In a previous article, La Voz covered the devastating effects of Alzheimer’s disease. The disease impacts your memory and other functions of the brain. Statistics suggest 5.5 million people in America are currently living with Alzheimer’s or dementia.
The disease is troublesome for Latinos too, specifically because of the Hispanic paradox. The Hispanic paradox is the fact that Latino’s life expectancy is longer than other ethnicities. As you age, it is more likely that you will suffer from Alzheimer’s.
“The fascinating piece is Latinos are more at risk and 50 half times more likely to get Alzheimer’s,” said Marissa Volpe to La Voz in a previous article. Volpe is the diversity and inclusion coordinator for the Alzheimer’s Association of Colorado.
There have been numerous medical attempts to find a cure for Alzheimer’s, but they have failed. Some of those attempts have caused people’s brains to bleed and swell up. However, the Colorado University Anschutz Medical Campus might have found the answer to combat the disease.
That answer is called Leukine and it has shown promise because results suggest it is safe for people with Alzheimer’s. One of the first steps in combating Alzheimer’s is removing plaque that leads to Alzheimer’s spreading outside of nerve cells in the brain. When the drug was tested in mice it removed the plaque.
Dr. Huntington Potter, Director of Alzheimer’s research at the Colorado University Anschutz Medical Campus, reports that Leukine removed the plaque from mice quickly and without causing any devastating damage.
Potter reports that these tests show that people affected by Alzheimer’s began to show significant cognitive improvements. However, he called the development “cautiously very positive.”
The development of a cure, or the slowing down of Alzheimer’s in the brain is stunning. In 2016 Potter and his associates were awarded $1 million over two years from the Alzheimer’s Association to continue research on Leukine.
The Alzheimer’s Association partnered with a fundraising initiative to grant the money to Colorado University Anschutz Medical Campus and three other places. The fundraising initiative was led by philanthropist Mikey Hoag.
When my father passed away from Alzheimer’s, I decided to use my personal story to rally others in support of Alzheimer’s research. When my mother started to show signs of the disease, I knew I had to kick these efforts into high gear,” said Hoag.
Colorado University Anschutz Medical Campus is using the money for further testing on humans. If the drug is successful it can benefit not only those who suffer from the disease, to include Latinos who are more at risk than other ethnic groups.