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老年痴呆症研究人员将焦点转向预防措施

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小编摘要:随着人们的寿命越来越长,开发防止痴呆药物或疫苗的压力也越来越大。健康与人类服务的秘书凯思琳•西贝利厄斯称现在确定优先事项和协调研究将为以后节省时间。

老年痴呆症研究人员将焦点转向预防措施



As people live longer, there is growing pressure to develop a drug or vaccine that stops dementia.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius says setting priorities and coordinating research now will save time later.

"We've made the first historic investment of funds and a 15 year commitment to prevention and treatment," she said.

In the past, the disease could be diagnosed only by doing an autopsy after the patient died.

Alzheimer's researcher Ronald Petersen says new methods now can provide evidence while the patient is still alive.

"We use biomarkers, various imaging tests, blood tests, spinal fluid tests that are going to tell us that these are in fact indicators of what the disease is going to be," he stated.

In images provided by the Banner Alzheimer's Institute in Phoenix, Arizona, you can see the progression of the disease.

Inside the brain of an aging patient, the dark areas are formed by plaques - made up of the amyloid protein - and tangles - composed of another protein called tau. The result is a loss of brain cells and neurons responsible for memory and learning.

During a national summit last month on Alzheimer's research, two promising clinical trials generated a lot of interest. In this trial, patients already showing signs of Alzheimer's are given nasal syringes of insulin that push the drug into the neurons of the brain.

"Nearly three-quarters of participants showed improvement in memory over the four-month period, a 50 percent improvement," said Dr. Suzanne Craft, who is in charge of the study..

But another study may promise earlier treatment to actually prevent the disease. Two years ago, New York Times reporter Pam Belluck and a photographer traveled to Colombia to visit an extended family afflicted by early onset Alzheimer's. Approximately one-third carry a genetic mutation that brings on the disease while they in their '30s and '40s. Belluck says the healthier, older generation, often cares for younger victims.

"They may be bedridden. They need to be fed. They may need to be diapered. They're also agitated," Belluck spoke with VOA via Skype.

Early next year, a team of American scientists and Colombian doctors will begin a five-year clinical trial of more than 3,000 members of the family. Not all of the patients carry the genetic marker and some will get a placebo.

The head of the American team, Dr. Eric Reiman, says the immunization drug being tested is designed to clear the amyloid quickly from the brain.

"If we intervene sufficiently early before the disease has ravaged the brain, we think these treatments might have their best shot of having a profound effect," he said.

Pam Belluck says the Colombian family members are anxious for something - or someone - to help them. Facing a grim future, many say they are willing to step forward if it will help them and future generations.

随着人们的寿命越来越长,开发防止痴呆药物或疫苗的压力也越来越大。
健康与人类服务的秘书凯思琳•西贝利厄斯称现在确定优先事项和协调研究将为以后节省时间。
“我们已经进行了第一次历史性的资金投资及15年的承诺来预防和治疗。”她说道。
在过去,这种疾病只有病人死后通过尸体解剖才可以被诊断出。
老年痴呆症研究员罗纳德•彼得森称现在的新方法可以在病人仍活着的时候提供证据。
“我们使用生物标志物,各种影像测试,血液测试,脊髓液测试,这些会告诉我们,实际上指示器会告诉我们病情的走势。”他说道。
从亚利桑那州凤凰城贝纳老年痴呆症研究院所提供的图像中,你可以看到疾病的进程。
在这个上了年纪的病人的大脑内,由斑块所形成的暗区,其组成物淀粉蛋白和缠结结合形成另一种被称为tau蛋白的物质。其结果是造成脑细胞和负责记忆和认知神经元的损失。
在上个月对老年痴呆症的研究的一次国际峰会上,2个有前景的临床试验引起了极大关注。在这次试验中,已经有老年痴呆症迹象的患者被鼻注射胰岛素,而药物进入大脑的神经元。
“近四分之三的参与者表明在为期四个月的疗程中记忆得到改善,近百分之五十的改善,”负责这项研究的苏珊娜博士•克劳馥博士说道。
但另一项研究可能承诺早期治疗来真正避免疾病。2年前,纽约时报记者潘姆•贝拉克和摄影师前往哥伦比亚拜访一个遭受早发性老年痴呆症的大家庭。约三分之一是在他们30岁到40岁间由于携带的遗传突变引发疾病。贝拉克称相对健康的人们,年老的一代经常关注年轻的受害者。
“他们可能卧床不起。他们需要有人喂饭。他们可能需要换尿布。但他们的情绪非常激动。”贝拉克通过电话与美国之音联系时说道。
明年年初,美国科学家们和哥伦比亚医生们组成的队伍将开始为期五年对3000多名家庭成员的临床实验。不是所有携带的遗传标记的患者而一些人将得到安慰剂。
美国队的领导埃里克•雷曼博士表示进行免疫药物测试的目的是迅速清除脑中的淀粉物质。
“如果我们在疾病破坏大脑前的早期进行足够的干预,我们认为这些治疗可能会带来深远的影响。”他说道。
潘姆•贝拉克称哥伦比亚家庭成员都渴望一些物品或一些人的帮助。面对严酷的未来,许多人表示如果能够帮助他们后代,他们愿意向前。

标签:voa standard
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2012-06-06 19:39 编辑:pliny
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