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Dementia May Be 'Controllable' Like HIV, Research Institute Says

Dec 16, 2016 11:50 AM EST
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Dementia May Be "Controllable" Like HIV, Research Institute Says
The new Dementia Research Institute in Britain wants to make dementia as "controllable" as HIV, if its research in the matter proves to be fruitful in the next few years. This can prove helpful to a lot of people suffering from the condition, which has baffled people in the scientific field for decades.
(Photo : Photo by Joern Pollex/Getty Images)

The new Dementia Research Institute in Britain wants to make dementia as "controllable" as HIV, if its research in the matter proves to be fruitful in the next few years. This can prove helpful to a lot of people suffering from the condition, which has baffled people in the scientific field for decades.

Alzheimer's may in some cases be even be managed by 2025, according to Bart De Strooper, head of the DRI. There is even a chance that the research may help the brain "rewire" itself and restore lost mental ability once progress of the disease has been halted.

According to the Independent, this proclamation was made after the announcement of his announcement as the director of the UK DRI.

The world-renowed Belgian neuroscientist told the Press Association that he hopes a lot of patients can be treated with the disease the same way people with HIV are treated today.

He added that the brain is the most "plastic organ" we have, meaning if we could stabilise the disease at an early stage, the brain may regain some of its lost functions.

De Strooper is currently putting together a multi-disciplinary team of doctors, biologists, engineers and data specialists working from centers across the UK. 

The scientist also wants to broaden the research beyond the "amyloid hypothesis," since a lot of work on the matter has been focused on this theory. According to NWE Mail, the hypothesis places clumps of sticky protein fragments in the brain known as beta-amyloid as the leading cause of the disease.

These "plaques" have been recognized as the "icon" for Alzheimer's, but its purpose is yet to be revealed. De Stooper said dementia is probably more complicated than the amyloid hypothesis, in a way similar to cancer, and that it may also be driven by a lot of factors. 

According to the Financial Times, the Strooper added the priority of the DRI on its first year is to improve the world's mechanistic understanding of the disease via a multi-disciplinary approach. He added this is because modern medicine is already inherently multi-disciplinary. This is especially in the fields such as genetics, bio-informatics and engineering.  

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