Neurodegenerative disease: En route to early detection and prevention
This lecture will highlight our current understanding and recent developments in the field of neurodegenerative disease research, as well as the future of diagnostics and treatment of neurodegenerative diseases. Speaker: Nir Giladi.
Neurodegeneration is becoming the number one problem of healthcare and health policy in today's world. It is currently the main cause of dementia, parkinsonism and behavioral changes of the second half of life. The dramatic increase in longevity is doubling the number of people with dementia and behavioral problems, as well as the number of people suffering from motor disturbances and falls.
With neurodegeneration becoming a modern epidemic, it is necessary not only to treat symptoms, but also to prevent Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, ALS, Huntington's disease and other neurodegenerative disorders.
Modern understanding of neurodegenerative brain disorders associates mis-folded protein aggregations with the primary pathological process. Protein aggregations that start either within the brain or in the peripheral autonomic nervous system spread slowly, over a period of 1-3 decades, to neighboring structures. After many years they reach a critical degree of brain degeneration that causes mild symptoms of cognitive decline and movement disorders. Only then the clinical diagnosis is made and symptomatic therapy is initiated.
Recent research has detected many biological markers that reflect the sub-clinical neurodegenerative process in its prodromal phase. This ability to detect the early stages of neurodegeneration enables us to better characterize populations at risk. It has brought up for the first time, the possibility of prevention of Alzheimer's disease or Parkinson's disease, or even Huntington's disease and ALS. New therapeutic strategies are already in phase 2 and 3 of clinical trials using monoclonal antibodies, small molecules or anti-sense technology, in order to slow down or even stop the progression of those devastating brain disorders.
- The aging brain and its diseases
- Prevalence of neurodegenerative diseases
- Early signs of neurodegenerative diseases
- Protein aggregation and cellular degeneration in neurodegenerative diseases
- Pathophysiology of neurodegenerative diseases