Better treatment for Alzheimer's in 10 years, predicts neuroscientist

A British neuroscientist predicts that with the recent breakthroughs in Alzheimer's research, treatment for the disease will improve drastically in just a decade.


NSFW    BOSTON — Alzheimer's currently has no cure, but breakthroughs in research could lead to better treatment in just 10 years.

In an interview with WBUR, British neuroscientist Joseph Jebelli claims memory loss comes with age, but forgetting what certain everyday things are for could signal a more serious problem.

Healthy brains shrink by about 10 percent between ages 50 and 80. Brain cells shrivel up slightly, reducing contact between each cell and causing them to function more slowly.

In patients with Alzheimer's, toxic proteins cause a buildup of plaques and tangles in the brain, which causes cell death. Current medication only treats the symptoms, and can delay them for six months to a year.

Researchers have been looking into ways of using sleep to treat the disease, since the brain uses cerebrospinal fluid to clean away the plaques and tangles during sleep.

Scientists are also considering neural stem cells as a treatment for Alzheimer's, believing that the cells can be activated to generate new neurons — allowing the brain to heal itself.

Jebelli believes the future of Alzheimer's treatment lies not in an outright cure but in being able to manage and control the disease enough to keep its symptoms at bay.
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