AURORA, Colo. – As Broncos Country reacts to the news of Annabel Bowlen being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease, researchers on the University of Colorado Anschutz campus recently submitted a grant application to further research on Alzheimer’s diagnosis and treatment.
"We are now in a clinical trial with people with Alzheimers Disease and the preliminary results look very encouraging,” said Dr. Huntington Potter PhD, Director of the Rocky Mountain Alzheimer’s Disease Center on the CU Anschutz campus.
Dr. Potter said there is momentum behind the Alzheimer’s drug being tested called Leukine.
"One of the tests for memory called the MMSE actually improved in the people taking Leukine compared to people who took a placebo,” said Dr. Potter.
If approved, the grant would bump up the time for Alzheimer’s treatment research from three to 24 weeks and would allow for a larger number of people to participate.
"We know that through this research is not only what brings hope but what quickens the pace at which we find a treatment or someday a cure,” said Amelia Schafer, Executive Director of the Alzheimer’s Association Colorado Chapter.
Researchers are currently working on new blood tests for Alzheimer’s and looking closer at when the disease starts to develop.
"It starts much earlier than we had thought, probably 20 years before clinical symptoms the first beginnings of the disease have already started,” said Dr. Potter.
The other piece is developing other treatments that can prove to be successful in improving memory.
“We have other drugs that are working their way through the laboratory into the cells, into the mice and hopefully into the people,” said Dr. Potter
A U.S. Poynter's study on Alzheimer's will also be launching soon. The study will look at our lifestyles, including what we eat, how we exercise and the ways we engage our brains. Results hope to point to ways we may be able to lower or eliminate our Alzheimer's risk factors.
Right now, more than 70,000 Coloradans are living with the disease. That number goes up every 65 seconds. Early detection in Alzheimer's makes a big difference for treatment.
"To find out if this is something normal that is happening, if there is something medical happening or if it might be the early stages of Alzheimers. So our top tip is to really get to a doctor,” said Schafer.
The Alzheimer's Association Colorado Chapter offers free resources to help with diagnosis. Those include a helpline, support groups, education classes and advice from counselors on planning for the future through the progressive disease.