Family caregivers of those suffering from the affects of Alzheimer’s know all too well the toll it takes on their loved one as well as those that love them. This debilitating form of dementia affects approximately one-third of the population in America that are over the age of 84. The good news is that researchers are continually studying ways to reduce the chances of developing or slowing down the progression of this disease. Hope is the biomarker of happiness.
Biomarkers are biological changes that occur in relation to the onset or progression of a disease. They are often used to help foretell its arrival or to determine its progression. Research has been extensive into the biomarkers associated with Alzheimer’s and discoveries are being made every year.
One such biomarker is abnormal levels of amyloid protein found in the brains of those with Alzheimer’s. Innovative tools include the use of tracers that image tau protein tangles and its interaction with these amyloid protein plaques—significant indicators of Alzheimer’s disease. This has led to evidence of who may be at risk for developing this disease as well as possible interventions in the early stages.
Iowa State has made its contribution as well when researchers discovered a new biomarker called autotoxin. This enzyme, when found in fluid around the brain, has shown promise as a predictor of both Alzheimer’s and type 2 diabetes. This discovery also emphasized the importance of keeping healthy through exercise and diet as this enzyme is often high in those who are obese and is known to correlate with levels of triglycerides.
Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine observed an association with high levels of anthranillic acid in the plasma and an increased risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s.
While research is ongoing and there is currently no cure, knowing that the best and brightest minds are looking for and finding biomarkers that will help determine both risk and progression helps those facing their elderly years with this diagnosis remain ever hopeful. “Hope is the only thing stronger than fear.”—Robert Ludlum.
Clinical trials are ongoing and volunteers are regularly needed. Just last fall, recruitments started for 1,200 volunteers for the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative—a long-running NIH supported investigation into the brain and fluid biomarkers of Alzheimer’s. If you or your loved one are interested in volunteering, resources include your physician, the NIH (National Institutes of Health) as well as the Alzheimer’s Association.
In-home Care Provider
If your loved one is suffering from the affects of Alzheimer’s, consider obtaining the services of an in-home care provider. Family caregivers of those facing this disease are at an increased risk for depression and caregiving burnout, yet play an integral part in the lives and well-being of those they care for. Care for the long-haul by caring for yourself in the short-haul and taking a few days off each week to recharge and rejuvenate.
If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring a professional caregiver in Charlotte, NC, please call the professional staff at Caring at Heart today at (704) 379-7510. Serving Charlotte, Statesville, Ballantyne, Mooresville, Huntersville, Matthews, Concord, Gastonia, Pineville and Indian Trail