Bill Gates focuses effort on affordable Alzheimer’s test


The man who helped revolutionized computing is now embarking on a new frontier.

Much like his approach to personal and business computing, Bill Gates is taking on a novel way to battle Alzheimer’s disease, which directly impacts the lives of nearly six million Americans and their families.

Gates is putting our hopes for an answer to this devastating disease on a diagnostic test. The vision is that it can reach the masses through its reliability, affordability and accessibility. About $30 million is going into this effort through a venture fund called Diagnostic Accelerator.

Targeting biomarkers can help with the early detection of the disease and related symptoms, such as dementia. The goal of the test is to diagnose Alzheimer’s before individuals begin to develop its heartbreaking symptoms, like memory loss.

Gates and other visionaries believe early diagnoses are necessary to understand how to slow the disease’s progression – and maybe one day stop it altogether. Early detection is especially important because the signs of Alzheimer’s can begin more than a decade before symptoms become outwardly apparent.

PET scans and spinal taps can provide the window into identifying markers of the brain. Unfortunately, these kinds of tests are expensive. The success of an early detection test, however, can open the doors to the effectiveness of clinical trials on possible medications or treatments due to increased clinical participation. And that’s invaluable.

Early detection can certainly provide hope to patients and their families earlier because they’ll be prepared for what’s next – whatever it may be.

Being well prepared, as it is now, is the best course of action for patients and their families.

Today, preparation means acquiring the tools to combat the associated symptom of Alzheimer’s, including dementia. Proper training for caregivers of all walks of life allows patients of this disease to lead fulfilling lives despite the obstacles they will encounter. The proper approach to treating dementia requires a team effort and an understanding of what dementia is and is not.

We are transforming dementia care through innovative approaches that provide families and professionals the practical tools that help navigate the challenges of Alzheimer’s and the disease’s associated symptoms. Through my trainings, caregivers and patients tackle the disease from an angle that empowers them to find meaningful moments each and every day, lead fulfilling lives and realize the power of hope and optimism through compassionate care.

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