Making progress with Alzheimer's - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Making progress with Alzheimer's

 

 

January 3, 2002
by Kimberly Kane

Alzheimer’s is the most common disease affecting the adult brain. About four million Americans have it.

But researchers at the Medical College of Wisconsin say if they can detect the disease early enough and treat it early, they could prevent half of all Alzheimer’s cases from occurring.

Now they're looking into a new technique that could give patients that edge.

An edge against Alzheimer’s would be a relief for Carol Kauss. She signed up for the medical college study. "Personally, it's because my mother has Alzheimer’s disease, so I have selfish reasons in wanting to know what causes it," says Carole.

But it's not selfish at all says Doctor Piero Antuano. Alzheimer's is serious. Dr. Piero Antuano, neurologist, of Froedtert & medical college says, "It's devastating in the way a person gradually loses their memory and personality."

But it doesn't have to be. Antuano says good treatments can slow the disease's progression. The key - start them very early. But there's one problem. "We know there are some people out there - actually many who are at potential risk of future development of Alzheimer’s disease. The trick here is to find them - identify them," Dr. Antuano says.

He believes he knows how to do that. Using memory tests and MRI brain scans his team will track study participants over five years. Researchers are looking for signs that the brain is beginning to deteriorate. And they believe that brain cells that just are not working together may be the earliest indication of that.

They compare the tests with tests done on people who have Alzheimer’s and people who don't. "Our hypothesis is that by following people with that measure, we can anticipate or predict those who may convert or progress to Alzheimer’s," said Dr. Aantuano.

And intervening immediately with treatment could prevent the disease from showing up for years. It's an exciting opportunity especially for people like Carol Kauss who know the realities of Alzheimer’s and dream of a future free from the disease.

There are two meetings to help with the issue, of the Alzheimer's Disease & Dementia Support Group. They are onTuesday, January 7, 2003 @ 9:00 am, and Wednesday the 8th at 12:00 noon.  Sponsored by Alzheimer's Association & Lamad Ministries. Phone: 229-888-7676, or Email: debbie.griffin@alz.org

Learn more about the disease at www.alzheimers.org.

posted at 4:30PM by dave.miller@walb.com