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Dementia: Is reversing early-stage Alzheimer’s possible? New study looks at prospect

Steve Thompson recalls signs of his early-onset dementia

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One of those treatments has been seen in a small-scale clinical trial in the United States.

In this trial they found an association between improvements in a patient’s metabolic factors and improvement of their cognition.

Decline in cognition is one of the earliest signs of dementia.

During their study they were able to briefly treat certain elements of cognitive decline.

While this sounds ground-breaking, one of the authors behind the study Dr Allan Levey cautioned: “What they didn’t do is reverse Alzheimer’s disease.”

However, Dr Levey added it was important to say one couldn’t study Alzheimer’s without studying depression, ageing, stroke, and other neurodegenerative diseases.

Dementia doesn’t just happen; there are several factors which lead up to the onset of the disease.

As well as ageing, there are other factors which can increase the risk of dementia.

These are:
• Gender
• Sex
• Ethnicity
• Amount of “cognitive reserve”
• Other health conditions
• Smoking
• Excessive alcohol use
• Exposure to air pollution
• Social isolation.

These developments in new treatments are essential if patients of both the present and the future are to be treated.

For this to occur, one of the things that needs to happen is more pressure being put on politicians to commit to more funding for dementia.

This is what has happened in recent days with former Prime Minister David Cameron persuading the Conservative Government to put more funding into dementia research.

Former Prime Minister Cameron, whose mother Mary has dementia, said in a statement: “Last week I met the [then] Health Secretary and can reveal that he said they were going to have a 10-year dementia strategy and double [the] money going into research.

“We’re a country of 60 million people and soon we’re going to have one million people tipping into this world of darkness.”

Cameron said that dementia was now “costing more than stroke, more than heart disease, more than cancer”.

The former Prime Minister made the comments at Silverstone at an event hosted by Sir Jackie Stewart whose wife has a form of dementia.

Sir Stewart, a three-time Formula 1 World Champion, said: “It’s a very small area of specialty that is going to in the end get this done and break through.

“For sure it will happen.”

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