From left: Jim Rohl (St. John's resident), Al Power, Mona Johnson, Sarah Rowan, Richard Taylor (seated), Judy Berry, Julius Keya
In a previous post, I wrote about the alphabet soup of organizations working to find new treatments for Alzheimer’s. Much less well-funded and well-publicized are the organizations and people working to find new ways to care for people with dementia.
Earlier this month, several people at the cutting edge of this work came together in snowy Rochester, New York to share ideas and to make a video. A big thank you to Richard Taylor for inviting me to take part, and to Al Power and St. John’s Home for hosting all of us so graciously.
Lifting weights might not have an immediate effect. In this clinical trial, the women who lifted weights were split into two groups: those who trained once per week and those who trained twice per week. Both groups were compared to a group of women participating in a twice weekly balance and toning program. At the six month point, Dr. Liu-Ambrose and her colleagues found no significant differences between those lifting weights and those in the balance and toning program. At the one year point, however, the once per week group had improved performance by 12.6% and the twice per week group by 10.9%. The performance of the balance and toning group worsened slightly.
In a follow-up study one year after the formal training sessions ended, the once per week group still showed a 15% improvement on tests of attention and thinking over the balance and toning group.
Summary: There is a new emphasis on cooperative efforts to speed the development and approval of Alzheimer’s drugs. The difficulties in bringing new Alzheimer’s drugs to market, along with doubts about a cure, highlight the continued need for research on (and funding for) care.
I wrote in Part 1 of this post about the difficulties of getting new Alzheimer’s drugs to market. This problem is not entirely specific to Alzheimer’s – overall, new drug approvals are at a 25 year low.
For patients and families waiting for more effective treatments, it may seem like nothing is happening. But in reality, there are a lot of efforts underway to address this problem. Given tight funding, the difficulties of drug development, and the recent failure of several drugs in trial, there is a new emphasis on collaboration to bring Alzheimer’s treatments to market.
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