As per the National Institutes of Health, the burden of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias are noticeable. However, according to the progress report of the year 2022, scientists are making progress in developing drugs, lifestyle interventions, biomarker research and much more.
In 2021, the healthcare and long-term services for dementia-suffering people cost around $321 billion, as estimated by the NIH. Also, according to the report, in 2022, the number is increasing as the nation’s population ages, more than six million Americans aged 65 or more have Alzheimer’s.
As per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics data, 2021, thirty-four percent of assisted living residents were under diagnoses with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias as of 2018.
Prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s
The scientists have reported that there has a being noticeable progress in research done between April 2021 and early 2022. According to the NIH, the research also includes additional genetic contributors and molecular pathways involved in the disease, includes DNA damage, cellular senescence and energy dysfunction.
A new generation of tools for researching, identifying, exploring and also validating disease mechanisms has been developed by the researchers. These research tools are useable for a variety of potential drug targets as well. As per the report, progress was also made in determining how behavioural and lifestyle factors affect dementia risk.
There has been significant growth in the pipeline of potential treatments with drug development research into anti-amyloid drugs and protein malfunctions. Also, there is an accelerating growth seen in the discovery of new dementia drugs and the repurposing of existing drugs for other conditions.
The report also states that biomarker research has led to more reliable, affordable and less invasive tests. That ultimately helps to focus on diagnosing and differentiating among dementia types.
Specifically, in clinical trials, health dissimilarities in dementia risk also led to studies suggesting steps on how to improve health equity. As per the NIH, these efforts will lead to a more precise, person-centred approach to dementia prevention and treatment. This treatment will also consider an individual’s sex, ethnicity, lifestyle, socioeconomic status, race, and specific environmental exposures.
The NIH also states that there has been an increase in funding for dementia research in recent years with the help of The National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease, grew out of the National Alzheimer’s Project Act. It will help to prevent and effectively treat Alzheimer’s and related dementias by 2025.
Most of the funding of the NIH research on Alzheimer’s and related dementias is conducted by the department of the National Institute on Aging and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
Through the annual professional judgment budget, in July, the NIH requested an additional of $321 million in the fiscal year 2024 for Alzheimer’s and related dementias research. There is an increase in Alzheimer’s research funding seven-fold under NAPA. Currently, funding for research in Alzheimer’s and other dementias results in more than $3.5 billion.
Collaboration drives success
The report authors gave those fund advances to collaborations among researchers, individuals, clinicians, living with dementia, care partners and families.
The report states in the end that being together helps accelerate the research speed on Alzheimer’s and related dementias and creates a path forward toward effective prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care options.
In the foreseen future, the NIH expects to see less invasive diagnostic tests, collaborations with the private sector to accelerate treatment options, advances in health equity, and targeted treatments. It also expects to see more contributing factors to dementia and evidence of behaviour and lifestyle practices effects on lowering disease risk.