It can be hard to not become jaded with all the medical research that gets announced. Promising therapy here. Possible treatment compound there. It can be overwhelming.
But, it means everything to the millions of patients and their families. Alzheimer’s and dementia are in the sights of scientists who are aiming for a workable cure in the next decade.
The Alzheimer’s Association in the United States, the Weston Brain Center in Canada and Alzheimer’s Research UK have formed a joint initiative to answer the call for new treatments and an eventual cure.
The new initiative comes at a crucial time. A recent report has placed dementia as the primary health concern over cancer for the first time since the study has been conducted. Over half of people over the age of 55 admit to being frightened by the prospect of suffering from dementia.
Compare that with 28 percent who fear cancer and nine percent afraid of suffering from a stroke. A new fund is being created to find a cure or a ‘disease-modifying’ treatment.
For Dr. Eric Karran, director of Alzheimer’s Research UK, the fear isn’t surprising.
“It’s no surprise people express a fear of dementia, which has a devastating impact on those whose lives it touches, and for which there is currently no cure.”
“With 830,000 people in the UK living with dementia today and that number set to rise, finding treatments for the diseases that cause it must be our number one priority.”
“These results also suggest people are more willing to talk about dementia than they were a decade ago and it’s vital these shifting attitudes are reflected in a newly galvanised effort to fight the condition through research.”
Two new drugs have researchers excited – Solanezumab and MK-8931. Both are set for clinical trials, and researchers are hopeful they hold the foundation for an eventual cure.
It isn’t just the horrors of the disease on a person that has officials worried. Dementia can start to have a real economic impact. Baby Boomers are aging by the day, and public health officials say finding disease-modifying treatments are essential.
Hopefully the new drug trials and the initiative see a payoff and soon. Plenty of families have relatives with the disease, and structurally, our healthcare systems will not be able to handle the current treatment protocols.
Sufferers of dementia and Alzheimer’s are leaning on the best and brightest for a home run in the next decade. We should be giving them the resources they need for it.