Alzheimer's and the magic pill
Scientists in the field of aging were reportedly ecstatic last week when news broke that a pill in its early testing stages may halt the progression of the disease.
The experimental drug in question, Rember, works by breaking up the tau protein tangles that accumulate inside victims' brains, according to a news report.
Experts acknowledged that it is too early to get too excited, as the drug only is in the second of three stages of development. Manufactured by Singapore-based TauRx Therapeutics, it is also years away from possibly being available on the market.
Still, it’s hard to stop your heart from racing bit. After all, this could be a breakthrough—that piece of news we’ve been waiting for as the hideous disease continues to wreak havoc on lives and minds.
Then again, it’s also hard not to be skeptical. Isn’t this just another study, another piece of research, another indefinite conclusion?
So, how do we take this news? I’d suggest with a good old-fashioned grain of salt. Despite the encouraging news, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s—yet.
That indeed might be a hard pill to swallow, especially for those families and patients who are battling the disease out in nursing homes, long-term care facilities and homes across the country.
But in the meantime, for the rest of us relatively healthy adults, there are things we can do to fight the disease. Eating right, sleeping, exercising, keeping our stress levels low, socializing and working out our brains all have been found to play a key role in keeping us mentally sharper longer.
“These simple lifestyle changes are indeed treatments,” affirms Paul Raia, Ph.D., vice president of patient care and family support for the Alzheimer’s Association. “In the United States, we are so focused on a magic pill. We don’t have that not now and likely won’t have that in the next 10 years.”
OK, so we can’t believe in magic. But who can put a value on the power of prevention?