October 3, 2017
How often do the headlines relating to Alzheimer’s Disease get you down? It would seem the only things you hear are “incurable”, “mysterious”, “challenging”, and “inevitable” when describing this devastating condition. And of course, Alzheimer’s can be all of those things (and more). But as with any kind of adversity, the positive news so often gets ignored. So in honor of September being World Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, let’s highlight 3 amazing, ground-breaking and exciting developments in the world of Alzheimer’s research!
1. An experimental blood test for earlier, faster and inexpensive diagnosis! Researchers have developed a test that correctly identifies early cases of Alzheimer’s disease – and can differentiate between different types of neurocognitive disorders early on. When detection is early, the options of taking action are far greater!
2. Artificial Intelligence (AI) can sound like something out of a science fiction novel, but its applications in healthcare are really cool! Numerous studies are using this technology to identify very early signs of Alzheimer’s using MRI scans of the brain – sometimes even ten years before obvious symptoms even start to show! Why is early detection key if there isn’t a cure yet? Like all other illnesses, early detection allows you slow the progress from the beginning, making the illness much easier to manage in the future, when research may even have found powerful possibilities for a cure.
3. Early detection is nice, but what can we do to help those already living with fully-developed Alzheimer’s? Well, there are tons of therapeutic practices that won’t need clinical trials before we can take advantage of them! Take art therapy, for example. It has been celebrated for decades as a powerful tool for those living with a broad range of neurocognitive disorders, mental illnesses and developmental disabilities. The practice has been known to temper aggression, give confidence, calm anxiety and strengthen relationships between care partners, family members and care receivers. Plus, trying something new is just fun for anyone!
So next time is might seem like the disease is unbeatable, untreatable or just plain overwhelming, focus on the positive! We can never stop learning or lose hope.