Preventing an Epidemic of Alzheimer's Disease
Alzheimer's disease affects about 10 per cent of seniors over the age of 65, and nearly half of people aged 85 and older. The worldwide societal cost of dementia is estimated at $600 billion.
With the cause and underlying mechanisms leading to Alzheimer's disease still undefined, the world is facing a dementia epidemic. No definitive early diagnostic marker has been found and there are no effective disease-modifying treatments for Alzheimer's.
Dr. Weihong Song, Canada Research Chair in Alzheimer's Disease, helped discover that hypoxia (deprivation of adequate oxygen supply) facilitates Alzheimer's disease development—the first time stroke was linked to the disease. Song showed that the epilepsy drug valproate may be able to prevent Alzheimer's disease and improve memory deficits. His work also demonstrated that genetic defects contribute to Alzheimer's disease in Down syndrome patients.
Song is now conducting innovative and crucial studies to identify the molecular mechanisms involved in the cause of dementia. In addition, he is working to discover new biomarkers (indicators of diseases) and drug targets for Alzheimer's disease.
Song's research could lead to ground-breaking discoveries that will help shape the future of dementia research and prevent an epidemic of Alzheimer's disease.