No effective treatment currently exists for Alzheimer's, the most common type of dementia. The disease often presents initially with mild memory loss and can progress to the point where it seriously affect's a person's ability to complete day-to-day activities, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
As many as 5 million Americans were living with the disease in 2014, the last year for which data was available, according to the CDC. Younger people sometimes get Alzheimer’s, but symptoms often appear after age 60, the agency reported.
“If the onset of the disease could be delayed by even five years, that would be enormous for patients and their families,” Dr. Doris Lambracht-Washington, the study’s senior author, said in a news release. “The number of dementia cases could drop by half.”
Several other therapies are also being researched and tested to treat the disease.