BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - The heartbreak of Alzheimer’s disease currently affects about 36 million people. That number could triple in 30 years.
But what if some people who had the elements of disease never suffered with the symptoms? Doctors and researchers at UAB are trying to solve that puzzle.
"It’s worked in cancer and it worked in HIV and it will work in Alzheimer’s Disease,” said Dr. Jeremy Herskowitz, Ph.D, assistant professor of neurology at UAB School of Medicine.
He’s leading the charge on how to treat this disease.
"People are working very hard to try and understand why people develop dementia. When we understand that we know we can develop drugs to treat Alzheimer’s disease,” Dr. Herskowitz said.
Some people will never develop the proteins that cause dementia and then there are others who will.
“They can develop the protein in their brain and develop dementia or they can develop the Alzheimer’s proteins and not develop dementia. We want to do is understand why some don’t develop dementia and why others do,” said Dr. Herskowitz.
Getting to the how and why some people are resilient to the disease is part of Dr. Herskowitz’s research.
UAB has teamed up with the National Institute on Aging to determine why some people are resilient to the disease. It’s a part of $5.5 million, five-year grant Dr. Herskowitz and colleagues at Rush University in Chicago and Emory University in Atlanta will use to help study the disease.
"By understanding it, we hope to design better therapeutics and treatment for people who do develop dementia,” he said.