Alzheimer's disease progresses at various paces and presents an ongoing challenge for senior caregivers. The Alzheimer's Association International Conference met in Vancouver this week and announced the first medication that is showing positive results in clinical trials for slowing or halting the progression of the disease. The treatment is an immune therapy called IVIG/Gammagard that has been given intravenously for 3 years to a small group of participants.
The medication, made by Baxter International, follows 9 years of no new drug therapies being announced for the disease. The participants in this therapy did not show improvement in most of the symptoms of Alzheimer's that they already had, but they also did not show any further decline on measures of cognition, memory or daily functioning or mood over the three years.
The U.S. government has announced a plan to prevent Alzheimer's disease by 2025. As the cost of senior care can in a nursing home or in the home with a full-time caregiver be as much as $80,000 per year, this is good news.