Dementia is potentially preventable in more than a third of reported cases, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. This is encouraging, and also surprising. It is hopeful news for anyone who suffers from dementia and for the fight against Alzheimer’s disease.
The fact that dementia is preventable may surprise most, since we’re painfully aware that Alzheimer’s disease continues to gain momentum without a cure having yet been developed. Prevention is essential, and it will come about due to research, which requires funding.
Some of us donate to projects and organizations that we believe are worth supporting. In fact, according to the digital marketing company Nonprofits Source, 69% of the U.S. population gives regularly to charities, while 77% believe charitable donations can make a difference.
Thousands of organizations do good work, but unfortunately, donations are used by many for purposes other than what the donor intended. In most cases, it’s not because the organization is disreputable, but rather in order to survive, funds are distributed to support organizational structure. For reputable charities, it often is a necessary evil that only a percentage of donations go toward funding specific projects.
This isn’t the case with the Alzheimer’s Association. Those who raise money for Alzheimer’s research can be assured that funds will support research. One hundred percent of donations are earmarked for prevention, treatment, or finding a cure for dementia.
Donations directly affect Alzheimer’s Association projects
The Alzheimer’s Association has launched a two-year clinical trial called U.S. POINTER to explore factors that might contribute to preventing dementia in some people. What makes it possible for dementia to be prevented for a third of individuals? How can this fact be capitalized upon to help more folks?
U.S. POINTER will study lifestyle and other factors that may be responsible for enhancing brain health and preventing cognitive decline. For example, the study will look at how exercise and good nutrition might play a role in prevention.
We already know that social stimulation and attention to health management is important. But the U.S. POINTER trial will go a step further in exploring why and how further cognitive decline might be prevented.
Investigational drug trials
The Alzheimer’s Association also is investing time and funds into clinical drug trials to help safely speed up the development of new treatments and medications, and then place them in the hands of those who need them. The goal is to shorten the time it takes for an investigational drug to leave the lab and land at your local pharmacy.
For example, HIV/AIDS research has resulted in the development of drug cocktails that have been shown to be extremely effective. Drug cocktails also have been developed for heart disease and cancer treatment. The Alzheimer’s Association is hopeful to create and combine therapies to treat dementia, too. But funding is crucial.
Your healthcare provider or physician might not have the tools or technology to detect and diagnose Alzheimer’s disease in its early stage. They might lack the ability to differentiate between natural aging and the oncoming signs of dementia.
A study of the positive effects of technology and equipment, such as that used for PET scans, is necessary for the successful intervention and management of Alzheimer’s disease. Early detection could help keep the disease at bay and slow the progression of symptoms.
PET scans are costly, and insurance companies don’t always cover them. The Alzheimer’s Association study about the impact of early detection could change that. Funding is key.
What you can do
Remember, donations to the Alzheimer’s Association go straight to research. Additionally, the association also has several fun and meaningful activities and challenges. You might like to enlist a friend in one of the following events to raise money and awareness for Alzheimer’s disease.
Ride to end Alzheimer’s disease
Depending on where you live, the Ride to End ALZ may already have taken place this year. However, a summer cycling event also may be soon available in your area.
The Alzheimer’s Association defines the ride as “a multicity cycling event that gives bikers of all skill levels the opportunity to challenge themselves and raise funds to advance research toward the first survivor of Alzheimer’s.”
That first survivor could be someone in your family. For more information about registering or donating to a participant, visit the Alzheimer’s Association website.
The Longest Day
The Alzheimer’s Association chose the longest day of the year, the day with the most light, to spread awareness. You can participate in the summer solstice and help raise funds for research. You get to choose the activity. I’ll share more information as the date approaches. In the meantime, visit The Longest Day to learn more.
Note: Alzheimer’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Alzheimer’s News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Alzheimer’s disease.