Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Novel Alzheimer's Drugs Coming

• As many as 5.2 million people in the United States are living with Alzheimer’s.

• 10 million baby boomers will develop Alzheimer's in their lifetime.

• Every 71 seconds, someone develops Alzheimer’s.

• Alzheimer's is the sixth-leading cause of death.

• The direct and indirect costs of Alzheimer's and other dementias to Medicare, Medicaid and businesses amount to more than $148 billion each year. _Alz
The older you get, the more likely that you will suffer some form of cognitive impairment -- most likely Alzheimer's. With the aging of North America and the developed world, the need for better ways to diagnose and treat Alzheimer's is critical.

New cognitive tests are being developed to determine whether a person with early cognitive impairment can drive safely. Special MRI techniques can show the early tell-tale signs of Alzheimer brain atrophy.

On the treatment side, "brain games" that develop short term memory appear helpful in reversing early cognitive impairment.

Another hopeful bit of news is that Rember and Dimebon -- two novel drug treatments for Alzheimer's -- are working their way through human drug trials, and show some promise.

A bit further in the future is the promise of Ampakines. Cortex Pharmaceuticals is the foremost developers of Ampakines for a wide range of disorders -- including Alzheimer's in the long run.

Further into the future, an even wider array of drugs are being developed to target several pathological mechanisms that are believed to contribute to Alzheimer's.

The main question at this time appears to involve financing for drug discovery and testing in the midst of an international financial crisis. US governmental policies under the new administration suggest that US pharmaceutical research and research into other vital innovative technologies will be short-changed. New drug development may well move offshore from the US to East and South Asia, where capital is less likely to be diverted to non-productive ends.

It is ironic that just when a relaxation of stem cell research regulations occurs, that draconian economic re-structuring should threaten the future of technological development in the biosciences and most other high tech fields.



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