A randomised clinical trial for the use of Donanemab indicates that it could slow the progression of Alzheimer’s.
Preserving cognitive function and preventing the spread of Alzheimer’s disease are crucial goals for seniors and their loved ones. While there is no definitive cure for Alzheimer’s, medical research has made significant progress in developing medications that may help slow cognitive decline and improve the quality of life for those affected.
In this blog, we will explore Donanemab and some other medicines used to potentially arrest cognitive decline and the spread of Alzheimer’s disease. We’ll also discuss other activities that seniors can engage in to support brain health and overall well-being.
Cognitive Decline and Alzheimer’s Disease
Cognitive decline refers to the gradual deterioration of cognitive abilities, including memory, thinking, and problem-solving skills. As people age, it is normal to experience some mild cognitive changes, but significant decline may indicate underlying health issues, such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Alzheimer’s is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder characterised by memory loss, confusion, and impaired cognitive function. It is the most common cause of dementia among older adults and affects millions of people worldwide.
Donanemab and Other Medications
Donanemab is an investigational monoclonal antibody designed to target and remove amyloid plaques, which are protein fragments that accumulate in the brain and contribute to Alzheimer’s disease progression. Early clinical trials have shown promising results in slowing cognitive decline and reducing the spread of amyloid plaques in the brain.
In July 2023, the Eli Lilly drug company published results of a new round of donanemab tests. Carried out over 72 weeks, the tests involved intravenous administration of donanemab to a control group of Alzheimer’s patients every four weeks, specifically those with lower tau proteins and showing early clinical symptoms.
The results showed a 35 per cent drop in cases of cognitive decline amongst patients while another 47 per cent reported zero cognitive decline one year into the experiment.
While the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has yet to approve donanemab, the positive results have gained ground with lead stakeholders in Australia’s dementia treatment sector.
“This is another step forward and good news for persons with Alzheimer’s disease and those at high risk of developing it. The results are convincing and consistent with other trials. This drug should be available in the USA this year and hopefully in Australia soon after that,” said Australian Dementia Network director Prof. Christopher Rowe.
“This research also highlights the importance of early diagnosis so people can access treatment and support as soon as possible. We need to raise awareness and understanding of dementia to reduce discrimination and stigma so we can ensure people with concerns about their cognition are seeking information and support as early as possible,” added Dementia Australia CEO Maree McCabe.
While donanemab shows potential, there are other medications approved by the TGA for the symptomatic treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. These medications, including donepezil, rivastigmine, and memantine, work by regulating neurotransmitters in the brain to improve cognitive function, enhance memory, and alleviate some of the associated symptoms.
Individualised Treatment Plans
It is essential for seniors and their healthcare providers to develop individualised treatment plans based on their specific medical history, cognitive status, and overall health. The efficacy and suitability of medications may vary among individuals, and close monitoring is necessary to assess their impact on cognitive function.
The Role of Healthy Lifestyle in Slowing Memory Decline
Engaging in mentally stimulating activities, such as puzzles, reading, and learning new skills, can promote brain health and cognitive function. Mental exercises help keep the brain active and may delay cognitive decline.
Engaging in consistent physical activity has been associated with enhanced brain health. Activities like walking, swimming, or yoga can increase blood flow to the brain, supporting cognitive function.
Eating a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats is beneficial for brain health. Nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants can help protect brain cells and support cognitive function.
Maintaining social connections and participating in social activities can have a positive impact on mental well-being. Social interaction stimulates the brain and helps prevent feelings of Day-to-Day Expensesisolation and depression.
Chronic stress can negatively impact brain health. Seniors can manage stress through relaxation techniques like meditation, deep breathing exercises, or spending time in nature.
Preserving cognitive function and managing Alzheimer’s disease require a comprehensive approach that includes medications, lifestyle choices, and financial planning.
Donanemab and other approved medications offer potential hope in slowing cognitive decline and enhancing the quality of life for seniors with Alzheimer’s. However, it is vital to work closely with healthcare professionals to determine the most appropriate treatment plan for each individual.
The ASAG Reverse Mortgages
If you lack access to health insurance or the ability to save for medical procedures, there is an opportunity to access the equity in your home through our equity release solutions.
The ASAG Reverse Mortgage allows you to access funds for various retirement purposes, ranging from daily expenses to Aged Care. To be eligible for our reverse mortgage, you must be aged 60 or older and own a home in Australia.
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DISCLAIMER: This article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered official medical advice. The Australian Seniors Advisory Group has no business relationships with any pharmaceutical company mentioned or endorse any medicine brand. Please consult your doctor for your options.