Progress in the race to treat and prevent Alzheimer’s

Posted on the 8th March 2021

Race Against Dementia’s Scientific Advisor Prof Philip Scheltens is lead author on an important new overview article published in the latest edition of the leading scientific journal, The Lancet.

Working with fellow Amsterdam and international researchers, the authors describe the most important developments in the field of Alzheimer’s disease since their earlier article from 2016.

Alzheimer’s disease is the leading cause of dementia, and is one of the most expensive, deadliest and most damaging diseases of this century.The most recent data show that by 2050 the prevalence of dementia in Europe will have doubled and even tripled worldwide.

Although we do not yet have a cure for Alzheimer’s, significant progress has been made in the past five years.  Key points made in the paper are these:

  • Scientists have a much better understanding of the underlying pathology of the disease. They can now map causative and protective genes, and are able to measure pathology during life.
  • By establishing new biomarkers using imaging, cerebrospinal fluid and even in blood, the disease can be reliably diagnosed at an early stage. This also allows patients to participate in studies with new drugs and other interventions earlier.
  • Lifestyle prevention studies suggest cognitive benefits of factors such as balanced nutrition, physical exercise, cognitive training and social activities, for participants at increased risk of dementia.
  • Several promising pharmacological treatments are in the advanced stage of clinical research. These are aimed at removing the Alzheimer’s proteins as well as anti-inflammatory strategies.

All these developments point to a future in which tailor-made multimodal treatment for Alzheimer’s will be possible.

The full paper is available in The Lancet here.

A summary by the AlzheimerCentrum in Amsterdam can be found here.

Image credit Alzheimercentrum Amsterdam

Read more posts...