Alzheimer’s: many failures, hopefully in a few molecules – Healthcare

The World Health Organization (WHO) indicates them as a public health priority since they now represent the seventh cause of death in the world: neurodegenerative diseasesamong which theAlzheimer’s has the greatest weight (accounts for 60% of all forms of dementia) with 40 million people affected worldwide e 150 thousand new cases a year in Italy alone.

An epidemic in the face of which the Research is trying to sharpen its weapons but, unfortunately, the studies to date have collected various failures even if improvements have been obtained in the management of the disease. A new hope, coinciding with the World Alzheimer’s Day that is celebrated on September 21however, comes from a “handful” of molecules in experimentation on whose promising effects researchers worldwide are aiming.

Established in 1994 by the WHO, the World Day aims to raise public awareness of this serious disease, and this year brings a message of hope. Scientists are in fact cautiously optimistic about the good results demonstrated by the donanemab molecule which, in an intermediate phase study, slowed the rate of decline in cognitive and functional activity. The trial will continue with a new study involving 500 patients.

The molecule – an antibody developed to remove disease-related beta amyloid protein plaques in the brain – has in fact been shown to slow the rate of decline in cognitive and functional activity by 32% compared to placebo. And a few days ago another announcement that opens the doors to new possible therapeutic developments: the researchers of the Carlo Besta Neurological Institute in collaboration with the Mario Negri Institute of Pharmacological Research have developed a new anti-Alzheimer molecule. It is an organic compound administered intranasally in the early stages of the disease which, in the study on mice, inhibits the accumulation of beta amyloid protein, protecting neurons from its toxic effects. It also focuses on the combination of two existing drugs that have determined a new molecule, nitroMemantine, able to fight the damage caused by Alzheimer’s, restoring damaged nerve connections. The study, coordinated by the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute of the United States, is now moving towards the clinical trial phase. Furthermore, a recent study by the University of Ferrara has shown that the drugs in use today, acetylcholinesterase inhibitors (AChEI), whose effectiveness has been repeatedly questioned in the past, are actually useful in slowing the decline of cognitive functions in the time, and reduce mortality by about 40%.

The goal is to find a cure or, as a first step, to significantly slow down cognitive decline caused by the disease which, in the world and also in Italy, is taking on increasingly alarming numbers. Overall, according to research from the University of Washington, in Italy the number of people with dementia is set to increase by 56% by 2050, when there will be 2,316,951 people affected. In the world, however, the forecast is 139 million by 2050. Huge numbers that have a strong impact on families, with economic costs that are often difficult to sustain. According to a research by the Italian Association of Alzheimer’s Disease Aima and Censis in 2016, the estimated average annual cost per patient is over 70 thousand euros and most of it is borne by families. The average prognosis of Alzheimer’s disease is 12 years and the people involved in care are 3 million, mostly women.

“We need qualified people to help us. I have been assisting my mother-in-law for two years and I can’t take it anymore”, this is one of the 10,000 requests for help that come every year from caregivers to the Aima Green Line. A few words that summarize the difficulties of families and the urgency of greater social support. An initiative in this sense will be fielded by Aima on 21 September: a team of 10 psychologists will be on hand to offer free interviews to patients’ caregiversto provide advice and help.

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About Banner Leon

Videogames entered his life in the late '80s, at the time of the first meeting with Super Mario Bros, and even today they make it a permanent part, after almost 30 years. Pros and defects: he manages to finish Super Mario Bros in less than 5 minutes but he has never finished Final Fight with a credit ... he's still trying.

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