Health

New Medications Aim to Treat Alzheimer’s Before Symptoms Arise

Two studies look at people with high risk for developing the ailment to gauge possible prevention methods

Effective treatments for mid- to late-stage Alzheimer’s are still scarce — and researchers are increasingly seeking ways to fight the disease before its symptoms arise.

Treatment is unfortunately limited, in short, so prevention methods are coming to the forefront in what is said to be one of only a few studies looking into Alzheimer’s risk relative to genetic vulnerability and age.

The studies, titled the Generation Program, are recruiting people who possess the risk factors but at the current time have no symptoms or cognitive detriment, according to reporting in Healthline and other publications.

Banner Alzheimer’s Institute in Arizona, led by Director Pierre N. Tariot, M.D., aims to test the efficacy of two medications, in particular on APOE4 gene-carrying individuals ages 60 to 75.

Up to 10 percent of people have the APOE4 gene, a biomarker of possible future Alzheimer’s development, for which participants will undergo screening through a genetic testing recruitment program called Gene Match.

The study requires 3,400 participants who carry the gene.

About 200,000 people will have to be tested in order for researchers to find 3,400 participants who carry that gene.

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The Generation Program is looking into ways to inhibit development of a distinguished symptom of Alzheimer’s: amyloid plaques in the brain.

Of the tested medications, one will consist of an injected drug that is said to stimulate an immune system response against said plaques — while the other will make up oral antimyloid medication, said to target a certain variation of the plaque.

Related: No, President Ronald Reagan Did Not Have Alzheimer’s While in the White House

For those interested in being a part of the study, or for those who want to learn more about its status, check out the Generation Program’s website.

As for reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease without drug therapy, the Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation has articulated its “four pillars of Alzheimer’s prevention”:

  • Exercise, both physical and mental exercise
  • The practice of yoga and meditation
  • The maintenance of psychological well-being
  • Use of the Mediterranean diet and supplements

The Mediterranean diet can include the following:

  • Fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Fish
  • Whole grains
  • Olive oil
  • Nuts
  • Legumes
  • Moderate amounts of eggs, poultry, dairy, and red wine

Harvard Health says leading a healthy lifestyle is the X factor in Alzheimer’s combatants.

Smart habits such as getting a good night’s sleep, engaging in regular exercise, and eating a healthy diet should not be taken for granted in the prevention of not just Alzheimer’s disease but of disease overall.

The Generation Program is currently in the recruitment phase — one hopes a project like this will help lead to healthy living for many.

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