Women are particularly at risk for the disease, making up two-thirds of Alzheimer's cases. Women in their 60s are about twice as likely to develop Alzheimer's disease during the rest of their lives as they are to develop breast cancer, according to data provided by the Alzheimer's Association.
Also at issue is the health of the primary caregivers of those with Alzheimer's and dementia. The emotional stress of caring for someone with the disease has been rated as "high" or "very high," with one-third of caregivers reporting symptoms of depression.
In just a decade, deaths related to Alzheimer's have increased by 68 percent! "Alzheimer's disease is the only cause of death among the top 10 in America that cannot be prevented, cured or even slowed," the Alzheimer's Association reported.
However, recent scientific breakthroughs involving turmeric, a popular, ancient Indian spice, offers new hope for those affected by Alzheimer's disease.
Researchers now believe that turmeric could be key in helping repair brain damage in humans.
"Curcumin has demonstrated ability to enter the brain, bind and destroy the beta-amyloid plaques present in Alzheimer's with reduced toxicity," said Wellington Pham, Ph.D., assistant professor of Radiology and Radiological Sciences and Biomedical Engineering at Vanderbilt University and senior author of the study.
Accumulation and aggregation of protein fragments, known as beta-amyloid, drives the irreversible loss of neurons in Alzheimer's disease.
Developing small molecules to reduce this accumulation or promote its demolition is crucial, but the ability of these small molecules to cross the blood-brain barrier has been a restricting factor for drug delivery into the brain.