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Alzheimer’s Disease Research: Looking Ahead

As Alzheimer’s disease research continues, it is incredible to look back at how far the research and our understanding of the disease have come. While most think Alzheimer’s disease research began somewhat recently, you may be shocked to know it started in the early 1900s! However, due to the technological restraints of the time, the discovery of Alzheimer’s disease and its research were halted.

Before we go into the research advancements of Alzheimer’s disease, it’s important to answer the question: what is Alzheimer’s disease? Alzheimer’s is a neurodegenerative disease that typically affects those over the age of 65. This disease can cause those diagnosed to have severe memory loss, disorientation, delusion, and mood swings.

While Alzheimer’s disease currently has no cure or way to reverse its effects, there are ways to manage the symptoms. Senior living communities, like Franklin Park® Senior Living in San Antonio, offer memory care services that provide a range of activities and experiences that help those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease maintain an enriched and active lifestyle.

Early Alzheimer’s Research Efforts

As stated above, Alzheimer’s disease was discovered in the early 1900s, but real research efforts did not begin until the mid-1900s. The first Alzheimer’s disease research achievement wouldn’t come until 1931 after the electron microscope was invented. This microscope allowed for magnification up to a million times! Magnification on this level was not achievable until this point and allowed researchers to study the brain in far greater detail.

Roughly 37 years would pass until the next major stepping stone for researching Alzheimer’s disease was crafted. In 1968, the Blessed Dementia Scale was created, giving researchers a scale to measure cognitive function and its decline.

Key Stepping Stones

While early developments laid tracks for today’s researchers, the 1970s through the present have set advancements in place that are paving a road to a better future with more understanding and awareness. The first step in this phase would come in 1974 when Congress established the National Institute on Aging (NIA). The agency undertook the funding and establishment of national Alzheimer’s disease centers in 1984, creating a national network for researchers to collaborate and work with.

Modern Endeavors and Awareness

Alzheimer’s disease research is crucial as the disease continues to affect millions. Research and development of Alzheimer’s disease have pushed us to a new level of understanding of the disease itself and is setting up a logical frame to finding a cure or a way to reverse its effects.

The 1990s pushed out significant developments for Alzheimer’s disease research and awareness. The Food and Drug Administration approved the first drug tasked with treating Alzheimer’s patients, Tacrine, in 1993.  Another major development came in 1994 when former President Ronald Reagan released a handwritten letter to the public announcing he was diagnosed with the disease.

In his letter, he wrote, “Unfortunately, as Alzheimer’s Disease progresses, the family often bears a heavy burden. I only wish there was some way I could spare Nancy from this painful experience. When the time comes, I am confident that with your help, she will face it with faith and courage.”

In more recent years, Alzheimer’s disease research has gained a much brighter and larger spotlight in the public domain. Organizations, like the Alzheimer’s Association, are dedicated to spreading awareness and educating the public about the disease. In 2013, the G8 Summit announced a worldwide effort to research a cure or therapy-altering discovery by 2025!

Living with Alzheimer’s: Memory Care Services

While a cure for Alzheimer’s disease is in development, those diagnosed with memory impairments require assistance and specialized care. Memory care services are designed to improve the quality of life for those with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. These services may vary, as many senior living communities have a unique approach to their memory care services, and Franklin Park® is no different. Our Refreshing Waters® Memory Care program in San Antonio, Texas, takes a person-centered approach that can provide your loved one with a comfortable and enriching experience. Refreshing Waters has a unique “whole-life” philosophy that provides our community members with a level of care designed to recognize the person first and the disease second.

If your loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or a form of dementia and you’re looking for an unparalleled level of care, we encourage you to contact Franklin Park’s Refreshing Waters® Memory Care program. Our communities throughout San Antonio are thoughtfully designed down to the smallest details, with ambiance and atmosphere taken into consideration.