In the 90s, Alzheimer’s researchers were full of optimism that they would find a cure for the disease. Genetic studies all pointed to one culprit—hard clumps of protein, called amyloid, that litter the brains of people with the disease. (Scott Small, MD, Columbia Medicine)
More than thirty years later, we’re still looking for a cure, a treatment, or even prevention. Much of the research is still focusing on amyloid and tau proteins, whose malformation are classic characteristics of Alzheimer’s disease. But other factors likely play a role, including vascular health, inflammation, lifestyle, and possibly even viral causes. (Healthline Rachel Barclay)
With the latest announcement of Biogen’s drug, there is hope and controversy. There is not much evidence that it will work on most people with Alzheimer’s; it needs to be started early in the disease and the cost is staggering. At this time, it appears the drug will only be made available to those patients in the earliest stages of the disease.
Cost is also a considerable barrier for many people. Medicare is the primary payment method for those with the disease, and the price will likely lead to further rationing of the treatment. The one bright spot that I see, this new possibility for treatment might get people diagnosed much earlier.
I’ve gathered many opinions on this topic. Understandably, there are various them, but the underlying argument is this is only the first step.
Edward Park of NeuroReserve thinks we’ll end up with a drug and lifestyle cocktail. My guests in this episode are hopeful as well.
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