Although Alzheimer’s is still listed as an incurable neurodegenerative disease, medical science has come a long way in terms of offering treatment options. Whereas Alzheimer-related neurodegeneration was once deemed an inevitable and unstoppable condition, the situation is no longer as hopeless. There are promising treatment and care options that can slow down the progression and lessen the impact of Alzheimer’s. Additionally, there is evidence to suggest that certain measures can even help in reducing our chances of developing Alzheimer’s considerably.
However, the most surprising and potentially game-changing claim ever made about Alzheimer’s disease came to light just recently. In a shocking new development, scientists at the Krembil Brain Institute have proposed with compelling evidence that Alzheimer’s is an autoimmune disease. Although the proposal is yet to be accepted widely, it has potential to bring forth brand-new and much more effective options to the table for treating Alzheimer’s.
Treating Alzheimer’s as an Autoimmune Disease
If Alzheimer’s is proven and accepted as an autoimmune disease, that would mean the previously identified abnormal protein called beta amyloid is not abnormal at all. The new theory does not challenge the previously established fact about beta amyloids being responsible for the protein clumps that typify Alzheimer’s. However, researchers at the institute are claiming to have identified the reason why these proteins form clusters that kill off brain cells.
How This Can Change Almost Everything
All present research and medication are predicated on findings that identify the very presence of high beta amyloid levels in a human brain as abnormal. The new research disagrees that beta amyloids are abnormal but instead identifies them as immunopeptides, which elevate as a perfectly normal and quite essential immune response to pathogens.
In a normal brain, beta amyloids would not only help the brain fight off infections, but they would also help in repairing brain damage after a trauma or a clot. Unfortunately, if someone develops Alzheimer’s disease, the same proteins start to attack the very brain they are supposed to protect. As that’s what defines an autoimmune disease, the implications here could change our very understanding of Alzheimer’s as a neurodegenerative disease.
What It Will Not Change
Reclassification of the disease could be monumental for medical science and future patients, but it will not have any immediate effect on how the disease is affecting patients today. If you or anyone close to you has developed signs of dementia, living alone is still not an option. Just search for ‘senior living near me’ plus the desired location to go through nearby assisted living communities.
It will take a long time to adopt changes and redirect new research against Alzheimer’s, and that is assuming this new data is indeed found to be conclusive enough to change research directions. While that could change almost everything from a medicinal standpoint, most aspects of managing Alzheimer’s will not change for the foreseeable future.
The good news is that there is nothing in the research to suggest that external management methods such as memory care programs, regular social interactions, brain stimulation, and increased physical activity will be any less effective in slowing down Alzheimer’s, even if it is an autoimmune disease.