In 2020 5.8 million Americans were living with Alzheimer’s Disease, and according to the CDC, that number is expected to be 14 million by 2060. New treatments and causes are being discovered all the time, however to date there is still no cure. Most recently, four new developments are giving people hope.
A better night’s sleep
We all know if we get a poor night’s sleep, we notice it the next day. We’re groggy, cranky, and kind of out of it. That’s because when we sleep at night our brain cleans house, flushing waste including toxic proteins – some of which may cause Alzheimer’s.
Anyone who has sleep disorders, including sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) or obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), may not be cleaning as thoroughly as they need to. This can affect our brain’s health, and our odds of developing Alzheimer’s.
By treating sleep disorders, we increase brain health, and decrease chances of brain diseases. A new study found that those who treat sleep disorders – specifically those using a device called myTAP – actually showed improvement in memory function after using the device for 4 weeks.
A little blue pill
A Cleveland Clinic study recently found that Sildenafil – commonly known as Viagra – may reduce Alzheimer’s risk by 69%. The drug targets amyloid plaques, which are the buildup of proteins on the brain known to cause the disease.
The study reviewed over 1,600 FDA-approved drugs and used a database of insurance claims from over 7.2 million people in the US. However, researchers are not yet ready to say for certain that the drug should be used to treat Alzheimer’s. Further trials, including studying women, are necessary.
“A Cleveland Clinic study recently found that Sildenafil – commonly known as Viagra – may reduce Alzheimer’s risk by 69%.”
A clear line of sight
While many say the eyes are the windows to the soul, they may also be the windows to your brain, and slowing progress of Alzheimer’s. Recent findings by the University of Washington show adults who have cataract surgery have a nearly 30% lower risk of developing dementia.
It could have to do with the quality of sensory input, receiving enough visual stimuli, or the amount of blue light. It could just be that once you can see better, you tend to be more social and exercise more. Further studies are being conducted to validate the findings.
A squirt up the nose
The first patient has officially been dosed in a nasal vaccine study hoping to slow advancement of Alzheimer’s. For 20 years researchers have been experimenting with Protollin, which triggers the immune system. It’s supposed to encourage white blood cells in the lymph nodes in a person’s neck and head to go into the brain and clean up beta amyloid plaques, which are an indication of Alzheimer’s.
If this treatment is successful, it could lead to all sorts of further research and development. Many diseases involve protein deposits in the brain, including Parkinson’s, multiple system atrophy, and Huntington’s. A vaccine such as Portollin could change millions of lives in a very short amount of time.
While none of these is a cure, they are giving families hope that research is headed that way. We’ve known for quite some time that eating better, exercising more, and continuous learning are all ways to maintain better brain health. And now we have a few other things to potentially try.
If you or your family are concerned about the Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia, please consider protecting your retirement and your family with Long Term Care Insurance. Speak to a specialist today to find out your options, get a quote, and gain peace of mind.