Have Scientists Found a Breakthrough to Reverse Alzheimer’s?

Have Scientists Found a Way to Reverse Alzheimer’s?

Alzheimer’s is a devastating disease. Afflicting at least 6 million people in the United States alone and millions more across the world, this form of dementia steals away memories, one at a time. Those who have it usually recognize what is happening at some point, and they live with the desperation of knowing that things are only going to progress and get worse. And as that happens, those around them are faced with what’s known as the “long goodbye;” there are no words to describe how incredibly difficult it can be to watch someone you love fade away.

By the time you are 45 years old, your risk of Alzheimer’s is already significant. The odds are that 1 in 5 women and 1 in 10 men will develop the disease. And of those who have it, one-third will die from it. Alzheimer’s kills more people than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined.1

Is it any wonder that the search for a cure or even a treatment for Alzheimer’s is a top priority for scientists and doctors all over the world?

Fortunately, scientists have recently found a few things that they might be able to target in their pursuit of a treatment or cure. Some of those things include the enzymes that show up in the brain of a person who has Alzheimer’s. Neuroscientists working with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have discovered what might be an enormous breakthrough in Alzheimer’s reversal.2

What MIT Discovered while Researching Alzheimer's

Much of the research into serious diseases for humans begins with testing on mice. A study at MIT focused on a particular enzyme, known as CDK5. They targeted this particular enzyme because it has been found to be overactive in patients who have Alzheimer’s. Specifically, this enzyme plays a very important role in the development and function of the central nervous system, but when it is overactive, it creates significant damage in the brain.

By blocking this enzyme in mice with peptides, the scientists were able to create significant reductions in the DNA damage that the enzyme causes.

In fact, the change was so dramatic that mice that were unable to perform certain tasks before the introduction of the peptide were later able to complete those same tasks, like moving through a water maze. The tasks took significant brainpower to complete and suggest that this treatment might work well not only for those who are trying to prevent Alzheimer’s, but also for those who already have it.

According to Li-Huei Tsai, the senior author of the study, this wasn’t just a minor improvement. “We saw wonderful effects in terms of reducing neurodegeneration and neuroinflammatory responses, and even rescuing behavior deficits.”

These amazing results of the peptide could mean even more than a potential treatment for Alzheimer’s disease, as the enzyme it blocks is also associated with Parkinson’s, frontotemporal dementia, cognitive impairment linked to diabetes, and a certain type of dementia that occurs in patients with HIV. If this treatment is found to work for humans with Alzheimer’s, it could very well work for those with other conditions as well.

The study was recently published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Why Peptides Matter for those with Alzheimer’s

Your body naturally creates peptides, and scientists have found ways to mimic them to produce certain responses in the body. Currently, peptide therapies are used to create medications that treat diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and more. According to WebMD, there are currently over 100 medications available in the United States today that use peptides to treat a variety of issues.3

The key is to figure out what peptides interact with certain enzymes. While this research has been promising for conditions like diabetes, scientists haven’t yet found a peptide that works well to combat Alzheimer’s – until now. Because peptides work so well for other conditions, there is great hope that they will work for many different types of dementia as well.

When Will This Potential Treatment Become Available?

Creating a medication for any condition is a slow-going process. It starts with a discovery and development phase, which is the stage where this potential treatment is at right now. This phase often involves working with laboratory mice to determine how a certain drug or treatment might work in humans.

The preclinical phase will come next. This is when the treatment goes through rigorous testing, including animal testing, to determine potential dosages and toxicity levels. At the end of this phase, assuming all goes well, the treatment will enter the clinical trial phase. That’s when humans enter a treatment study and agree to test the drug. If the majority of the individuals in the study show improvement in their conditions, the drug then becomes a promising candidate for FDA review and approval.4

A typical drug takes up to 12 years for approval by the FDA, from the research phase to the final approval that actually puts the drug on pharmacy shelves.5 So while this is a very promising treatment for those with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, it likely won’t be available anytime soon.

Staying Safe while the Search for a Cure Continues

Did you know that those with any type of dementia are much more likely to fall victim to home safety hazards? That means that family caregivers need to pay extra attention to keeping their loved one safe and secure, especially if they have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or dementia. The Alzheimer’s Association reports that those with the disease can be at greater risk due to:

·        Getting lost easily, even on their own street

·        Becoming easily confused or fearful

·        Forgetting how to use household appliances

·        Developing trouble with balance

·        Suffering from changes in vision and hearing

All of these problems can lead to serious injury, inside and outside the home. That’s why it’s so important to begin making the home as safe as possible as a person gets older, well before the first signs of dementia might show up.

Medical alert technology is a wonderful way to keep an elderly person as safe as possible. Medical alert systems with fall detection are an even better option, because these particular fall alarms for seniors contain fall sensors that will automatically alert a monitoring center as soon as they detect that a fall has occurred. This means that a person who is confused, dazed, or even fearful of what is happening to them won’t have to remember to press the panic button – the medical alarm eliminates that worry and simply gets the ball rolling to get help.

In addition to medical alert devices, there are other tools you can view as a helping hand for someone who has dementia or other ailments that affect their memory. For instance, a medication reminder, organizer, and dispenser can help them keep track of the medications they should take to be as healthy as possible. Carbon monoxide detectors and monitored smoke detectors can also help provide peace of mind. Products that assist them in moving around their home safely to prevent falls, such as canes and walkers, are a great option.

Alzheimer’s can steal many things from your family. Don’t let it steal your peace of mind that the person you love will remain safe and secure, no matter how serious their condition becomes. While scientists are looking for a cure, look to Alert1 Medical Alert Systems as your safety net against the serious consequences of falls and other injuries.