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Alzheimer's to be preventable by 2025
Last Updated: 2016-09-23 15:24 | chinadaily.com.cn
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The Alzheimer's disease that are afflicting millions of people worldwide will become preventable in a decade, said a US pharmaceutical company on Wednesday.

Patients that suffer from the disease, which was first described by, and later named after, German psychiatrist and pathologist Alois Alzheimer in 1906, show such symptoms including memory loss, problems with language and loss of bodily functions which ultimately lead to death.

US-based Eli Lilly and Company is coming up with a drug which enables doctors for the first time to detect in early stages amyloid plaques in living brains that are signs of and finally lead to the Alzheimer's disease.

Lilly's Vice President Phyllis Barkman Ferrell told China Daily that the plagues start to build up even 15 to 20 years before the first symptoms emerge, so early intervention can help to slow down the disease before it starts fast deterioration.

"The science has advanced greatly and we at Lilly believe that the Alzheimer's disease will become preventable by 2025," said Ferrell.

The drug has been available in the US, Europe and Japan and is expected to come to China soon for research purposes.

Jia Jianping, a leading Chinese expert in treating Alzheimer's disease, said the disease is "absolutely preventable" and pharmaceutical companies including Lilly are making breakthroughs in diagnostic methods.

He said one third of those diagnosed in the early stages have the chance of improving their cognitive abilities.

Currently drugs available are unsatisfactory, said Jia, as they are symptomatic and cannot slow down the disease.

"That is why I have high hopes for drugs that can modify the disease, such as what Lilly is working on."

Jia calls for building a national surveillance network so that people who are prone to developing the disease can be singled out for treatment as early as possible.

He also urges people to pay more attention to their family members and make medical appointments for them if they show signs of short-term memory loss.

China is home to an estimated 7 million people who suffer from the Alzheimer's disease and the number is expected to double by 2030.

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