Common ED Med Could Be Treatment for Alzheimer's Says Study

New research says a common medication used for ED may have a new use for Alzheimer's treatment. Successful treatments for dementia may be decades or more away; preparing for long-term care still needs to be done before changes in health to protect savings and ease family burden.

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Common ED Med Could Be Treatment for Alzheimer's Says Study
5 Min Read December 14th, 2021

If you watch enough TV, you have indubitably seen countless TV commercials for Erectile dysfunction. According to a Cleveland Clinic study, perhaps the most famous of the ED drugs, Sildenafil (known by the brand name Viagra), has been identified as a promising drug candidate to help prevent and treat Alzheimer's disease.

Through a large-scale investigation of a database of more than 7 million users of the medication, the research showed that Sildenafil is associated with a 69% reduction in the incidence of Alzheimer's disease. Follow-up clinical trial testing of the drug's efficacy in patients with the disease will be necessary.

Cleveland Clinic researchers find sildenafil, a therapy for erectile dysfunction and pulmonary hypertension, is associated with a 69% reduction in developing Alzheimer's.

Sildenafil had been shown to improve cognition and memory in preclinical models significantly. The research team's findings, led by Feixiong Cheng, Ph.D., of Cleveland Clinic's Genomic Medicine Institute, were published in Nature Aging.

"This paper is an example of a growing area of research in precision medicine where big data is key to connecting the dots between existing drugs and a complex disease like Alzheimer's," said Jean Yuan, M.D., Ph.D., program director of Translational Bioinformatics and Drug Development at the National Institute on Aging (NIA), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which funded this research. 

Testing of Current Meds for Other Uses New Area of Research

Dr. Yuan says this research is one of many efforts being made to find out if existing drugs or available safe compounds for other conditions could be candidates for Alzheimer's disease clinical trials."

Dr. Jean Yuan, Cleveland Clinic

Dr. Jean Yuan, Cleveland Clinic

"Notably, we found that sildenafil use reduced the likelihood of Alzheimer's in individuals with coronary artery disease, hypertension, and type 2 diabetes, all of which are comorbidities significantly associated with risk of the disease, as well as in those without," said Cheng.

Cheng says he foresees this same research approach being applied to other neurodegenerative diseases, including Parkinson's disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Dementia Risk Increasing. Health Insurance and Medicare Won't Help 

According to the BrightFocus Foundation, someone in America develops Alzheimer's every 65 seconds. Nearly 500,000 new cases of Alzheimer's disease will be diagnosed this year.

Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia are among the leading causes of long-term health care in the United States and worldwide. Supervision, and help with daily activities, are often provided by unpaid and untrained family members as families discover traditional health insurance, including Medicare and supplements, will not pay for long-term health care services and supports which could go on for many years.

While Long-Term Care Insurance will pay for dementia care and other types of long-term care either at home or in a facility, you cannot purchase coverage if you already have a diagnosis of dementia or other significant health and mobility issues. 

Medicaid will pay for long-term care, but the individual must of little or no income and assets to qualify for Medicaid benefits. The lack of planning by many families creates family strain and burden, physically, emotionally, and financially.

Family Caregivers Face Stress and Anxiety

Since dementia has few treatment options and no cure, the costs and burdens created by Alzheimer's and other dementias are adversely affecting family and finances. 

Caring for a loved one with dementia is stressful. Bob Mikolich, who runs Amada Senior Care in Westlake, OH, says that introducing caregivers into a loved one's home can be stressful for both the care recipient and their family.

Bob Mikolich, Amada Senior Care

Bob Mikolich, Amada Senior Care

"When that care is for a patient with dementia, it is considerably more complicated and even more stressful. Having a team of caregivers with specific memory care training to deal with behaviors related to a dementia diagnosis is critical. When families know their loved one is being cared for in a manner that is safe, supportive, and nurturing, the stress level usually decreases," said Mikolich.

LTC Costs Rising Rapidly Nationwide

Professional long-term health care is expensive and getting more costly every year due to higher demand and increased labor costs. Most care is delivered at home or in assisted living facilities and is expensive. However, according to the LTC NEWS Cost of Care Calculator, nursing home costs are even more costly. The calculator shows the current and future costs of all types of long-term health care nationwide by state and metro area - Cost of Care Calculator - Choose Your State | LTC News.

LTC NEWS can assist you if you need to find quality care options for your loved one. If they are lucky enough to own Long-Term Care Insurance LTC NEWS offers access to free claims processing and case management with no obligation - Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim | LTC News.

Read this guide as you start the process of finding care for a family member - Finding Quality In-Home Care | LTC News.

