New research suggests that instead of a single disease, Alzheimer’s may be a collection of diseases.
This may explain some of the variations in the disease, and if researchers are not studying the same disease, it makes sense why treatment and cure are so elusive.
Part of the testing of new medications and therapies involves a group of people with as close to identical findings as possible. And testing for the same disease. If it’s not one disease, then it’s likely the results will be different. And unless someone knows what the different diseases are, it can b extremely difficult to determine if a treatment works or not.
The following article explains the research findings.
Is Alzheimer’s a collection of diseases? By Jill Margo
New thinking on Alzheimer’s suggests it may be a collection of diseases, and the reason we are struggling to find a cure is that we are proceeding as if it were a single disease.
Researchers are suggesting each of the component diseases needs to be treated separately.
The researchers, from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, say it is essential to characterise and classify the mechanisms that underlie Alzheimer’s so targeted therapies can be devised for each disease sub-type.
After deciphering the mechanism in certain families they proposed the theory that it is a collection of diseases.
Writing in The EMBO Journal, they question why this and other non-progressive neurological diseases tend to manifest only later in life.
It may be that as people age, the efficiency of the mechanisms that protect the brains of younger people decline, exposing them to disease.
Their study shows Alzheimer’s disease can emanate from more than one mechanism, suggesting that it is actually a collection of diseases that should be classified.
They propose the failure to develop efficient Alzheimer’s therapy emanates from the pooling, in clinical experiments, of patients who suffer from distinct disorders that eventually lead to Alzheimer’s symptoms.
These findings are intriguing, and the possibility that Alzheimer’s Disease may be more than one disease is far-reaching. It could very well revolutionize the treatment and care of those living with dementia.
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To your Happy&Healthy Caregiving,
Ina Gilmore, M.D.