Alzheimer’s Association Oklahoma Chapter discusses research advancements in 2022

More than 67,000 Oklahomans are living with Alzheimer’s disease, and 129,000 are providing unpaid care for their loved ones.
Published: Dec. 29, 2022 at 4:47 PM CST
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LAWTON, Okla. (KSWO) - 2022 was a promising year for Alzheimer’s research, including discoveries related to the disease’s causes, risk factors, and treatment.

7News spoke with Ethan Crisp, the Community Outreach Coordinator for the Alzheimer’s Association Oklahoma Chapter, about the year’s advancements.

First and foremost, Alzheimer’s treatments are getting better. A clinical trial of a new drug saw results that slowed participants’ cognitive decline rate by 27% over 18 months. Those are the most encouraging results of treatment for the disease to date.

The FDA is expected to make a decision on accelerated approval of the drug in January 2023. If approved, it will be the second FDA-approved drug in 18 months.

New discoveries also indicate that a daily multivitamin may slow brain aging, thanks to research published in Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association. That study found that taking a daily multivitamin for three years indicated significant cognitive benefit.

One thing that may increase your risk of cognitive decline is frozen pizza, candy, and soda. New research results found that eating a large amount of ultra-processed food can significantly accelerate cognitive decline. The good news is that you can take steps to reduce the risk of cognitive decline as you age. Eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, getting good sleep, staying cognitively engaged, protecting from a head injury, not smoking, and managing heart health are all ways you can help reduce the risk.

Research also found that experiences of racism are associated with lower memory scores and worse cognition in midlife and old age. Black Americans are almost twice as likely, and Hispanic Americans are around one-and-a-half times as likely to have Alzheimer’s or other dementias. That’s according to the 2022 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures Report.

Wearing hearing aids can also potentially reduce the risk of dementia. New research found that those who used hearing restorative devices for hearing loss had a 19% decrease in the risk of long-term cognitive decline. That’s according to data published in JAMA Neurology. That data was discovered five months after the FDA approved over-the-counter hearing aids.

More than 67,000 Oklahomans are living with Alzheimer’s disease, and 129,000 are providing unpaid care for their loved ones. Over a recent 20-year period, deaths from heart disease went down 7.3%, while deaths from Alzheimer’s increased by 145%. In Oklahoma, the Medicaid cost of caring for people with Alzheimer’s was roughly $516 million when last reported in 2020. Those costs will only continue to increase.

The association’s goal is to advance enough in research to one day have the first survivor of Alzheimer’s disease and cure it completely.

For more information, you can visit the Alzheimer’s Association Oklahoma Chapter site here.