A guest blog for World Alzheimer’s Day 2017 by Christian Elliott, Founder of My Brain Test.
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, a general term for memory loss and loss of
other cognitive abilities serious enough to interfere with daily life. Alzheimer’s disease accounts for over
50% of all dementia cases. Mixed dementia, such as Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia, is also a very
common but under-reported condition.
Globally, nearly 50 million people are living with dementia today, and this number is expected to rise to
100 million people by 2040, according to Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI). Close to 9 Million new
cases of dementia will be diagnosed this year.
The last drug approved for treating symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease was in 2002. Since then, the
pharmaceutical industry has invested billions of dollars in clinical trials to test new compounds that
could slow down or stop the disease progression. Yet all have failed.
A New View on Alzheimer’s: A growing collection of recent research indicates that Alzheimer’s isn’t a
single disease. It’s a broad neurodegenerative condition that includes damage to the micro-vascular
network that supplies blood and nutrients to the brain. Cerebrovascular disease (CVD) is almost always
present with Alzheimer’s disease. None of the past Alzheimer’s clinical trials addressed CVD.
A decade or more from now, we will probably see a multiple therapy approach that takes into account a
person’s genetic risks, vascular health risks, environmental risks, along with biomarkers that screen for a
range of disease sub-types so that treatment can be personalised for every Alzheimer’s patient.
Know these typical signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease:
– Frequently forget appointments and important events
– Becomes confused & disoriented in new, unfamiliar places
– Asks the same question, repeats the same story several times (in the same day)
– Difficulty with engaging and understanding conversations (excepting hearing loss)
– Marked personality changes: withdrawal from social activities/hobbies, signs of depression
Readers can use the free Memory Loss Checklist available on the HealthUnlocked Memory Health:
Alzheimer’s Support Community.