Star Wars is all anyone is talking about these days, so I supposed it’s appropriate to be blogging about “a new hope.” (For those who’ve been hiding under an asteroid for the last forty years, A New Hope is the retroactively applied subtitle for the original Star Wars film.)
Over the last year or so, I’ve had the opportunity to tell you about a lot of really encouraging advances in the war on dementia:
- Scientists discovered that a cancer drug might provide beneficial treatment for dementia patients.
- A new study found preventative correlation between dementia and physical exercise.
- We now know about early warning signs, including a sudden change in one’s sense of humor.
…And that’s only scratching the surface.
I’ve frequently commented on how encouraging it is to see so much research springing forth, especially given that dementia was essentially a profound scientific mystery for so many years.
Well it turns out that I’m not the only one to notice the trend. A new report in the Independent says that scientists believe 2016 may be their breakthrough year. They’re confident precisely because 2015 brought them so many advances in their fundamental understanding of this terrible disease.
To be clear, no one is talking about a cure. There may never be one, and if there is, it’s likely a long way off. It’s important that we not conjure up any false hope — the reality is that dementia progress is still in its relative infancy.
But each new morsel of knowledge pertaining to prevention and treatment represents a significant milestone, not only for people already suffering dementia but also for those who might otherwise receive new diagnoses in the decades ahead.
Let’s hope 2016 is every bit as momentous as dementia experts expect it to be (and then some). If these are the Dementia Wars, may 2016 be the year that Science Strikes Back.