The hunt for new Dementia treatments
Helen Croft, Underwriting and Claims Strategy Manager
Wednesday 6 February 2019
My Grandma was a family matriarch. Her seven sons, 11 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren were the pride of her life. Towards the end of her life she no longer recognised her family and it was heartbreaking.
I'm sure this story will resonate with you as most of us will have known someone affected by dementia. There is no cure and the effects are far-reaching, impacting not just the person with the condition but their support network of family and friends. Alzheimers is the most common form of dementia, accounting for 62% of those diagnosed1.
There are 850,000 people with dementia in the UK, with numbers set to rise to over one million by 20251 and it’s predicted there will be over 135 million people in the world living with dementia by 20502. It's associated with an abnormal build-up of proteins in the brain, which causes nerve cells to deteriorate and ultimately die. As the nerve cells die, different areas of the brain shrink3.
We’ve learnt about:
Early detection: Alzheimer’s is usually diagnosed after symptoms appear, but by this point changes have already taken place in the brain. Scientists are looking for ways to identify high-risk people earlier.
Amyloid: Amyloid is a protein that has been shown to build up in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s and it can build up years before any symptoms show. Research is focusing on controlling levels of amyloid in the brain4.
Tau tangles: Tau is a protein in the brain which is associated with memory loss. Researchers are looking into whether they can prevent death of brain synapses by understanding tau better5.
Blood tests: Doctors may be able to screen for markers of Alzheimer’s in the future, enabling earlier intervention6.
Genetics: There are 27 genes identified which can play a part in developing late onset Alzheimer’s. Scientists are looking at how some of these, for example ApoE, can potentially be used against the onset of Alzheimer’s7.
Repurposing medications: Research is looking at medication used for other conditions to see if they may be used to treat Alzheimer’s8.
How we can help
The average dementia sufferer faces care costs of £100,000 over their lifetime, according to the Alzheimer’s Society9. So while work continues to find a cure for Alzheimer’s, financial support can make all the difference. This is where we can help.
Our Critical Illness with Term Assurance product covers a broad spectrum of major conditions including dementia. We classify dementia (including Alzheimer’s disease) as a Group I critical illness condition, and we’ll pay out the full sum assured if the person covered dies or is diagnosed with the condition and has permanent symptoms. People with dementia will need residential care as the condition progresses and 70% of people in care homes have dementia or severe memory problems3.
Our Care Cover with Whole of Life can help with lifelong care funding if your client is no longer able to live independently. We’re proud to have developed strong links with the Alzheimer’s Society, through various fundraising and charity initiatives and are feeling positive about future breakthroughs. We’ll be watching the progress of this fascinating research closely and hopefully, one day soon, people like my Grandma can be saved from the onset of this disease.
Find out more
To find out how we could help your clients, you can visit our underwriting hub or contact our pre-sales Underwriting team from Monday to Thursday from 8:30am - 8:00pm and Friday 8.30am - 5:30pm on 0345 600 6812.