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No cure for Alzheimer's disease, but early diagnosis possible

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By Stephen Lau

Wednesday Jan 4, 2012 (foodconsumer.org) -- Researchers from Sweden said that some signs of Alzheimer’s disease can be observed ten years prior to apperance of symptoms of the disease, and a new therapy for Alzheimer might be available in the future.
 
The study, conducted on 140 people with mild memory impairment, focused on investigating the biomarkers which are present in spinal fluid and associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
 
High risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease in the future was found among those with a certain combination of biomarkers—low levels of the substance beta-amyloid and high levels of the substance tau.
 
Of participants who developed Alzheimer’s in ten years, 91% had these risk biomarkers, while those who had normal values for the markers did not have higher risk of getting Alzheimer’s than healthy people.
 
“This is a very important finding with regard to the development of new therapies against the disease. All prospective therapies have so far shown to be ineffective in stopping the disease, and many people are concerned that the pharmaceutical companies will give up their efforts in this field. But these failures may depend on the fact that the new therapies were initiated too late. When a patient receives a diagnosis today, the damage has already gone too far,” said Oskar Hansson from Lund University in Sweden.

However, for the study, the scientist also admitted that the accuracy of the risk biomarkers is about 90 percent, which means it is not sufficient as the only way to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease. In order to increase the level of accuracy, a combination of these biomarkers with clinical assessment may be helpful.

Alzheimer's disease is the worst form of dementia.  It is believed that as many as 5 million Americans live with the disease, according to the U.S. government.  The disease has no cure and eventally completely disable the patient.

An early diagnosis could provide opportunities for treatment. 

According to our previous reports, which are based on previous studies, the following ways may be enlisted to help prevent or treat dementia or Alzheimer’s disease:

Green tea and coffee, eating fish or omega-3 fatty acids, Mediterranean diet, moderate vitamin D and vitamin E, polyphenols, caloric restriction, curry, apple juice, B vitamins, plant-based diet, and high intake of amino acid methionine.

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