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Critter Corner: It’s World Alzheimer’s Month — Optimistic Findings from 2023

kiwi mangoDear Kiwi and Mango,

I read that September is World Alzheimer’s Month. Is there any good news that can help me to be more optimistic about preventing dementia or a cure being on the horizon? Thanks so much!

Opta Mystic

 

Dear Opta, 

World Alzheimer’s Month is an international campaign that aims to raise awareness and challenge the stigma that surrounds dementia. World Alzheimer’s Month was launched in 2012 by Alzheimer’s Disease International, and it is celebrated for the entire month of September. World Alzheimer’s Day is on September 21 every year. 

During World Alzheimer’s Month, people from all over the world support those who are living with or affected by Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia. They also learn about the risk factors and prevention strategies for dementia, as well as the latest research and developments in the field. These are some of the highlights from 2023: 

  • Scientific studies estimate that only about 20 percent of people with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) will develop dementia in the next two years.  
  • Lecanemab is a new drug to help with the symptoms of cognitive impairment, and it’s now covered by Medicare.  A clinical trial showed that lecanemab, which targets amyloid beta plaques, can slow down the cognitive decline in people with early Alzheimer’s disease. This is the first time that a drug has demonstrated a clear clinical benefit and a disease-modifying effect in Alzheimer’s.  
  • Another clinical trial reported similar results with a different drug, donanemab, which also binds to and removes amyloid beta plaques from the brain.  
  • The Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC) 2023 presented new research on various aspects of Alzheimer’s and dementia, such as diagnosis, prevention, treatment, risk factors, and care. Some of the topics covered at the conference were the role of inflammation, genetics, lifestyle, biomarkers, and digital technologies in Alzheimer’s and dementia. Developments presented at the conference suggest that we are entering a new era of Alzheimer’s treatment and research, where we have more tools and insights to understand and combat this devastating disease. 
  • A clinical trial to test gene therapy for Alzheimer’s and mild cognitive impairment was launched recently.  
  • The first blood test for a biomarker of Alzheimer’s is now validated in clinical trials. 
  • Study results that suggest a specific hormone may be key to sex differences in Alzheimer’s. 
  • With certain lifestyle changes, a significant percentage of people with MCI can improve and even stabilize symptoms, so that their condition does not progress to dementia. Some of these changes can include eating a brain-healthy diet; doing regular exercise and physical activities; reducing stress; sleeping better; addressing any hearing or vision issues; expanding social interactions; and learning how to stay sharp by challenging your brain (crosswords, chess, etc.). 

Read more here in the latest NIH Dementia Progress Report. You can also find more information on dementia research and clinical trials here 

We are keeping our feathers crossed for a cure for Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia soon! 

Kiwi and Mango 

 

 

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About Renee Eder

Renee Eder is the Director of Public Relations for the Farr Law Firm, and gives the voice to the Critters of Critter Corner. Renee’s poodle, Penny, is an official comfort dog who she and her children bring to visit with seniors who are in the early stages of dementia at a local senior home once a month.

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