Carers are naturally always on the lookout for information about treatment. However, although there is as yet no curative treatment, there are numerous experiments underway, aimed at discovering new treatments, possible causes, protective factors and risk factors associated with Alzheimer's disease. As it is not possible to provide full details of all the research being or having been carried out, details are given below of just a few areas of research.
Aluminium can be found in tap water, antiperspirants, tea and indigestion tablets. Researchers have been studying the possible effects of aluminium in connection with Alzheimer's disease for over 30 years. However, although research is continuing, there is still no conclusive evidence for a causal link between aluminium and Alzheimer's disease.
It has been observed that Alzheimer's disease is less prevalent in people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. Such people tend to take anti-inflammatory drugs over a lengthy period of time. It is therefore suspected that these drugs might reduce the risk, delay onset and hinder development of the disease. Research is continuing.
Carers and Caring
Research has been carried out into the problems and needs of carers, e.g. the kind of support needed, difficulties encountered in providing care, problems obtaining a diagnosis and making difficult decisions, stress and depression. Such research is extremely important if the appropriate support, advice and services are to be provided for carers.
Studies have shown that women who took estrogen (a hormone) after their menopause, had a lower risk of getting Alzheimer's disease than those who did not. Another small scale study revealed that women who already had Alzheimer's disease and who took estrogen showed marked improvements in memory and attention which then diminished when it was withdrawn. Researchers are currently carrying out an in-depth, large-scale study into the effects of estrogen on Alzheimer's disease.
Researchers have investigated genetic factors, which might lead to Alzheimer's disease (either a defect, which would directly cause the disease or an abnormality, which would increase the possibility of getting the disease). Abnormalities in 4 genes on the chromosomes 1, 14, 19 and 21 have been identified and further research is underway.
Extensive research is being carried out by pharmaceutical companies into drugs, which might slow down the progression of the disease or improve symptoms such as memory loss.
Some European studies have found that in families with the inherited form of Alzheimer's disease, smoking cigarettes seems to protect them for a few years longer. However, Canadian research has indicated that heavy smokers had more than double the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease, whereas light smokers were at the same risk as non-smokers.
Last Updated: mercredi 05 août 2009