• Question: it there a cure for alzheimer's?

    Asked by emccullagh784 to Amy, Drew, Julia, Kimberley, Sara on 21 Jun 2011.
    • Photo: Sara Imari Walker

      Sara Imari Walker answered on 20 Jun 2011:

      Hello emccullagh. Probably some of the others can answer this better than I can. I know Kimberley is our resident brain expert!!

      My impression of Alzheimer’s disease is that we don’t have a cure, and that is mostly because we don’t know the root cause. I know some people who study amyloid proteins, which are basically proteins “gone wrong” in some sense – they don’t fold like normal proteins in our bodies. Amyloids have some connections to alzheimer’s as some of the cause of the breakdown of mental function is caused by build-up of plaques in the brain, which can be composed of these amyloid type proteins. I don’t think we know why it happens though, so its hard to counteract. I for one know it is hard to watch someone with Alzheimer’s. My husband’s father had it – he was a really great man, and it was terrible to watch him loose his memories. Hopefully future science will help us find a cure!! We certainly are on our way I think.

    • Photo: Julia Griffen

      Julia Griffen answered on 20 Jun 2011:

      What is alzheimers. Well its a degenerative disease often associated with old age and its basically your connections in your brain loosing efficiency.

      I dont think there is a cure as such, I think it has genetic links, so the condition is more likely to run in families. There are medicines I think that can encourage brain cell growth, or minimise decay… not sure tho..

    • Photo: Amy MacQueen

      Amy MacQueen answered on 20 Jun 2011:


      No, unfortunately there is no cure for Alzheimer’s at the moment – although certain drugs can reduce some of the symptoms. Sara is right that there is a build up of amyloid plaques in the brain. There are some drugs available to help treat Alzheimers which mainly try and enhance neuronal function in the brain or reduce aggressive behaviour that can be an outworking of Alzheimers.

      There are lots of people working on this though so hopefully in the near future we wil be closer to finding better treatments and preventative medicines!

    • Photo: Kimberley Bryon

      Kimberley Bryon answered on 21 Jun 2011:

      Short answer is no not yet. Scientists are busy working on the problem though and hopefully there will be a break through in the next few years. A vaccine which might prevent it is currently being developed, I have heard that taking ibuprofen every day can help lessen the likelihood of developing it but I don’t know if there is any truth in it. It is a very sad disease – my great grandmother had it, so I hope we find a cure soon.