at www.afatorrevieja.es