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What promise has research given Alzheimer's patients?

Everyone who has ever had a loved one affected by Alzheimer's hopes that one day, scientists will develop a cure. This sentiment is probably true for many of our New York readers who may have a family member or loved one living with this disabling disease right now.

According to recent data, 5.2 million people are living with Alzheimer's in the United States at present time. The disease affects roughly 13 percent of people over the age of 65; and as a person ages, their risk of developing it increases.

Right now, Alzheimer's is the No. 1 cause of dementia, which many consider to be just as debilitating of a disease.

But science made a number of breakthroughs in Alzheimer's research in 2014. Several studies identified factors that could lead to Alzheimer's and dementia later in life such as a vitamin D deficiency, excessive drinking, and even poor physical fitness. These problems can easily be addressed earlier in life, which could be incredibly beneficial later on.

Researchers and scientists alike have also found a number of non-invasive treatments for these degenerative brain diseases. Consider for a moment your physical fitness. Just as poor cardiovascular health can lead to heart disease, researchers believe the same could be true for the brain. Staying physically and mentally healthy, along with taking fish oil, may be able to improve memory and decrease a person's risk of developing Alzheimer's or dementia.

While exercising and taking fish oil supplements is a relatively inexpensive way to reduce your chances of developing a degenerative brain disease, another treatment discovered this year may not be as wallet friendly. Called TMS, or transcranial magnetic stimulation, this non-invasive procedure "delivers an electric current to specific parts of the brain using a magnet" in order to stimulate areas of the brain associated with language skills and memory.

Even though science still has a long way to go before a cure is discovered, these new advancements in Alzheimer's research show that we may be on the cusp of a break through, which is a hope many of our readers are happy to hold on to.

Source: Fox News, "5 things researchers learned about Alzheimer's this year," Lacie Glover, Sept. 10, 2014

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