LTC Insurance Offers Choice of Quality Care Options

Families that plan in advance and own a Long-Term Care Insurance policy have access to their choice of care options, including home care, adult day care centers, assisted living facilities, memory care facilities, and nursing homes. 

The financial strain is lessened; however, long-term care is not just a cash flow issue. Long-term care, including dementia care, is a family problem. Planning for the costs and burdens of changing health and aging will reduce the stress and anxiety from the consequences of long-term health care.

At some point, Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia may have a treatment, maybe even a cure. Even if such treatment or cure happens in our lifetime, it will not end aging and other health and mobility problems that cause a need for extended care and help with daily activities. 

Most experts suggest preparing prior to retirement, ideally in your 40s or 50s. Seek help from a qualified Long-Term Care Insurance specialist representing multiple top-rated insurance companies to navigate options and shop for the best coverage at the best value.

Get Help Using LTC Insurance Benefits

Some people who own a Long-Term Care Insurance policy fail to use the benefits. Don't allow a loved one not to use the guaranteed tax-free resources which help pay for quality care options.

If your loved one owns a Long-Term Care Insurance policy, LTC NEWS provides free assistance with no obligation to help you or a loved one complete the claim process. This professional assistance will speed the process and reduce the stress on the family. 

You can also support finding quality caregivers and get recommendations for a proper care plan, whether a person has a policy or not. - Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim | LTC News

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About the Author

Linda Maxwell is a retired journalist who now focuses on writing about topics that captivate her, such as aging, health, long-term care, and retirement issues. Her aim is to maintain an active and engaged mind, and through her writing, she hopes to help others stay positively engaged with life.

LTC News Contributor Linda Maxwell

Linda Maxwell

Contributor since December 11th, 2017

Editor's Note

When you have a plan in place, your family will find it much easier when you need long-term health care in the future. You can prepare your family and finances for declining health and aging with affordable Long-Term Care Insurance.

When you own an LTC policy, you own a policy helping you avoid being dependent on your loved ones. The guaranteed tax-free benefits give you access to your choice of quality care services, including in-home care. However, keep in mind that you must have your coverage before you get older and experience substantial health changes. 

Available Resources on LTC NEWS

LTC NEWS offers several tools and resources to help you in your research for a planning solution or help your family find the appropriate care for a loved one at the time of crisis. 

To help you plan for the future costs and burdens of changing health and aging, LTC NEWS has put in place several resources, including:

Find all the resources on LTC NEWS - Resources for Long-Term Care Planning | LTC News.

Seek Professional Guidance

Experts suggest using a qualified Long-Term Care Insurance specialist to help you navigate the many options available to you and your family. Insurance rates are regulated, so no insurance agent, agency, or financial advisor can give you special deals. However, premiums do vary over 100% between insurance companies for the same coverage.

A specialist who works with the top companies can match your age, health, family history, and other factors and find you the best coverage at the best value. A specialist will save you money, and you will have the peace of mind knowing they are making the appropriate recommendations - Work With a Specialist | LTC News.

Find Quality Caregivers and Long-Term Care Facilities

If your parent or loved one needs care now - or soon - you will need to find the appropriate care in the right setting depending on their needs.

Take a moment and read - 

Benefits of Reverse Mortgages 

Today's reverse mortgages for those aged 62 and older could be an ideal resource to fund a Long-Term Care Insurance policy OR even provide money to pay for care if you, or a loved one, already needs help and assistance.  

Some people have much of their savings invested in their homes. With today's reverse mortgages, you can find ways to fund care solutions, care itself, even help with cash flow during your retirement. 

Learn more by asking questions to an expert. LTC NEWS columnist and host of the TV Show "62 Who Knew" will answer your questions regarding caregiving, aging, health, retirement planning, long-term care, and reverse mortgages. 

Just "Ask Mike." - Reverse Mortgages | LTC News.

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Learn more about how LTC NEWS can help you market your business, drive traffic, and improve SEO - Advertise With Us | LTC News.

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You can write a story or ongoing column for LTC NEWS. You can write about many topics, including aging, caregiving, health, lifestyle, retirement planning, and long-term care, to name a few.

Be sure to write for our core target audience of adults aged 40 and older. Our audience is worldwide; however, our primary target is the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and other English-speaking nations. 

Improve your website or blog's SEO and gain exposure and traffic at the same time by being a contributor to LTC NEWS. 

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Email your story idea or article: - LTC News Contributors | LTC News

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Let's work together and help consumers who search for us on the web - Site Request | LTC News.

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