Critter Corner: Alzheimer’s Breakthroughs in 2018

Dear Bebe,

I have read so many stories about Alzheimer’s “breakthroughs” this year. What are some of the most promising ones?


Bray Kathrews

Dear Bray,

Despite millions of dollars and years of research, there is still no cure for Alzheimer’s. One promising thing to note is that this past year, the National Institute of Health increased their yearly budget for Alzheimer’s research to 2.3 billion. Also on a positive note, there have been several breakthroughs, some of which researchers believe have potential.

Alzheimer’s Disease New Developments

Alzheimer’s Vaccine: A team at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center say they’ve developed an experimental vaccine that reduces two proteins found in the brain associated with Alzheimer’s Disease: beta-amyloid and tau. According to a statement released by the university, researchers hope the vaccine could delay the onset of Alzheimer’s by five years which would reduce the number of people impacted by half. Read more details here.

Blood Pressure Pills: People with high blood pressure often take ACE inhibitors to treat congestive heart failure and hypertension. An ACE inhibitor will lower blood pressure by limiting ACE activity and widening blood vessels. While the high activity of the enzyme needs to be controlled for blood pressure, scientists now think that high amounts of ACE may prevent Alzheimer’s and cognitive decline.

Alzheimer’s Diet: Harvard-trained neurologist, Dr. Richard Isaacson and Columbia alumnus, Dr. Christopher Ochner, have created an eating itinerary called “The Alzheimer’s Diet.” According to Dr. Ochner, “(t)here are foods that can exacerbate the disease and help bring it on, particular high carbohydrate, high glycemic and high sugar foods. You may not have heard this, but a lot of people are referring to Alzheimer’s as “Diabetes III” because eating sugary foods can cause insulin resistance in the brain.”

Alzheimer’s Blood Test: Two different studies have helped researchers develop blood tests that detect dementia with 90% accuracy decades before physical symptoms appear. The studies, one from Washington University in St. Louis, and the other an international research team composed of Australian and Japanese researchers, detect beta-amyloid proteins in the brain. Beta-amyloid proteins are a hallmark characteristic of the disease.

Alzheimer’s Estate Planning in Fairfax, VA, Rockville, MD, and Washington, DC

Hope there are lots more breakthroughs in the year to come, and that a cure is near!

Happy New Year,


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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.