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Alzheimer's prevention is focus of new research

May 15, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
The U.S.'s top doctors have devised a strategy to combat Alzheimer's disease, and the government is prepared to spend millions on research and finding treatments.

It's a major milestone in the effort to prevent the disease, and the new deadline to do it is 2025.

"It's a good investment, because if we don't do something about Alzheimer's, it's speculated the epidemic will bankrupt Social Security and perhaps the Medicare system," said Dr. John Ringman, a UCLA associate clinical professor of neurology.

As part of the $100 million study, researchers will test a new treatment to slow the disease in those with early memory problems.

"I'm a little scared about my future and my daughter's future in relation to me. I would not want her to be in a position of having to take care of me," said Susan Hannibal, a study participant.

And there's a new massive effort looking at stopping Alzheimer's before it starts in a groundbreaking study of an extended family of 5,000 in Columbia, South America, who have a rare gene that virtually guarantees they will get Alzheimer's. Ringman and his team at UCLA have been studying dozens of members of a family from Mexico with the same rare genetic trait.

"This form of Alzheimer's really can serve as a model and really should help us understand the physiology that's going on in the more common form of the disease," said Ringman.

Even if the trial fails, it will still succeed by telling scientists they need to target other elements of the disease and other possible causes.


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