Dr. Ross Report from San Francisco

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ACSH s Dr. Gilbert Ross is back with us after attending a medical conference in San Francisco over the last few days. He recounts, I learned about some new horizons in earlier diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer s disease, along with other neurodegenerative diseases (Parkison s and multiple sclerosis). These treatments are in their early stages, but there is a lot of good experimental data in animals showing more clearly the actual cellular causes of Alzheimer s-type degeneration. The experimental treatments seem to retard and even reverse this process in animals.

Having said that, these new treatments, if they are ever approved, would not be available for years. Meanwhile, the current prospects in terms of the increasing burden of Alzheimer s on the population are frightful. It is estimated that 25 percent of people 85 and older will experience some symptoms. The fastest growing segment of our population is over 80, which is a good thing in that it reflects great medical advances, but this is a problem that has the potential to suck a huge percentage of health care resources into that segment of the population. We have to hope that these strides in diagnosis and treatment will come to fruition in our lifetimes.

ACSH s Dr. Elizabeth Whelan adds, No matter what you hear, realistically, there are no drugs currently on the market that will slow the progression of Alzheimer s, much less reverse damage done. The are some treatments approved for Alzheimer s patients, but they are not very helpful.