Alzheimer research is important to continue to explore options for treatment protocols as well as potentially implicate causative factors that will lead to better preventative measures and early diagnosis. Alzheimer’s is a degenerative disease that has significant impact on the lives of those it touches not only the patients but also their friends and relatives.
Research has currently uncovered a link between cholesterol levels and an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Unfortunately there is disagreement about whether the levels are too high or too low when they cause this increased risk. Based on the research it may be that both.
Other research has found that the use of 3-hydroxy-3-methyglutaryl coenzyme A reductase inhibitors, or statin drugs, have decreased the risk of developing Alzheimer’s. In a study by researchers from Texas and published in 2003 in the Archives of Neurology they theorized that byproducts from cholesterol caused the damage to the brain that initiated the development of Alzheimer’s. In their study they showed that two statin drugs were more effective in decreasing those byproducts than niacin.
People currently suffering from Alzheimers in most of the different stages may be eligible to participate in clinical trials testing the efficacy and effectiveness of new medications or medications that are commonly used in other diseases. For instance, there has been some research to suggest that the use of insulin delivered intranasally has the potential to treat brain diseases and injuries because of the growth factor. The intranasal delivery of nerve growth factor from insulin is currently being tested in animals.
Another investigational drug studied in patients with mild Alzheimers disease is a selective amyloid lowering agent that decreases the level of the toxic peptide beta 42. A phase 2 follow up study has shown this drug, Flurizan, has continued to demonstrate increasing benefits in memory and cognition 21 months after treatment began.
Research studies currently being done at Stanford University are investigating psychosocial factors involved in the disease, exercise in the treatment of Alzheimers, sexuality and sleep disorders. Mayo clinic has clinical studies ongoing also that relate to the amyloid plaques and family studies.
Most large universities have clinical trials ongoing to investigate the issues and problems associated with the disease. These studies are the backbone of treatment protocols that continue to be evaluated and developed.
Alzheimer research is focused not only on the causes and treatments but also the psychological effects and stressors placed on the patient and their families. Research has proven that with support families are able to keep their loved ones home for longer periods of time which decreases the cost of care as well as have a decreased risk of deep depression related to the stress of caring for their loved one.
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