Almost five million Americans have been diagnosed with Alzheimers. That's expected to grow 70 percent as baby boomers enter retirement age.
To prepare for that increase, doctors and educators at a national meeting of the Alzheimers Association in Washington Monday, shared new treatments. The most promising is a new drug called flourizan. It's still experimental, but in clinical testing of 207 people for 1 year, Flourizan appears to be the first drug that strikes at what might be the underlying cause of the disease. Here's how it works.
"This clinical trial showed that people with mild Alzheimer's disease benefited from the drug and had an impact on their day-to-day activities and also to some extent upon their memories, functions and cognition," said Dr. Gordon Wilcock.
Other evidence presented at that meeting is that many of the preventive measures we take to protect against heart disease appear to work just as well in protecting the brain from Alzheimers. So, doctors and educators are trying to get the word out now to all those 40 and 50 year olds that lifestyle habits, such as what you eat and what you do and how much exercise you get now, could have a huge impact on how soon you're diagnosed with symptoms of Alzheimers. Or whether you get the disease at all.