On Monday, the US Food and Drug Administration on Monday approved the use of the aducanumab, an experimental drug, making it the first Alzheimer’s drug to gain approval by the group in over two decades. The drug was approved as part of the FDA’s Accelerated Approval pathway, “for a serious or life-threatening illness that may provide meaningful therapeutic benefit over existing treatments when the drug is shown to have an effect on a surrogate endpoint that is reasonably likely to predict a clinical benefit to patients and there remains some uncertainty about the drug’s clinical benefit.” The drug works by removing the buildup of toxic proteins from the brain, believed to be a key factor of the neurodegenerative disease. So, who is a candidate for Aducanumab?
Those who are in the early phases of Alzheimer’s disease—in other words, those who are demonstrating early symptoms of Alzheimer’s. Read on for 10 signs you might be in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, per the Alzheimer’s Association. And to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You Have “Long” COVID and May Not Even Know It.
One of the earliest signs of Alzheimer’s disease is forgetting recently learned information, forgetting important dates of events, repeating the same questions or increasingly having to rely on memory aids or family members to help with things previously handled on their own.
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Many people in the early stages find it difficult to develop or follow a plan or also work with numbers. This can be as harmless as not being able to follow a familiar recipe to having trouble keeping track of bills. Concentration can also be an issue and things might take them much longer to do than before.
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Completing daily tasks can become increasingly difficult for someone in the early stages of Alzheimer’s. This can include having trouble driving to a familiar location, keeping track of a grocery list, or remembering the rules of a favorite game.
If you are losing track of dates, seasons, or passages of time, it could be early Alzheimer’s, specifically if it isn’t happening immediately. You might also forget where you are or how you got there.
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Vision problems can also be a sign of early Alzheimer’s, which can lead to difficulty with balance or trouble reading. They can also have trouble judging distance and determining color or contrast, causing issues with driving.
Another sign of early Alzheimer’s can be having trouble following or joining a conversation. You might stop in the middle of a conversation with no idea how to continue or you might repeat themselves. You might also struggle with vocabulary, struggle to name a familiar object or use the wrong name.
People with early Alzheimer’s might misplace their items and find them in unusual places. This can be losing something and being unable to retrace steps.
You might experience changes in judgement or decision making if you have Alzheimer’s. This can come in the form of making bad money decisions or not paying attention to hygiene.
Holding or following a conversation can become increasingly difficult for someone with early Alzheimer’s. This might lead you to withdraw from hobbies, social activities or other engagements. It can also lead to you having trouble keeping up with a favorite activity or sports team.
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If you are living with Alzheimer’s, you may experience mood and personality changes, such as becoming confused, suspicious, depressed, fearful or anxious. You might also get easily upset.
“The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) always holds out hope that new medications, if found to be safe, effective, and approved by the FDA, will become available to help the millions of families and individuals affected by Alzheimer’s disease,” says the foundation.
“Today’s accelerated approval of Aducanumab by the FDA, the first new Alzheimer’s drug on the market in nearly two decades, provides hope as another important step in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease. We are hopeful that it will improve the quality of life for individuals living with Alzheimer’s disease and their caregivers. Patient access and affordability to all of those in need is of significant importance.
“Under the accelerated approval provisions, which provide patients earlier access to the treatment, the FDA is requiring a new randomized, controlled clinical trial to verify the drug’s clinical benefit. If the trial fails to verify clinical benefit, the FDA may initiate proceedings to withdraw approval of the drug.
“Of course, the FDA’s actions do not signal the finish line in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease. It is essential for the federal government to continue building upon the actions it has taken to increase Alzheimer’s research funding, expand caregiver support services and strengthen America’s ‘dementia infrastructure’ to enhance the diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.” And to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these 19 Ways You’re Ruining Your Body.