Announcements were made today and emailed to me by several people. The rules have been loosened to permit the development of medications to stall or prevent Alzheimer's disease before symptoms occur or soon thereafter. The proof of effectiveness of the new medications will be improvements on working memory tests rather than on activities of daily living, which deteriorate quite late into the progression of the disease.The good news to compare this rules change to is the notification this week that the medications that control AIDS, when given really early after a diagnosis CAN and HAVE cured people.
Of course there are no such medications available today. For now we simply must change our eating and exercise habits, participate in challenging and novel intellectual activities and be as aware of our aging brains as we are of our aging bodies.
While fear of Alzheimer's disease is causing many baby boomers and older adults great anxiety, will taking more medications ease that fear? Will anti-dementia meds be the new Prozac?
Would this be good or bad?
For me, this is a wonderful new ruling which I hope authorizes the release of new medications quickly. Although books like The Prozac Nation showed the pendulum of public expectation of happiness to soar, and consequently some forms of depression to grow, the creation of SSRI's, which include Prozac and Paxil and others, has helped countless people to live productive lives less encumbered by depression and anxiety. The hype passed.
Perhaps anxious adults will take the new meds before they are needed, or even without any basis because the tests for cognitive decline are inconclusive at best, but the availability of a cure before too many tangles and plaques kill our memories is a marvelous event to anticipate.