For decades, Alzheimer’s has been a mystery. That’s why two big drug companies have funded a prevention study, which looks at older people with a particular gene that could lead to them getting Alzheimer’s.
Dr. Adam Wolff, a neurologist, is just one of many doctors around the world conducting the study. He says it’s not about finding a cure, it’s about prevention. The study is looking for people who are at a higher risk of developing the disease, but don’t yet have it.
In order to take part in the study, participants must be between the ages of 60 to 75. They must be healthy and they need to have the APOE gene. Dr. Wolff says the gene produces amyloid proteins in the brain. Amyloid is essentially plaque in your brain. The more amyloid build up, the higher the risk of developing Alzheimer’s.
Dr. Wolff says if a participant has one APOE gene, they are 25 percent more likely to develop Alzheimer’s. If they have two APOE genes, they are 50 percent more likely to develop the disease.
The two drug companies funding this study are Novartis and Amgen. The companies have created a medicine that is said to prevent Alzheimer’s from occurring. The medicine helps block amyloids from forming in the brain. Participants are asked to take the medicine for five to seven years.
“What we don’t know is if we give this medicine to the people who are at risk of developing dementia, but who don’t yet have it, can we prevent it or delay it or slow it down,” says Dr. Wolff.
If you or someone you know would like to participate, they are still looking for participants. Dr. Wolff says whether you want to participate or not, make sure you never retire your mind.
“You can either retire or not retire, but you need to stay mentally active because you need socialization interaction, and that doesn't’ include your spouse or your family," Dr. Wolff says.