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The victims of Alzheimer’s disease suffer horribly but in many cases so do their families. Until recently the diagnosis and treatment of this condition was elusive, but medical research has come a long way in the last 20 years and early diagnosis is becoming more likely. Unfortunately there is still no cure for this disease, but the more we know the better off we are.
Here is the Newser summary:
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Alzheimer’s disease is being redefined for the first time in 27 years, with new medical guidelines reflecting the fact that the disease is a “continuum.” Growing evidence shows that Alzheimer’s starts affecting the brain years before dementia symptoms present themselves, and the new guidelines reflect that by dividing the disease into three stages: end-stage dementia, a middle phase involving mild problems, and a symptomless beginning stage where the brain has already begun to change.
“I think we’re going to start to identify it earlier and earlier,” says one expert. The new guidelines are concerned with measuring biomarkers, or indicators that a person will likely develop dementia, in clinical trial patients, the New York Times reports. The Wall Street Journal notes that earlier diagnosis of the disease will also allow earlier intervention, and could someday allow patients to take Alzheimer’s-slowing drugs earlier.