Alzheimer’s disease is a type of dementia that’s caused by a build-up of proteins around the brain. It’s not entirely clear how or why these protein deposits begin, but it can be a long process that starts years before symptoms develop.
There’s currently no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, and all available treatments aim to relieve and slow down symptoms.
But, the US has just approved the first new treatment for Alzheimer’s for nearly 20 years.
Aducanumab aims to treat the underlying cause of the condition, as opposed to the symptoms.
It’s still not approved for use in the UK, but at least 100,000 people could be suitable for the drug if it were to become available at a later date.
READ MORE: Alzheimer’s drug ‘targets the cause of dementia’ – Dr Hilary
Early symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease
Forgetting about recent conversations or events
Forgetting the names of places and objects
Trouble thinking of the right word
Repetitively asking the same questions
Poor judgement or difficulty making decisions
Becoming less flexible and more hesitant to try new things
Middle-stage symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease
Increasing confusion and disorientation – for example, getting lost, or wandering and not knowing what time of day it is
Obsessive, repetitive or impulsive behaviour
Delusions (believing things that are untrue) or feeling paranoid and suspicious about carers or family members
Problems with speech or language (aphasia)
Changes in mood, such as frequent mood swings, Depression and feeling increasingly anxious, frustrated or agitated
Difficulty performing spatial tasks, such as judging distances
Seeing or hearing things that other people do not (hallucinations)