It has been stated on a Conference on Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders that a drug being used to treat Alzheimer's disease may delay its progression for approximately 1.5 years in people with memory problems.
The report was based on a study conducted by Dr. Ronald L. Petersen, a neurologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., of the drug, Aricept, in people with "mild cognitive impairment," which includes memory problems but not dementia or difficulties in thinking or reasoning.
According to New York Times, Dr. Petersen said the study was the first to find that any treatment could slow the decline of people with mild cognitive impairment.
But he warned that it was premature to recommend the drug for people with mild cognitive impairment. Aricept is approved only to treat Alzheimer's and is said to have just modest benefits for some patients. There is no approved treatment for mild cognitive impairment.
The Alzheimer's Association estimates that 4.5 million Americans have Alzheimer's disease, a degenerative brain disease that slowly wipes out memory and eventually leads to dementia. The risk increases after age 65 and numbers continue to go up each year as the population ages, quotes WebMD.
Marcelle Morrison-Bogorad, PhD, the National Institute on Aging associate director for the Neuroscience and Neuropsychology of Aging Program, says that researchers find themselves in a race against time with many predicting an "epidemic" of Alzheimer's disease by 2050 when an estimated 13.2 million older Americans are likely to have the Alzheimer's disease.