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Strides in Solving the Mysteries of Alzheimer's disease

On the front page of the New York Times today, there is a story about on the potential of a "major change" in the criteria for the diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease. If adopted, the new guidelines would launch a new movement on diagnosing - and eventually treating - the disease that affects so many American families. The proposed diagnostic rules were presented by a group of experts at an international Alzheimer's meeting in Honolulu yesterday.
Currently, the formal criteria to diagnose a person with Alzheimer's disease requires "steadily progressing" dementia and the "inability to carry out day-to-day activities." The new guidelines would change all of that. Utilizing new technology, doctors could detect and diagnose the disease even before there are signs of memory loss.
According to the article, it is predicted that with these new guidelines, the number of Americans with Alzheimer's disease would increase two- to three-fold...and that's a lot considering 5.3 million Americans already have the disease. The new guidelines would help drug companies who are beginning to develop drugs that attack the disease early on - however, there are currently no drugs that change the course of its progression.
Read the whole article here. And while you are at it, check out this AARP Bulletin article on another innovation that came out of the Alzheimer's meeting in Honolulu, a new radioactive dye test that may be a hugely helpful tool in the future of diagnosing the disease.

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