The numbers around Alzheimer’s are startling. The disease is the 6th leading killer in the United States, claiming more victims each year than prostate cancer and breast cancer combined. (According to the National Institute on Aging, the disorder may in fact be the No. 3 cause of death for older people in the United States, just behind heart disease and cancer.) More than 16 million Americans, usually family members, provide unpaid care for people with Alzheimer’s or other dementias; they provide an estimated 18.4 billion care hours, valued at more than $232 billion, per year.
Promising new research that suggests a potential solution may be closer. Researchers in Great Britain and Sweden have found a new way to target the toxic particles that destroy healthy brain cells. Recently, new research suggests risk and progression of Alzheimer’s varies by race. Combine this with other recent news—a study that associates air pollution in Mexico City with Alzheimer’s and findings that abnormal RNA splicing has been linked to Alzheimer’s—and you have more clues about what possibly causes this complex disease.
Now, given that BLH works closely with medical researchers, we fully understand these are only a couple of studies, and they’re not definitive. Unfortunately, there is no cure. However, research does bring great potential for a future treatments and therapies. There is a lot more research that needs to be done, data to analyze, and information to disseminate. It is the possibility and potential of research that drives our passion. BLH looks forward to the day when we can defeat Alzheimer’s disease and its related dementias.