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FDA: Research should focus on earlier Alzheimer stages

October 10, 2016
by Pamela Tabar, Editor-in-Chief
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Early detection of a disease usually improves the prognosis, but for those with Alzheimer’s early detection could mean everything. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is encouraging more research on the earliest stages of the disease, hoping that new drugs can be developed to buy the brain some time before the damaging effects set in.

In the past 20 years, only five new Alzheimer’s drugs have received FDA approval, and most target the symptoms of full-blown Alzheimer’s Disease. Since 2013, more research has been focused on early stages of cognitive decline, when symptoms are very subtle. The earlier the intervention, the more a treatment can help stave off the progression of the disease, research has shown.

“There may be a window of opportunity to affect the disease before people experience symptoms,” says Eric Bastings, MD, deputy director of the FDA’s Division of Neurology Products, in a recent FDA article.

New research on biomarkers is also helping physicians learn how to diagnose the disease more accurately and increase medical knowledge of its risk factors.

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