How can I prevent Alzheimer’s? Are there any treatments out there for people who already have it?
“Those are the two things people want to know,” says P. Murali Doraiswamy, director of the Neurocognitive Disorders Program at Duke University School of Medicine, and co-author of “The Alzheimer’s Action Plan.”
Alzheimer’s, the most common form of dementia, affects 6.2 million Americans 65 and older. It is one of the most feared diseases and also one of the most elusive in terms of treatment and cure.
On Monday, the Food and Drug Administration approved the first Alzheimer’s drug in nearly two decades, Biogen’s aducanumab, which will be sold under the brand name Aduhelm. The approval of the drug came after years of research and doubts over its effectiveness.
The approval is “a positive step in the right direction,” says Dr. Doraiswamy. It’s important, though, that clinicians and patients temper their expectations, he says, noting that not everyone with Alzheimer’s disease qualifies, and the benefits and effects are not “dramatic.”