Answers to Common Alzheimer’s Disease Questions

Premier Health providers answer frequently asked questions about Alzheimer’s disease and how to live with and manage the condition.

Will new treatments for Alzheimer’s disease be available in the future?

Dr. Larry Lawhorne discusses new treatment for Alzheimer’s that may be available in the future. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

 

Almost all of the research being done on treatment right now focuses on amyloid. Amyloid is a glob of cell debris that starts to gum things up in the brain, making it hard for nerve cells to communicate with each other. We know from the early days of Alzheimer's disease that these amyloid plaques, as they’re called, are very prominent in people with Alzheimer's disease. The idea is that if you can make the plaques go away, then a person would do better.

When you get right down to it, what we want to do is keep those plaques from forming in the first place. We’ve got to figure out what causes those plaques to form. 

Some experts say the cholinesterase inhibitors don’t work well because we give them way too late. Studies now underway are looking at people with very positive family histories for Alzheimer’s and doing sophisticated blood and spinal fluid tests and PET scans to see how much risk they have for Alzheimer’s and then starting those medications long before they get symptoms of memory loss. It will be interesting to see about that.

    Source: Larry Lawhorne, MD, Wright State Physicians; National Institute on Aging, Alzheimer’s Association