A new study in Cleveland is giving hope to those at risk for Alzheimer's.
The brains behind this study say by the time mom or dad starts exhibiting memory problems, the process in the brain has been going on for decades. This is why they're targeting the source of it now.
Dr. Alan Lerner is looking at brain scans for evidence of a protein that could be the key to keeping Alzheimer's at bay.
"What's been found is that this amyloid can deposit in the brain as much as 15 years prior to any symptoms," said Lerner.
Doctors believe the buildup of this amyloid plaque is what robs patients of their precious memories.
University Hospitals is one of 60 hospitals now looking for 1,000 participants for the A-4 Alzheimer's study, in an effort to change the course of the debilitating disease. Candidates need to be healthy people between 65 and 85 with a memory concern, like a family history of dementia, and not already have a diagnosed memory problem. Half the participants will be given an antibody, or a biological treatment, aimed at wiping out the amyloid protein and preserving memory; the other half will get a placebo.
"This is really the best way to see whether or not this kind of approach would help people forestall memory loss. This is really what our families have been asking for for a really long time," said Lerner.
Dr. Lerner says if it works, this will have tremendous personal and societal benefits.
"We know that almost $200 billion a year is spent in the United States alone for Alzheimer's and related dementias. Much of that is in long-term care," he said.
To enroll in this trial, call Maria Gross, RN, Clinical Research Nurse Specialist I, Brain Health & Memory Center, University Hospitals Case Medical Center, at 216-464-6454. To learn more about the trial, visit www.a4study.org.