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September 21 is dedicated to the fight against Alzheimer’s disease. Very committed against this form of dementia, the Foundation for Medical Research (FRM) takes stock of the progress of research.
Alzheimer’s disease in a few figures
The most widespread form of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease affects nearly one million people in France and each year, 225,000 new cases are diagnosed. Alzheimer’s disease alone accounts for 60 to 70% of dementia cases, with 40% of male patients versus 60% of female patients.
At present, there are approximately 3 million people in France directly affected by the disease, including caregivers. A figure that could increase very quickly due to growing estimates for the years to come: 2.1 million people could be victims of this disease by 2040, among those over 65 years old.
First cause of heavy dependency
First cause of heavy dependence in the elderly, Alzheimer’s disease is therefore the subject of much research, to try to eradicate this incurable pathology one day. Four lines of work are put forward by the FRM:
- Better characterize the genetic component of Alzheimer’s disease, to diagnose it earlier and open up new therapeutic avenues;
- Explore exposure to pesticides, to identify people at risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and put in place preventive measures and therapeutic means;
- Understand the links between memory and energy metabolism, to find early biomarkers of Alzheimer’s disease, predicting the onset of symptoms;
- And finally, to understand whether common infections in humans can have an impact on Alzheimer’s disease, to identify predictive biomarkers and implement preventive measures.
Laury Thilleman, aware of the disease
For the past two years, Laury Thilleman, now a journalist, host and author, has been recounting her recent commitment to the Foundation for Medical Research, against Alzheimer’s disease: “It has been two years now that I wanted to make my contribution against this disease, with the Foundation. I am particularly affected by this illness, because my grandmother, Yvonne, 85, has been sick for 10 years. Her day-to-day memory frays – she may forget that she just went shopping and wants to go – while her old memory and childhood memories are intact. A bit like a knitted sock whose upper stitches come undone little by little, while those at the bottom remain firmly anchored together” says Laury Thilleman.
Enable the general public to better understand the disease
For Laury Thilleman, her commitment must be the means for the general public to understand the disease. “I am lucky to be able to meet scientists, with whom I get information, I learn the latest advances in research. What I want is to popularize this information, to make it accessible, because we are all affected by Alzheimer’s disease and we will be even more so in the future, and perhaps more, because we live in a world so connected that we no longer make our memory work! This is why I want to invite all those who can give to advance research against forgetting to do so, for all of us. concludes the young woman.