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  • Dementia breakthroughs expected within a decade

    Author: AAP

A leading British scientists says new treatments for dementia are in the pipeline with therapies being trialled which could provide a breakthrough.

New treatments for dementia are "on target" to be developed within the next decade, a leading expert has said.

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Researchers will know if they are at the beginning of "a new era" for tackling the development of diseases such as Alzheimer's "in the coming year", Professor John Hardy said.

The award-winning University College London biologist says therapies being trialled which combat the build-up of the damaging amyloid beta and tau protein concentrations in the brain could provide a breakthrough.

Speaking at the Royal Society, London, he said: "I think we are on target for some therapies for 2025. When the drug trial results come out - and if they're positive - we will know we are on the right road.


"When you are on the right road, you put your foot on the accelerator and you can go quicker, so those results are key."

"In the coming year we will know if we are already at the start of a new era of better treatments for slowing or stopping the development of Alzheimer's disease and allied neurodegenerative disorders, or if current research strategies should be refocused."

Dementia is a degenerative disorder and its symptoms include memory loss.

Age is the main risk factor, but not the cause, for dementia.

As well as Alzheimer's, understanding of other forms of dementia such as Parkinson's disease is also progressing, Professor Hardy said.

Symptoms of dementia are believed to sometimes be caused when amyloid beta clumps together to form a plaque in the brain, interfering with how brain cells signal to each other.

Some of the current drug trials focus on using antibodies to take amyloid beta out of the brain.

If successful, these drugs could be used to prevent the development of dementia in its early stages.

Research also determined that Parkinson's disease can be caused by a set of genes which control how the brain digests its proteins.

As well as pharmaceutical treatments for dementia, experts also stress the importance of lifestyle improvements in preventing a disorder from developing.

Smoking, high cholesterol, drinking above recommended limits and high blood pressure are identified as factors which raise the risk of developing such a disease, according to Public Health England.


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