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State of Medicare News:

Dementia – Will there ever be a cure?

by SeniorInsider.com Editor | Sep 20, 2012
Part 1

Dementia is a unique medical condition that seems to stump the best of the world’s research community. According to the scientific journal The Observer, scientists are pleading for urgent action to tackle the growing dementia crisis throughout the world. It is estimated that roughly 40 million people throughout the world are affected by dementia. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, it is estimated that as many as 1 in 8 people throughout the United States are affected by this condition.

Dementia, a semi-conductor of the well-renown disease called, “Alzheimer’s”, and is triggered when a protein called amyloid beta builds up in the brain and triggers fundamental changes that eventually lead to the loss of neurons. The loss of neurons causes cognitive impairments that affect language, memory, perception, emotional behavior, and cognitive skills. Dr. Eric Karran the Director of Research for Alzheimer’s Research of United Kingdom is one scientist that has advanced public awareness of dementia from research studies. While the estimate of the number of sufferers from dementia nears 5.4 million in the United States alone, global drug companies have fail to find therapies that work despite investing hundreds of millions of dollars in research and drugs.

When scientists at Alzheimer’s Research of United Kingdom initially conducted research on the aging demographic and dementia; they concluded that 820,000 individuals are affected by dementia in the UK. Despite the prevalence of this condition, Dr. Eric Karran recently announced positive news about life longevity in the aging population, “the life expectancy of a man in the UK has risen from 72 to 78 over the past 20 years and for woman it has gone from 78 to 82, with further rises expected over the next decade”. Dr. Eric Karran stresses with caution that, “Dementia is a degenerative disease that cannot be stopped or turned back. We need to find a bio-maker, a simple, low-cost test that will reveal if a person’s neurons are beginning to die off. Then we can administer drugs that will halt the deaths of their brains cells. It would be the equivalent of a person being given a cholesterol test and then, if they have high levels, being prescribed statins to cut their cholesterol. In that way heart disease can be delayed for many years. That is the kind of thing we need for dementia.”

Although a cure remains elusive, a skilled health care provider can often diagnose dementia early on by performing both physical and neurological exams that test mental function. For more information, call your health care provider or go to www.alz.org.

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