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What are some Alzheimer's disease research breakthroughs?

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While there is no cure for Alzheimerメs disease as of 2015, the Alzheimer's Association reports approval of five medications between 1996 and 2014 to slow its progression. Memantine, the newest of these drugs, prevents damage to docking sites for neurotransmitters in the brain.

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Advances in imaging techniques help with Alzheimerメs research. These techniques allow scientists to observe the disease at its earliest stages of development. Scientists are able to visualize abnormal levels of beta-amyloid and tau proteins in a patientメs brain, according to the National Institute on Aging.

In the area of genetics, breakthroughs in understanding early-onset Alzheimerメs, a rare form of the disease affecting people ages 30 to 60, relate to a change in one of three known genes a parent passes to an offspring. Some genetic studies also link the apolipoprotein E, or APOE, gene to late-onset Alzheimerメs, although people with the gene do not always have the disease, and those without it sometimes develop the condition, explains the National Institute on Aging.

Alzheimerメs disease is an irreversible, progressive disease that destroys an individualメs thinking and memory, states the National Institute on Aging. As it progresses, the person eventually loses the ability to do the simplest of tasks. Symptoms normally appear after age 65, and the disease currently affects over 5 million people in the United States.

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