An experimental Alzheimer’s drug – Crenezumab – aimed at slowing or preventing cognitive decline in people at risk of developing the disease early has failed in clinical trials, landing a blow to efforts aimed at finding a treatment to the neurodegenerative disease.
What is Alzheimer’s disease?
- Alzheimer’s is a degenerative brain disorder that slowly robs people of their memory and thinking abilities.
- Worldwide, it is the most common form of dementia or loss of cognitive functioning — thinking, remembering, and reasoning – contributing 60%-70% cases.
- Progressive and irreversible, it usually begins with mild memory loss, and as symptoms grow severe, patients lose the ability to perform even simple tasks.
- The disease was discovered after Dr Alios Alzheimer examined a memory-loss patient’s brain after her death in 1906 and found abnormal clumps (beta-amyloid plaque) and bundles of fibres (neurofibrillary tangles).
- Pathology of the disease is deposition of an abnormal protein called beta-amyloid in the brain. The plaque and tangles, along with loss of connections between the neurons to transmit messages inside the brain, are key markers of the disease.
What is the India scenario?
- In India, only 1 in 10 people with dementia receive any diagnosis, treatment or care for the disease, according to the World Alzheimer’s Report, 2021.
- An increasing prevalence of diabetes, hypertension, and obesity is expected to drive up the incidence of dementia in India in the coming decades.
- According to the Global Burden of Disease study published this year in The Lancet, India could see a 197% jump in dementia, including Alzheimer’s, from 3.84 million cases in 2019 to 11.44 million cases by 2050.