Loading ...

Alzheimer's & Brain Awareness Month

Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) affects approximately 24 million people worldwide, with 1 in 10 individuals over the age of 65 being affected. AD is a brain condition characterized by an abnormal build-up of proteins in the brain, leading to the death of brain cells. This process is gradual and progressive, spreading from one area of the brain to another, resulting in AD symptoms.

Researchers are not certain about the exact cause of protein build-up in the brain but believe a combination of genetics, lifestyle and environment can contribute. Although the experience of AD varies from person to person, there are three general stages: mild, moderate and severe. Individuals progress through these stages at different rates, but the common factor is the continual worsening of symptoms over time. The symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease may take years to become apparent, sometimes beginning ten years or more before any noticeable changes occur.

Despite having similar symptoms, dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease are not the same thing. Dementia is defined as a significant decline in mental function from a previously higher level, severe enough to interfere with daily activities. While Alzheimer’s is a specific brain condition, dementia is a general term that encompasses a decline in mental function due to a disease or infection that affects part of the brain associated with learning, memory, decision-making or language. AD is the most common cause of dementia, accounting for at least two-thirds of dementia cases in individuals aged 65 and older.

At the beginning of 2023, the United States FDA approved a new Alzheimer’s treatment called Lecanemab. This intravenous infusion therapy is shown to help slow down the cognitive and functional decline observed in the early stages of Alzheimer’s after 18 months of bi-weekly treatments by 20-30%.

This treatment has been encouraged for individuals in the early stages of Alzheimer’s who have confirmed elevated protein levels. Although this is not a cure, it represents a significant advancement toward a more hopeful future, marking the first time in two decades that the FDA has fully approved an Alzheimer’s drug.

Speak with your physician if you have questions about Alzheimer’s or want to find out more about current treatments.