PHOENIX - There is no cure for Alzheimer's, but researchers in Phoenix may be inching closer in a revolutionary fight to change that. The disease affects millions of Americans, with more and more people being diagnosed every day.
Now there may be a way you can help.
At 76 years old, Dirk P. Walter is healthy, but his family history makes him predisposed to Alzheimer's.
“I now know that I have a higher level of amyloid plaque and I have a gene that may lead to Alzheimer's,” Walter said.
That's why he's taking part in the Banner Alzheimer's Institute's A4 study, which attempts to slow or reverse the disease.
“The reason I got involved is my mother passed away as a result of Alzheimer’s at the age of 71,” Walter said.
Dr. Anna Burke is primary investigator.
“Build up of amyloid plaque in the brain is one of the risk factors of developing Alzheimer’s disease,” Burke said. "If we can somehow interrupt it and eliminate the plaque, we can minimize the damage that’s being done to the brain.”
Amyloid growth is associated with memory loss and Alzheimer's. Banner researchers scan patients like Walter to see how much amyloid is on the brain, then give them the drug. Finally, they test to see if there are any changes.
“We can prevent symptoms and we can keep them healthy and functional longer,” Burke said.
Without any big warning signs now, Walter continues with the trial.
“So far the testing is showing I have no signs of it,” he said.
He hopes this new study will lead doctors to a cure.
Banner is looking for more participants for this Alzheimer's study. If you're interested, call Banner at 602-839-6500. You can also visit the institute's website.
There are upcoming informational sessions at Banner Alzheimer's Institute on July 29 at 9:30 a.m., Aug. 26 at 10 a.m., and Sept. 23 at 10 a.m.