November is Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month in the U.S. Each year, Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) kills more people than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined.
More worrisome is that AD is on the rise:
“These numbers will escalate rapidly in coming years, as the baby boom generation has begun to reach age 65 and beyond, the age range of greatest risk of Alzheimer’s. By 2050, the number of people age 65 and older with Alzheimer’s disease may nearly triple.”
Alzheimer’s Association: http://www.alz.org/facts/
Globally (more so in Western Europe, less so in Sub-Saharan Africa) – the picture is similar:
Worldwide, nearly 44 million people have Alzheimer’s or a related dementia.
Only 1-in-4 people with Alzheimer’s disease have been diagnosed.
Alzheimer’s and dementia is most common in Western Europe (North America is close behind).
Alzheimer’s and other dementias are the top cause for disabilities in later life.
Among a broad range of health indications, Neuland Labs participates in the Alzheimer’s space as a manufacturer of Donepezil, a cholinesterase inhibitor used to treat dementia in patients with Alzheimer Disease (AD).
Donepezil works by increasing the amount of acetylcholine in the brain, which may help reduce the symptoms of dementia in patients with Alzheimer disease – such as the impairment of memory, judgment & abstract thinking, as well as changes in personality.
It should be noted that the precise mechanism of action of donepezil in patients with Alzheimer’s Disease is not fully understood, and there’s no evidence that donepezil or similar agents alters the course or progression of Alzheimer’s. Studies have found some benefit in cognition and behavior, and it is recommended as an option for treatment by both the UK National Institute for Clinical Excellence and the US FDA.
While today’s arsenal of therapeutic agents in the fight against Alzheimer’s, dementia and neurodegenerative diseases generally is stronger than ever and our understanding of AD continues to grow, there is a great deal of science left for us to learn and piece together.
I don’t mean to paint a bleak picture – plenty of groundbreaking work seems to be happening on the research side of neurodegenerative diseases. From new classes of drugs making their way through trials, to the discovery of genetic markers or other diagnostic tools to aid in detection, Every day we further our understanding of – and ability to not only manage, but also treat – Alzheimer’s and other conditions.