University Of Kansas Carries Out Research On Dementia

By klaireaustria

Dec 03, 2016 07:00 PM EST

A local study recently published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, offered positive signs on what has long been a bleak landscape. It showed that the rate of dementia in people 65 and older had decreased from 11.6 percent in 2000 to 8.8 percent in 2012 for reasons that, not fully understood, researchers are exploring.

The fact remains that one out of every three people over age 85 in the U.S. - and at least one out of 11 over age 65 - now has clinical Alzheimer's.

Researchers at the University of Kansas Alzheimer's Disease Center think so, too.

Over the past five years, the center at in Fairway has established itself as one of the top research centers in the nation dedicated to attacking Alzheimer's disease.

In 2011, the National Institute on Aging, part of the National Institutes of Health, awarded the university center $6 million over five years for research. Last month, the center won an additional $8.5 million for research through 2021. The National Institutes of Health has designated it one of 31 national centers of excellence on Alzheimer's.

Each center has its own Alzheimer's research mission.

At University of Kansas, the focus is on prevention - stalling or stopping the disease by looking precisely into how exercise, experimental medications and diet (including a low-carb Mediterranean diet heavy on fish, nuts and olive oil) may boost the body's metabolism to combat or protect against the disease.

No one has found a single cause or cure for Alzheimer's. Only two classes of drugs even exist to stall some symptoms, with the most recent drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration 13 years ago. But strides are being made on every front.

Research at University of Kansas has so expanded since 2011 - with nearly 1,000 volunteers taking part in some 75 Alzheimer's studies - that the center is now actively looking to enroll 700 additional volunteers (age 60 and over, healthy people with no signs of Alzheimer's, as well as those with some impairment) to be part of studies on exercise, diet and medication over the next three to five years.

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