In all the talk about ways to ward off dementia (e.g., playing an instrument, reading and writing), is it possible that we could find a cure for the diseases that cause memory loss? While it may seem like too much to hope for, United Kingdom Secretary of Health Jeremy Hunt believes that advances in genetics and pharmaceuticals could lead to a cure for dementia by 2020. That’s seven short years away!
“Finding drugs that can halt or cure dementia may seem a distant prospect now, but there are drugs companies that think they will have a cure for dementia by 2020,” says Hunt.
The UK’s Alzheimer’s Society seems to agree with Hunt, matching his lofty claims: “Studies we’re funding show that drugs which are already licensed for other conditions may also treat dementia. If these are successful, we could have them doubling as treatments for dementia within 10 years.”
While Hunt focuses on the UK’s being the country to bear the distinction of doing it first, I for one don’t care who finds a cure for dementia – just as long as a cure is found.
In the meantime, there is some additional good news for the future of dementia – the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has stated that it will provide some coverage for a potential Alzheimer’s test, though not yet widespread. For those who meet criteria outlined by the agency, CMS proposes covering one PET scan per patient under Medicare.
Though the Alzheimer’s Association is disappointed with the narrow scope of coverage for testing, any talk of scientifically supported Alzheimer’s screening seems to me like a step in the right direction.