India is home to more than four million people suffering from Alzheimer’s and this number is expected to double in the next twenty years. To help prevent the disease that is constantly on the rise and to help patients suffering from Alzheimer’s lead better lives, researchers have arrived at a solution.
Researchers from Brigham Young University in Utah have found a gene that can protect people from the disease. Initially, the team identified families from the Utah Population Database that had high probability of catching Alzheimer’s but were resilient to it.
By studying them and understanding their genes and DNA structure, the researchers have found the reason behind them being resilient despite entering advanced age — a variant of a gene called RAB10. This acted as a shield against the disease.
In another instance, researchers from Washington DC have arrived at a treatment for Alzheimer’s patients – hyperbaric oxygen therapy.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy helps patients breathe in pure oxygen in a chamber or a pressurised room. For many decades now, it has been used to treat wounds that are slow to heal.
In the case of Alzheimer’s patients, the researchers believe that the added oxygen will stimulate the release of growth factors and stem cells. This in turn will result in reduced behavioural deficiencies that is characteristic of Alzheimer’s and other kinds of dementia. Uri Ashery, lead author in the team, told ,
We have now shown for the first time that hyperbaric oxygen therapy can actually improve the pathology of Alzheimer’s disease and correct behavioural deficits associated with the disease.
By 2050, half the people with dementia will live in Asia and in low and middle income countries; hence, it becomes imperative for the governments to come together to formulate policies and legislation to help its patients get proper treatment and lead better lives.