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Planning Retirement Online

Risk of Alzheimers

Slow Move Forward on Alzeimer's

Lack of research and failing clinical trials in Alzheimer’s has been highlighted by an American doctor.

Alzheimer’s is a form of dementia, and Dr Jeffrey Cummings and his team at the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas have been researching clinical trials that took place during the ten years between 2002 and 2012 and found some depressing results.

Their report showed that 99.6% of trials aimed at helping to slow down the onset of Alzheimer’s or to improve the symptoms have failed and been discontinued. Only one drug showed effectiveness while 244 others failed.

Dr Cummings says there are currently disturbingly few new drugs in the pipeline, with only about 80 drugs being tested. He says that this number compares to around 300 drugs or more being tested to fight cancer.

Dr Simon Ridley of Alzheimer’s Research UK has said that this failure rate is especially disturbing because of the steadily increasing numbers of people developing Alzheimer’s and has commented that the this high failure rate in trials could discourage pharmaceutical companies from investing further in dementia research.

However, there is now an increasing move to help people help themselves but changing their lifestyles. David Smith, Emeritus professor of pharmacology at Oxford University, says that while of course more money is needed for more research, a shift towards improving lifestyles to reduce the risk of dementia could make a real difference.

He says a serious drive for prevention would help people feel they aren’t helpless in the fight against dementia.

“The failure to take the likes of diet, exercise and supplements seriously is galling because at Oxford we have shown it is possible to slow down the Alzheimer’s type braIn shrinkage with B vitamins costing just pennies a day.”

Many doctors across the UK agree with this. Professor John Gallacher from the Institute of Primary Care and Health at Cardiff University says a message needs to be sent out that the earlier you start adopting healthy lifestyles the lower your risk of dementia will be. He says there are enormous benefits in reviewing how you live.

There is lots of good information on lifestyle everywhere these days and the importance of healthy food and adequate lifestyle. However, one risk factor in Alzheimer’s that we can’t stop is age. You can develop dementia in earlier years, but generally it is a disease that develops when we are older. After the age of 60, the risk starts whizzing up. After the age of 65, the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease specifically doubles every five years. At the moment figures estimate that one person in every fourteen over the age of 65 is affected by dementia; that increases to one in every six people over the age of 80.

It is not just age though that increases risk. Women are a little more likely to develop Alzheimer’s than men. There has been a suggested that this is connected to the changes in oestrogen levels after women go through the menopause; but there is a lot of research still being undertaken here and certainly taking hormone replacement therapy to help prevent dementia is not recommended.

The risk of developing dementia can also be higher if your parents suffered from the disease. Other risk factors include higher blood pressure in middle age and people with a history of clinical depression.

All is all there is a long way to go still in the fight against Alzheimer’s but the partnership benefits of improved lifestyles and successful research is clear.

On August 2nd, Alzheimer’s Research UK is hosting its very first Charity Race Day at Newmarket Racecourse in Suffolk.

They are inviting people to join them for a day of racing and to experience the atmosphere at a specially discounted rate, with Alzheimer’s Research UK receiving a proportion of the cost of each ticket. You can find out more at:

www.alzheimersresearchuk.org/newmarket

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The above article is part of the features section of laterlife.com called laterlife interest. laterlife interest contains a variety of articles of interest for visitors to laterlife.com written by a number of experienced and new journalists.

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