Searching for an Alzheimer’s Cure
Currently, there is cure for Alzheimer’s, despite the number of people afflicted with this disease. Several treatments have been helpful in slowing and alleviating some of the symptoms, particularly confusion and anxiety, but nothing has been shown to halt the progression of the illness itself. While treatment and care for Alzheimer’s has been progressing, scientists are still at a loss for where to look to find an Alzheimer’s cure.
Research Toward a Cure
Some research has been done into nutritional and complementary medicine as a possible step toward an Alzheimer’s cure. The antioxidant Vitamins C and E, as well as the Omega 3 fats present in fish oils, have been shown to improve cognitive functions and to slow the progression of the disease. In addition, research is being done regarding the usefulness of the herb gingko biloba in treating, preventing, or curing Alzheimer’s disease.
Research is also being conducted towards creating an Alzheimer’s vaccine. Unlike other vaccines, which are given prior to the contraction of a disease, the Alzheimer’s vaccine would be given to people who have already been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Its function would be to train the body to attack the compounds that lead to brain problems. Recent trials of this vaccine were stopped, however, when several of the participants had severe side effects, including swelling of the brain.
Other promising areas of research towards an Alzheimer’s cure lies with the cholesterol reducing drugs known as Statins. They have been shown in several observational studies to have positive effects on cognitive functioning, but this has not yet been proven through experimental research. Similarly NSAIDs, such as acetaminophen and aspirin, have been shown to have some effect but more research is required.
One treatment that was thought to provide relief has, unfortunately, recently been refuted. The Women’s Health Initiative, one of the largest longitudinal health studies ever done, showed that Hormone Replacement Therapy does not have a positive effect on reducing the incidence or severity of Alzheimer’s.
Prevention is the Best Option.
Right now, while there is still no Alzheimer’s cure, there are more and more positive research studies being done on Alzheimer’s prevention and risk reduction. Particularly for those with a family history or other risk factors for the disease, it is important to stay physically active, mentally alert, and socially involved. In addition, research is showing that the lifestyle factors commonly cited as preventing heart disease, such as reduction in fat intake and overall cholesterol, may also help to prevent Alzheimer’s. Until an Alzheimer’s cure is found, prevention and overall health maintenance remain the best measures to take for most people.