June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month and with more than 5 million Americans suffering from the disease, researchers are furiously trying to crack the brain-destroying code. On Tuesday, June 21 Maria Shriver reported for TODAY on a new clinical trial that’s making waves in the Alzheimer’s community — and it’s need for volunteers.
Shriver reports that this new drug, A4, “for the first time, may slow or reverse the disease before symptoms occur.” Alzheimer’s is known to be associated with the buildup of a protein, called amyloid, in the brain. This protein has been linked with cognitive decline and memory loss. “The A4 drug, administered once a month, is designed to stop amyloid buildup,” reports Shriver. It is designed to be given to patients that show early warning signs of Alzheimer’s.
The three-and-a-half year double blind study of this A4 drug, whose lead researcher , Harvard neurologist, Dr. Reisa Sperling spoke with Shriver for the report, “will monitor patients’ cognitive skills and brains to see if those on the drug do better than those on a placebo.” The study is still looking for about another 400 people to sign up, at research centers all across the country.
“We’re really trying to detect Alzheimer’s disease before symptoms and try to prevent people from developing the devastating memory loss,” said Sperling, adding, “we want to help people live their lives with dignity and end their lives ballroom dancing instead of in nursing homes.”
Maria reports that there are also things you can do now to help prevent Alzheimer’s. She says that “growing research suggests exercise, even breaking a sweat three times a week, can boost your brain. So can what you eat.” Neurologist and bestselling author Dr. David Perlmutter, says that “your food choices are fundamentally important in choosing your brain’s destiny. He suggests a diet with foods that are high in prebiotic fiber, antioxidants, and good fats, in order to protect the brain.
Maria reports that, “while lifestyle changes can help, experts say they are not an Alzheimer’s cure.” Doctors all around the country are looking for more people to volunteer in the many clinical trials currently taking place, including the A4 clinical trial.
Watch the full TODAY report here to learn more about these clinical trial and how to sign up.