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- Disease-modifying treatments are on the way to being approved soon
Parc Taulí caters, more and more, to young people with some type of cognitive impairment, including Alzheimer's Disease. In a small percentage the disease can be hereditary, mainly in this population group.
The early detection of the disease, in its initial stages, is essential in order to start a pharmacological or other treatment, such as cognitive stimulation, diet and physical exercise.
Alzheimer's disease has a high incidence in aging populations like ours, because the probability of suffering from it increases with age. So, it is around 2.5% of the population over 65 and reaches 40% in people over 85.
The disease is chronic and degenerative. Although the prognosis is very variable, more than ten years can pass from the time it is diagnosed to the most advanced stages of the disease.
The Cognitive Impairment EAIA of the Parc Taulí (Outpatient Integral Assessment Team) carries out around 1.000 first visits a year for people with some type of cognitive impairment, of which approximately 60% correspond to Alzheimer's Disease.
Main symptoms of the disease
The most common cognitive symptom at onset is memory impairment and disorientation, in most cases. Subsequently, other spheres are affected, such as language or others that are decisive for the person's autonomy. As the disease progresses, the person loses the ability to carry out the activities of daily life and becomes dependent on a third party.
During the progression of the disease, psychobehavioral alterations may also appear, such as affective, sleep or other disorders, which will also need to be taken into account for the management of the disease.
Motor impairment cannot be ruled out, being more frequent in advanced stages of the disease, as a general rule.
Approach to the disease
It is very important to detect the symptoms early in order to carry out an accurate diagnosis and a comprehensive approach to the disease.
In this sense, part of the research in recent years is aimed at finding possible biomarkers that allow a diagnosis to be made in the earliest stages of the disease. Currently, there are already biological biomarkers – present in the cerebrospinal fluid and in the blood – and functional biomarkers based on Nuclear Medicine, which can be performed at Parc Taulí.
Regarding the pharmacological treatments that have been used so far, say that they do not modify the course of the disease, but that they help to slow down the clinical progression and modulate the symptoms, both cognitive and psychobehavioral.
Another part of the research in recent years is aimed at finding possible modifying drugs. A large number of clinical trials have been carried out, generally based on the design of antibodies against the proteins involved in the disease (amyloid, tau) and currently in the process of approval for their use in care, although some of them have already been approved by the FDA, the US Food and Drug Administration.