Report Says Pre-Alzheimer's Cases Rising

Posted on July 29, 2008

The AP reports that a new report on Alzheimer's says that it is much more common than previously thought with a million Americans sliding into "mild impairment" annually.

A milder type of mental decline that often precedes Alzheimer's disease is alarmingly more common than has been believed, and in men more than women, doctors reported Monday.

Nearly a million older Americans slide from normal memory into mild impairment each year, researchers estimate, based on a Mayo Clinic study of Minnesota residents.

That's on top of the half million Americans who develop full-blown Alzheimer's or other forms of dementia - a problem sure to grow as baby boomers age. The oldest boomers turn 62 this year.

The same article says that an experimental nose spray has helped improve some memory function in people listed as "midly impaired."
But that may be changing. Researchers on Monday reported early, somewhat encouraging results from an experimental nose spray that seemed to improve certain memory measures in a study of mildly impaired people.

The drug, for now just called AL-108, needs testing in a longer, larger study. It is being developed by Allon Therapeutics Inc., based in Vancouver, B.C.

Doctors said it shows the potential for new types of medicines that target the protein tangles that kill nerve cells, instead of targeting the sticky brain deposits that have gotten most of the attention up to now.

The BBC also has an article about another promising Alzheimer's drug. These drugs will all be needed as Alzheimer appears to be a disease that will impact a wide swath of our aging population.

More from Science Space & Robots