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Maria Shriver Advocates for Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s disease is in the spotlight with a new celebrity, Maria Shriver, who has come forward to advocate for disease sufferers including their families. She personalizes the symptoms of all Alzheimer’s sufferers when in a heartfelt story she describes how her father hears the soothing sounds of water while she knows them to be traffic noise. Shriver has learned not to argue and upset her father, so she tells him that she hears the tranquility too. While her father no longer knows her name, she reminds the audience that she still has a father.

The latest research at the Alzheimer’s Research Center which is also being tested in Germany is focused on drug delivery. Because of the blood/brain barrier, other methods of drug delivery are being analyzed. For example, what caught my attention was the research about an insulin nasal spray. Since research claims that decreased action of insulin levels in the brain affect memory loss and seem to be responsible for Alzheimer’s disease, an intra-insulin nasal spray has been developed to deliver insulin directly to the brain via the olfactory system instead of the bloodstream. This eliminates the side effects insulin in the bloodstream would cause. Apparently in the early stages of cognitive impairment, the spray improves memory, mood and function. Research is currently investigating the long term benefits.

Also, on the research horizon is testing a drug called, CNI-1493, an anti-inflammatory to prevent the amyloid -beta proteins from sticking together thus preventing brain lesions and permanent nerve cell damage which occurs in Alzheimer’s. CNI-1493 is being tested on mice in a collaborative study both here and in Germany, and so far so good. Currently, the drug is being evaluated for dealing with Alzheimer’s in a lab culture as well as in mice. The goal is to protect nerve cells from destruction and CNI -1493 seems to be fast and effective in decreasing brain inflammation and improving memory and cognition. Next step is testing the drug in humans.

Perhaps, still another approach to treatment could prove to be the most effective and that is combination therapy. Since Alzheimer’s is a complex disease where both amyloid and tau tangles are implicated, therefore targeting one aspect without the other has to date proven insufficient. Coming up with a fusion therapy, like so many other disease treatments, might make the most sense.

Meanwhile, Alzheimer’s continues to be a high profile disease with numbers exponentially increasing world-wide. This should not be discouraging news. The fact is the financial burden would be enormous. Therefore a cure will be an important worldwide investment in health. Let’s bring on the celebrities!

For more information on caregiving read my book, Changing Habits: The Caregivers' Total Workout. To listen to archived radio shows with guest experts visit Turn On Your Inner Light Radio Show



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