No Silver Bullet

  • by: |
  • 11/19/2007
One in 10 people over 65 – or 5.6 million Americans – will have Alzheimer’s Disease by 2010. Without interventional therapy, the number of cases is expected to rise to 13.5 million by 2050. Currently available treatments for Alzheimer’s disease provide only temporary symptomatic relief and only for some patients, while therapies under FDA review may significantly delay or reverse the course of the disease.

On this subject, an excellent piece in today’s on-line edition of The Journal of Life Sciences. It’s titled, “No Silver Bullet” and points out that, just because we do not, as of yet, have a cure for Alzheimer’s Disease, does not mean that our increased and enhanced ability to diagnonse this scourge isn’t a significant leap forward.

Here’s a link to the article:

The author, April Lynch, is a staff writer at the San Jose Mercury News, focusing on health, medicine, biotech, genomics, and environmental investigations. She has also worked as the paper’s editor for science and health coverage. She is the author of a forthcoming book on genomic medicine

According to Lynch:

“Before people develop full-blown Alzheimer’s disease, they usually experience a condition called mild cognitive impairment, or MCI. The signs of MCI, such as minor memory loss, can be so subtle that many people miss them, or dismiss them as routine “senior moments” that come with aging. Alzheimer’s researchers say that A-beta deposits and damage are already well underway in these peoples’ brains. If more of them could be caught early, and the new drugs work at limiting brain destruction, doctors could start therapy before serious illness sets in.”

For those following the War Againist Alzheimers, you may also want to read the recent CMPI report on the potential economic impact that new treatments for Alzheimer's disease could have on the U.S. economy. The study was sponsored by ACT-AD, a coalition of 49 national organizations seeking to accelerate development of potential cures and treatments for Alzheimer’s disease. The full report can be found here:

The fight against Alzheimer’s Disease is another clarion call for the expeditious pursuit of the Critical Path Initiative.

Center for Medicine in the Public Interest is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization promoting innovative solutions that advance medical progress, reduce health disparities, extend life and make health care more affordable, preventive and patient-centered. CMPI also provides the public, policymakers and the media a reliable source of independent scientific analysis on issues ranging from personalized medicine, food and drug safety, health care reform and comparative effectiveness.

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