Dementia is a looming public health crisis. According to the World Health Organization, there are currently some 50 million people suffering from the disease world wide. And if left unchecked, that number could swell to more than 131 million by 2050. Unfortunately, researchers have made little progress finding a cause for dementia or developing effective treatments. With no cure in sight, people at risk for the disease and those who are already suffering have little in the way of hope. But according to a recent study published in the journal Alzheimer’s Research and Therapy, a new vaccine has shown promising results in preventing the brain changes associated with Alzheimer’s Disease, the most common type of dementia.
which accounts for 60 – 70% of all dementia cases.
A Hallmark of Alzheimer’s Disease
While dementia is a broad term which describes symptoms of cognitive decline impacting memory, the performance of daily activities, and communication, Alzheimer’s Disease is a specific form of dementia with its own unique signifiers. The most telling of which are amyloid deposits and tau tangles, the abnormal protein deposits found in the brains of Alzhiemer’s sufferers. Researchers believe these proteins prevent brain signals and nutrients from moving between cells, ultimately causing the brain to malfunction and wither. It’s also believed these deposits and tangles are responsible for the memory loss and spatial-awareness problems that plague most people with the disease.
While scientists still don’t know the precise cause of Alzheimer’s Disease, they’ve focused much of their research on these unusual protein deposits in the hopes of making some kind of breakthrough. This is where the new vaccine research comes into play.
New Research Offers Hope
Researchers working at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center tested a new Alzheimer’s vaccine in mice. The results showed that this vaccine prevented the buildup of tau and amyloid proteins, which are the hallmark symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. And unlike previous vaccine efforts, this new drug was effective without causing negative side effects like brain inflammation. The vaccine works by prompting the body to produce antibodies that prevent the buildup of tau and amyloid proteins. Researchers hope that this initial success will lead to human trials.
With Alzheimer’s Disease accounting for 60-70% of all dementia cases, a safe a successful vaccine could have a huge impact on the total number of dementia cases world wide. In fact, the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center researchers believe their vaccine — if approved — could eventually cut the number of dementia cases in half. Even in patients who have already been diagnosed, this new vaccine could serve to delay the onset of disease’s worst symptoms, which would give patients and their families more quality time. While this vaccine is still in its early phases, it does represent a major development in finding a treatment for this terrible disease and could give new hope to millions of people around the world.
About Generations Home Care
Generations Home Care offers a full range of in-home care and support services which help individuals of all ages, needs, and challenges remain safe and independent living within their own home. Services range from short-term to around-the-clock care. We offer levels of care ranging from companionship, to respite for the primary family caregiver, to homemaking services, to assistance with activities of daily living. We take a holistic approach and emphasize a consistent, client-centered plan of care.
Our Specialty Services Include:
- Rehab or hospital-to-home program (for safe discharge).
- Post-operative care (short-term care during recovery period).
- Non-medical life management services (for persons with chronic conditions).
- Veteran’s connection to care program.
- Live-in services and couples care.
If you live in Arizona, and would like to learn more about how we can help you, a loved-one, or your patients or clients, contact us today at 602-595-HOME (4663) or by filling out the contact form on our website.