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Researchers around the world have been working tirelessly to find ways that delay, prevent or treat dementias like Alzheimer's disease. One of the latest breakthroughs was a study led by professor of neurobiology Amy Arnsten, who measured the effects of guanfacine on monkeys of all different ages, according to The Guardian. The drug is often used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), but the theory was that it also reduces levels of cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) chemicals.
As the brain grows older, cAMP levels grow and the activity in brain cells starts to drop. This can lead to significant memory loss down the road.
"When you inhibit cAMP, you restore connectivity and the cells are able to excite each other again," said Arnsten, according to the publication. She added that while it was unlikely that the drug could be used to treat dementia, it may be able to prevent it entirely.
Alzheimer's care is a burden on millions of Americans across the country. The Alzheimer's Association estimates that nearly 15 million individuals are involved with these responsibilities. That number is expected to grow significantly as the baby boomer generation ages.