By Mitch Reitman, Director of Development
This week, the International Alzheimer’s Association Conference is being held in Washington, D.C. I am using this week’s blog to highlight some of the research that was presented at this conference. You can read the presentations in more depth at https://www.alz.org/aaic/.
- A researcher has identified a simple way to screen for early stages of Alzheimer’s by analyzing a patient’s saliva. Current screening options may be ineffective, unreliable, costly, and/or invasive. While more research is needed to assess the potential for this saliva test, this new assessment to detect early stages could mean that medications can be started before the disease has progressed, thus vastly improving outcomes.
- New research suggests that sleep problems could put people at risk for Alzheimer’s Disease. Poor sleep spurs toxic proteins which further interrupts sleep. The study suggests that since sleep problems are treatable, perhaps improving sleep can make a difference in protecting the brain.
- Several complementary studies were presented that found that women with mild cognitive impairment are twice more at risk to develop cognitive decline compared to men. In addition, women deteriorate faster than men in terms of brain function and size after a surgical procedure and administration of general anesthesia.
Alzheimer’s research has advanced dramatically in recent months. This, coupled with the Congress’ dramatic increase in funding for Alzheimer’s research are good news for diagnosis, treatment, and outcomes. However, many more resources must be devoted in order to prevent & effectively treat Alzheimer’s Disease by 2025. We can all be the driving force in encouraging state and federal legislators to provide the necessary funding that it will take to minimize the effects of this horrible disease on our families and communities.