Scientists from the Institute of Neurosciences (IN-CSIC-UMH), in Alicante, are working on different lines of research to achieve a future without Alzheimer’s, a disease that will affect more than 82 million people in 2030 worldwide and that will almost be will double in 2050, with 152 million cases.
On the occasion of the celebration of World Alzheimer’s Day today, the researchers highlighted that in line with the motto of the Spanish Alzheimer’s Confederation (Ceafa), ‘InvestigaAcción’, solutions are sought to alleviate “an invisible pandemic”, since it is a of the leading causes of disability and dependency among older people worldwide. In Spain, more than 1.2 million people suffer from it.
In addition, aging is the main risk factor for developing Alzheimer’s. One in 10 people over 65 years of age suffers from this pathology in Spain, and, at 85 years of age, it already affects 3 out of 10 people. The annual cost of this Alzheimer’s pandemic is estimated, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), at around 1% of the countries’ GDP. In Spain, according to figures from the Spanish Society of Neurology, its costs reach 60 million euros per day, 87% assumed by the affected families.
By 2030, one in five people living in Europe and the United States will have reached the age of 65. And by 2035, people over 65 years of age will for the first time outnumber those under 18. As a consequence, the prevention of age-related diseases is of growing importance for public health.
The translational benefits of the research group led by Mª Salud García Ayllón and Javier Sáez Valero lie in the fact that they analyze the alteration of molecular mechanisms in Alzheimer’s, defining a potential diagnostic use and implication in therapy.
The researchers study part of the main mechanisms altered in Alzheimer’s disease and the interrelation between them, works that have led to relevant findings for the treatment of the pathology. Led by José Vicente Sánchez Mut, this team investigates the molecular foundations of age-related cognitive decline and neurodegeneration, with a particular interest in Alzheimer’s.
His hypothesis is that the interaction between genetics and epigenetics modulates the risk of suffering from the disease. To address this hypothesis, they use mouse models and human samples, combining molecular and behavioral neuroscience with the most advanced single-cell technologies, next-generation sequencing, bioinformatics tools, and epigenetic editing.