A Guide To Alzheimer’s

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What is Alzheimer’s Disease?

Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia, a condition that causes cognitive decline. Memory, thinking, and problem-solving of a person with Alzheimer’s worsen over time. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia.

Experts don’t know exactly what causes Alzheimer’s disease or why some people develop it. However, recent research has made it clear the most likely cause involves the unhealthy build-up of proteins in the brain that inhibit neuron performance.

What Conditions is Alzheimer’s Disease Associated With?

Although Alzheimer’s risk is associated with old age, it is not a “normal” aspect of aging. Most people with Alzheimer’s disease are 65 or older. About 200,000 younger people have the condition, called “early-onset Alzheimer’s.”

Alzheimer’s has a genetic component: If you have a parent or sibling with the disease, you are more likely to develop it. However, no one is “guaranteed” to get Alzheimer’s. Older Latinos and African-Americans are more likely than older whites to develop the disease.

Some risk factors can be controlled over time. In particular, avoiding head injuries helps protect against dementia. Maintaining heart health is also important, because the brain is nourished by the cardiovascular system.

Alzheimer’s symptoms include:

  • Difficulty remembering newly learned information, usually the first symptom.
  • Deepening confusion about recent and past events, time, and place.
  • Feelings of suspicion about family, friends, and caregivers.
  • Other mood and behavior changes accompanied by worsening memory loss.
  • In later stages, difficulty speaking, swallowing, and walking.

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Alzheimer’s Disease Lifestyle Changes and Recovery

Alzheimer’s has a profound and pervasive effect on quality of life. Lifestyle changes must occur as the patient’s needs evolve. Although some steps can improve memory and slow the rate of cognitive decline, patients require an increasing amount of care.

Many Alzheimer’s patients eventually move into an assisted living facility. Caregivers must be trained to interact with dementia patients. Appropriate care ensures minimal confusion and frustration while maximizing comfort and independence of the patient.

There is no cure for Alzheimer’s and no way to arrest the progress of the disease, but it can be slowed with treatment. Complications of brain decline can cause death in the later stages of the disease, especially if swallowing is impaired.

What Research Currently Exists Around Alzheimer’s Disease?

Alzheimer’s is one of the most researched diseases in medical science. Today’s most promising research areas focus on how Alzheimer’s affects the brain. By understanding the disease process, it may be possible to gain insight on how it first develops.

Recent research has shown Alzheimer’s creates chronic low-level inflammation in the cells of the brain. By acting directly on the mechanisms for this inflammation, it may be possible to halt disease progress, especially by allowing the immune system to activate against harmful proteins.

Why Are Further Alzheimer’s Disease Clinical Trials Important?

Treatment options for Alzheimer’s are limited. The best hope for effective Alzheimer’s treatment is a combination of multiple drugs that work on basic disease processes while helping to maintain healthy brain function. Because there are many different unknown factors, Alzheimer’s disease clinical trials will be essential for developing new Alzheimer’s medications.

Current Alzheimer’s Clinical Trials

The following is the complete list of Alzheimer’s clinical trials on record at ClinicalTrials.gov. If you have an additional Alzheimer’s clinical trial you want to see featured, please contact us.


Alzheimer’s research is a major priority around the world, but more needs to be done. Clinical trials for Alzheimer’s need support from current patients as well as those with genetic risk. By working together, clinical trial participants pave the way to better Alzheimer’s treatment.

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