World Alzheimer’s Month: Experts discuss cause and research progress

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Every September people across the world come together to raise money for Alzheimer’s disease. About 200,000 Michiganders live with Alzheimer’s and thousands more care for someone with the disease.

Currently, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s, but experts from different universities across the state are working to get closer to finding one and they say they’re one step closer to doing just that.

Alzheimer’s disease normally affects people over the age of 65 but 5% to 6% of people develop symptoms as early as 30. But what exactly causes it?

“Plaques and tangles develop in the brain and they sort of muck up the workings of the brain,” said Dr. Bruno Giordarni, Associate Director for Michigan’s Alzheimer’s Disease Center and a professor at the University of Michigan.

He also says it takes time to show up.
“It appears that the brain needs maybe even 20 even more years to lay down this protein, misshaped protein called amyloid in the brain before this disease even appears,” he said.


With years of research, experts have learned how to reduce your risk of getting it.
“Attending to better medical care, reducing stress in our lives, sleeping better, smoking less, eating a heart-healthy diet. All of these issues, keeping our brain active, challenge your brain,” he said.

Now the new challenge is finding a cure to the disease.
“This year for the first time the FDA approved a drug which actually may affect the disease process itself. It may reduce the amount of plaques and tangles in the brain,” Dr. Giordarni.

The drug does have mixed reviews. Despite this, Dr. Giordani believes we’re heading in the right direction.
“This the first probably of a whole new age of drugs. So if you match new medication with what we already know about how we can adjust our lives to reduce the risk we now have two very powerful ways to fight this disease,” he said.

Although the entire month of September is dedicated to the disease all over the world. This Tuesday will be World Alzheimer’s Day.

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