PET scans could detect Alzheimer's as early as 10 years before people show symptoms of the disease, allowing them to begin treatment earlier.
If the disease is detected ten years in advance it provides a lot of time for treatment and lifestyle change to slow or possibly prevent the occurence of the disease. Plus more and more drugs are being found that can reverse Alzheimer effects.
A study was published recently that showed a drug called AL 108, which is actually a new type of nasal spray, attacks those fibrous tangles. Patients given AL 108 showed significant improvement in short-term memory after just four weeks and exhibited no side effects.
Testing of the drug is in early phase 2 trials.
Functional MRI has been used to detect reduced connectivity between the hippocampus and posterior cingulated cortex in healthy children of parents with Alzheimers.
People with Alzheimer's disease who exercise have less brain damage in the area responsible for learning.
Researchers are finding that many of the modifiable health behaviors, like exercise, diet and smoking, that have been historically associated with heart disease are now associated with the development of dementia.
Those who use blood pressure drugs called angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) were 35 percent to 40 percent less likely to develop Alzheimer's disease or other forms of dementia than people who didn't take the drugs.
Alzheimer's disease at wikipedia
26.6 million people worldwide were afflicted by Alzheimer disease in 2006, which could quadruple by 2050, although estimates vary greatly.
Perhaps half of those 85 or older will get Alzheimer's without improved prevention and lifestyle changes. This will be more of an issue as people live longer through life extension and better treatment of heart disease and cancer.
More on prevention with better diet and drugs