Alzheimer’s Disease Resource Center, Inc. Celebrates Latest Breakthroughs in Medical Research
BAY SHORE, NY — Mary Ann Malack-Ragona Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer, Alzheimer’s Disease Resource Center, Inc. (ADRC) says she is glad to see the latest breakthroughs in Alzheimer’s disease research that have been announced in recent weeks. With the discovery of a possible link between insulin resistance and memory loss, the unveiling of a test for early Alzheimer’s detection that may soon become easily available and the development of a drug (still in early testing) that can slow the disease’s progress, Ms. Malack-Ragona says the possibility of finding a cure for Alzheimer’s disease looks promising.
According to a recently released study, by examining saliva samples for specific biomarkers common in Alzheimer’s patients, doctors may now be able to detect the disease at an earlier stage in its progression. Though still in its infancy, this minimally invasive and cost-efficient test could provide doctors with the best possible means of determining treatment options for patients.
Another recent development that could lead to early Alzheimer’s detection is the discovery of a potential link between insulin resistance and an increased risk for the degenerative disease. According to the Journal of American Medical Association Neurology, depriving the brain of sugar can limit its normal cognitive behaviors, resulting in memory loss and causing the brain to have difficulty transmitting information properly. Most strongly associated to those with high levels of insulin resistance, such as people who are obese, pre-diabetic or have Type 2 diabetes, the connection is found in areas of the brain most susceptible to Alzheimer’s. Though research is still being done on this possible link, people with mild-to-moderate insulin resistance are already being cautioned to maintain a healthy lifestyle of balanced nutrition and moderate exercise to lessen the risk of developing Alzheimer’s.
Early medical trials indicate that Solanezumab (Sola), developed by the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, could become a potential solution for doctors treating Alzheimer’s patients. An antibody that attacks the deformed protein that builds up in the brain during Alzheimer’s, Sola shows promise in slowing the pace of memory loss for patients in the early stages of the disease. In the initial Sola study, Alzheimer’s patients who had been taking the drug for three and a half years performed better in memory and functioning tests, declining roughly 34 percent slower than those taking the placebo. Those who took the medication for three years, compared to those who had taken it for two years, showed higher scores of cognitive function. While some scientists are skeptical as to whether the drug has significant advantages, everyone in the Alzheimer’s research industry is excited by its possibilities.
“These breakthroughs in Alzheimer’s research are excellent steps towards a future free of Alzheimer’s,” says Ms. Malack-Ragona. “The more we understand in terms of prevention, detection and treatment of the disease, the more proficient we will be in combating its debilitating effects. While they all mark a significant breakthrough for the disease, we cannot stop looking for new discovery and management options that may one day eradicate Alzheimer’s.”
Every 67 seconds, someone in the U.S. develops Alzheimer’s disease. It is estimated that over 5.3 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease, 60,000 of which live here on Long Island. The social, economic and emotional impact the disease can have on individuals and their families can be devastating.
ADRC is an organization committed to supporting research that may lead to a cure for Alzheimer’s disease, to provide care, support and education programs for families in need, and to be advocates for local families who are coping with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.
For additional information on ADRC, please contact Mary Ann Malack-Ragona, Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer, at (631) 820-8068 or visit www.adrcinc.org.
Alzheimer’s Disease Resource Center, Inc. — which is headquartered in Bay Shore and has a satellite office in Southampton — is the only local Alzheimer’s Disease advocacy and educational facility whose mission is to fund local research and provide hands-on support and services to families on Long Island and the New York metropolitan area. ADRC works with family members, health care professionals and researchers to ensure quality health care and support to those impacted by Alzheimer’s disease through care and consultation, information and referral, training, support groups, and caregiver safety products.