Research on dementia in general and Alzheimer’s in particular takes place in many countries and with different goals. We are convinced that dementia is a global problem, which is why a solution can only be found if scientists work together globally. In order to treat an illness effectively, the underlying mechanisms must be understood in detail first.
Basic research is the basis for such knowledge. It takes place in laboratories. Based on their results, applications, innovative technologies and new approaches for the development of medicines and diagnostics arise.
Clinical research, on the other hand, examines the suitability of new diagnostics and the effectiveness of various therapies: drugs or non-drug approaches.
Health services research is interested in the effectiveness of therapies under everyday conditions and also asks how health care can be improved. For people with dementia, health services research investigates how quality of life of affected people can be improved or what support their relatives need.
- The first changes in the brain appear 20 years before the appearance of symptoms.
- Naturally occurring clumps of protein damage the nerve cells in the brain and lead to inflammatory reactions.
- In the end nerve cells in the brain die, causing certain areas in the brain to shrink and to become typically forgetful.
- Currently, only the symptoms but not the causes of Alzheimer’s disease can be treated.
- New drugs that fight the causes are currently being developed.
- However, all future medications can only work if they are used very early after the occurence of Alzheimer’s symptoms or even preventively.
- One of these drugs, Aducanumab, can remove one type of the protein clumps in the brain. However, it has not yet been clarified whether it can actually stop the memory loss, even if the first results are encouraging.