What Are Some Major Breakthroughs in Treating Alzheimer's?


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Major breakthroughs in treating Alzheimer's include the first Alzheimer's drug getting FDA approval in 1993 and a vaccine being effective in preventing mice from developing Alzheimer's-like brain malfunctions in 1999. They also include the beginning of the National Alzheimer's genetics study in 2003, according to the Alzheimer's Association.

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In 1993, researchers were able to identify the first Alzheimer's risk factor gene, apolipoprotein-E on chromosome 19. It increases the risk for Alzheimer's but does not guarantee a person develops the disease, notes the Alzheimer's Association. That same year, Cognex appeared as the first drug to help improve memory symptoms. In 1995, researchers were able to develop the first mouse model with brain pathology similar to Alzheimer's by inserting a human gene with known Alzheimer's associations into the mice. Four years later, researchers were able to prove that injecting mice with beta-amyloid can be effective in preventing them from developing plaques and other neural Alzheimer's symptoms.

As of 2015, there are five medications with approval from the FDA available to treat Alzheimer's disease, explains the Alzheimer's Association. In 1996, Aricept was approved for all stages of Alzheimer's, and in 2001, Razadyne was approved for mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease. Namenda, Exelon and Namzaric were all approved in later years as treatment medications.

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