Alzheimer’s Insights: Advances in Alzheimer’s treatments for 2020

Published 6:57 am Sunday, December 13, 2020

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Scott Finley

By the time you read this, Christmas 2020 will be well on its way to us.  And of course, a week later, we finally get to say goodbye to 2020 and hello to 2021.

The pandemic has reshaped our lives this year, but the good news is there are vaccines on the way.

From the Alzheimer’s disease front, there is also good news.  COVID has dominated the headlines for much of the year, but there are five takeaways in Alzheimer’s research for 2020.


  1. The drug pipeline for Alzheimer’s is heating up.You may have heard of Aducanumab, the Biogen drug currently being reviewed by the FDA, but there were other Alzheimer’s drugs that made strides this year.

○       Suvorexant, a drug that treats insomnia, was approved by the FDA in February for use in people with Alzheimer’s.

○       Pimavanserin (Nuplazid), a drug that treats hallucinations and delusions in Alzheimer’s disease, was submitted to the FDA for review in June, with an anticipated decision by spring 2021.

○       BAN2401, an anti-amyloid drug by Eisai and Biogen, is being assessed for the treatment of Alzheimer’s in a Phase 3 clinical trial that started in July of this year.

  1. A blood test for Alzhiemer’s is closer than ever.Breakthrough research presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC) 2020 in July found that specific markers in the blood may be able to detect changes in the brain 20 years before Alzheimer’s symptoms occur.
  2. Research explored the potential role of vaccines in reducing risk of Alzheimer’s. Data presented at AAIC 2020 found an unexpected benefit of getting flu and pneumonia vaccines: a reduced incidence and risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
  3. A global study examining the long-term effects of COVID-19 on the brain was launched. Scientific leaders, including the Alzheimer’s Association and representatives from more than 25 countries, are working together with technical guidance from the World Health Organization to track the long-term impact of COVID-19 on the brain.
  4. Genetic risk for Alzheimer’s may not mean the same for all races and ethnicities. The APOE-e4 gene variant is the most well-known and strongest genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease, but that research has largely been done in people of European descent. New research published in November in Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Associationfound that APOE-e4 has a very different effect in Latinx populations, only adding significant risk in those of Cuban backgrounds.


So with that in hand and COVID vaccines coming,  here are some tips and ideas for safely engaging with family and friends during the holidays.

And just a reminder – you can always get the latest information about the Association’s COVID-19 emergency preparedness guidelines for Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers in long-term or community-based care settings here:


The Alzheimer’s Association leads the way to end Alzheimer’s and all other dementia – by accelerating global research, driving risk reduction and early detection, and maximizing quality care and support. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer’s and all other dementia. Visit or call 800.272.3900.


Scott Finley is Media Relations Manager for the Alzheimer’s Association® in Texas.  He can be reached at