Scientists have studied AD from many angles. They have looked at populations to see how many cases of AD occur every year and whether there might be links between the disease and lifestyles or genetic backgrounds. They also have conducted clinical studies with healthy older people and those at various stages of AD. They have done many studies with laboratory animals. They have begun to look at neuronal circuits and networks of cells to learn how AD pathology develops and spreads. They even have examined individual nerve cells to see how beta-amyloid, tau, and other molecules affect the ability of cells to function normally.
These studies have led to a fuller understanding of many aspects of the disease, improved diagnostic tests, new ways to manage behavioral aspects of AD, and a growing number of possible drug treatments. Findings from current research are pointing scientists in promising directions for the future. They are also helping researchers to ask better questions about the issues that are still unclear.
Part 3 of Unraveling the Mystery describes what scientists are learning from their search for:
- The causes of AD
- New techniques to help in diagnosis
- New treatments
Results from this research will bring us closer to the day when we will be able to delay the onset of, prevent, or cure the devastating disease that robs our older relatives and friends of their most precious possession—their minds.