The Alzheimer’s Association has just begun recruiting for the New IDEAS Imaging Dementia study at UCSF, with special focus on African Americans and Latino participants. These groups have been underrepresented in studies despite being 1 ½ to 2x more likely to develop Alzheimer’s or other dementias than older whites.
The goal of the New IDEAS Study is to determine if using a brain amyloid PET scan helps clinicians provide a more accurate diagnosis and make better treatment decisions, which would then inform or change a patient’s treatment plan and improve their quality of life. Medicare beneficiaries who meet clinical criteria for mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or dementia are eligible to participate via a referral from a participating dementia specialist, to learn more about the New IDEAS study visit https//www.ideas-study.org/
There is also research being done on a drug that targets beta-amyloid in symptom- free volunteers whose PET scans show high levels of beta-amyloid in the brain. The hope is that this will prevent cognitive decline in people at risk for developing Alzheimer’s.
Until we have a cure, evidence shows that exercise and a healthy diet may help to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s. Exercise helps with improving strength and balance as well as cardiovascular health especially when combined with a good diet. Having a person remain active in things they enjoy doing can lower depression and help them feel comfortable.
Research is also helping identify ways to improve the quality of life for people with dementia and their caregivers by reducing dementia-related agitation through techniques including listening to soothing music, light exercise, creating art and pet therapy.
All of the Alzheimer’s research that is being done makes me hopeful that we will see Alzheimer’s first survivor in my lifetime.
Categories: letter to the editor