Amarillo, TX - About 5.3 Million Americans currently suffer from Alzheimer's, many of those right here in the Panhandle.
Every year Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center holds memory screenings for the public at no cost, but turnout has declined the past three years, leading doctor Ravindra Bharadwaj to say awareness is more important now than ever.
"Our population is aging and Alzheimer's biggest risk factor is age," said Bharadwaj. "So, it's not only locally we are seeing more and more Alzheimer's patients, but it's all over the United States."
People as young at 45 to 50-years-old are being diagnosed with the deadly disease in our area. The exact cause of Alzheimer's is still a mystery, and treating the later stages of the disease has proven unsuccessful. So, researchers are changing their approach.
"Now they're focusing on the early stages of the disease like mild cognitive impairment, where people have only minimal defect in the memory and even patients with no dementia," said Bharadwaj. "They're trying to target that population to see if they can top the progression or if they can cure the Alzheimer's."
Doctor Bharadwaj even wants to begin his own research right here in Amarillo.
"I'm working on one research project right now that gives us more understanding about the nature of the disease and maybe an intervention if that comes out to be true," said Bharadwaj.
He wants to start his research in January.