A new national strategy to fight Alzheimer's disease focuses on prevention, treatment, education and awareness.
The plan was unveiled Tuesday. It includes funding for both a prevention study and a treatment study, involving an insulin nasal spray.
The plan also provides education and awareness for primary care doctors to help screen, diagnose and treat Alzheimer's patients. Dr. Bill Pendlebury of the FAHC Memory Center says Vermont has already been doing that for at least two decades. But he says the new initiative is exciting now that people finally understand the implications of Alzheimer's.
"I think historically there was a lot of nihilism about it-- was this actually a disease or just part of the normal aging process? Alzheimer's disease is an acquired disease caused by pathological changes in the brain and it affects five million people in the U.S. right now; 16 million by 2050. Given those numbers and the general aging demographics, we better start doing something about it now," Pendlebury said.
Pendlebury is optimistic that doctors will eventually be able to prevent Alzheimer's disease. As for treatment, he thinks a cure is unlikely, but doctors will learn more about how best to treat patients' symptoms.
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