Science to Keep Fighting Against Alzheimer’sBy Antonio Gozain | Tue, 09/21/2021 - 15:20
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia globally, representing 70 percent of the total 55 million dementia cases across the world, according to WHO. World Alzheimer’s Day, observed every September 21 as a part of the World Alzheimer’s Month, is part of an international campaign to raise awareness and highlight issues faced by patients affected by dementia. During 2021, the number of individuals affected by Alzheimer’s disease in Mexico increased by 1,116 new cases, according to the National Epidemiological Surveillance System.
While Alzheimer’s disease has no cure, efforts are being made to create new prevention and treatment strategies. “The cause of the disease has not been fully understood. For instance, in an early stage it could be a genetic mutation, but in a late stage it can arise from a complex series of changes in which a combination of factors may be involved, such as lifestyle, environmental or genetic,” said to El Economista Nuria Marcos, Medical and Regulatory Affairs Director Mexico and Central America at Lundbeck MAC.
The key issue to develop a drug that cures Alzheimer’s is that the disease is thought to begin 20 years before symptoms arise, with changes in the brain that are unnoticeable, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. There are five FDA-approved drugs to treat symptoms of the disease: donepezil, approved in 1996 for every stage; rivastigmine, approved in 2000 for every stage; galantamine, approved in 2001 for early to middle stages; memantine, approved in 2003 for middle to late cases; and aducanumab, which was approved on June 7, 2021.
WHO expects 82 million people will suffer dementia by 2030 and 152 million people by 2050. Mexico is becoming a country with more elder people than under-5-year-olds and by 2050 the ratio of children under 15-years-old will decrease from 30 percent to 17.4 percent, according to the National Institute of Public Health. Public and private healthcare strategies will include more elder-oriented treatments, such as dementia. In Mexico, over 350,000 people are affected by Alzheimer's disease and 2,030 patients die from it annually. It is estimated that one in three adults will face this disease. Deaths from Alzheimer's and dementia increased by 16 percent during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Ministry of Health urged individuals to inform themselves about the disease: “Early detection and diagnosis will not stop or reverse the disease, but will give the patients the opportunity to receive greater benefits from treatment.”