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Equip clinical experts with tech tools to drive Alzheimer’s solutions

Article-Equip clinical experts with tech tools to drive Alzheimer’s solutions

Image via Canva Pro alzheimers
Innovative insights and interventions give medical professionals new avenues to treat Alzheimer’s disease.

A substantial demographic shift is underway in the UAE and a significant part of the population is expected to suffer from age-related conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer’s. According to statistics, the year 2050 will see a spike in seniors where approximately 16 per cent of the country’s population — that’s two million people — will be in the age range of 60 and above, adding a burden to healthcare systems.  

Alzheimer’s education and training for caregivers 

A progressive and irreversible neurological disorder, Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, that affects the brain causing memory loss and cognitive decline. In the next three decades, the number of people living with dementia in the UAE could reach 220,000 individuals, according to a study in the Lancet medical journal. These statistics not only make it crucial to increase awareness about the severity of the disease but also require encouraging government entities, healthcare organisations, and medical professionals to focus on addressing the challenges that come with an aging population.  

Related: New drug to slow down Alzheimer’s disease

Healthcare professionals play a significant role in helping educate individuals and communities about the risk factors associated with Alzheimer’s, says Dr. Zemer Wang, Medical Director of Aviv Clinics Dubai. Through periodic screenings and assessments, they can identify early signs and symptoms of cognitive decline, allowing for timely intervention and better management of risk factors contributing to the development of the disease. They can assist with managing symptoms and slow down disease progression by prescribing appropriate medications and recommending lifestyle modifications to individuals previously diagnosed.  

Early intervention can allow medical practitioners effectively connect patients and their families to relevant resources and support services and offer emotional support and counselling to those affected and their families.  

New technology for Alzheimer's  

While education and early intervention have resulted in curbing disease progression, advancements in technology have also increasingly helped in improving communication and tracking in Alzheimer's care. 

Researchers are exploring the use of digital biomarkers, which are objective and quantifiable measures derived from data collected through digital devices. “Biomarkers can provide continuous and remote monitoring of cognitive performance, enabling early detection of changes associated with the disease,” says Dr. Wang.  

He further adds that advanced brain imaging techniques, such as positron emission tomography (PET) scans and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), have significantly contributed to understanding the progression of Alzheimer's disease. These imaging methods can visualise changes in brain structure, detect amyloid plaques and tau tangles, and assess brain metabolism and blood flow patterns. Integrating artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms further enhances the analysis and interpretation of these imaging data, aiding in early detection and monitoring. 

Related: Much-awaited breakthrough for treatment of Alzheimer’s

Additionally, applying artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques to large-scale data including electronic health records, genetic profiles, lifestyle data, and imaging data, can help researchers identify patters, risk factors, and predictive markers associated with Alzheimer's disease progression. This could then lead to personalised approaches for monitoring and intervention.  

Ongoing research and clinical trials aim to better understand the underlying mechanisms of Alzheimer's and develop more effective treatments and preventive strategies. 

On the medical treatment front, options like the Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT), in which a patient breathes 100 per cent oxygen in a pressurised chamber have shown notable strides, says Dr. Wang. “The new protocols of HBOT have been proven to induce the generation of new blood vessels, reduce inflammation, and promote the growth of new neurons in the brain and thus reverse some of the core, common elements that are believed to be responsible for the development of Alzheimer's disease and dementia,” he adds. 

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also recently granted approval for a new drug, Leqembi, designed to slow the progression of the Alzheimer’s. Also known as Lecanemab, it is the second major drug introduced for the treatment of the disease and targets a protein called amyloid which builds up in the brain in people with Alzheimer’s. 

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