What’s New with Alzheimer’s Treatment?

Digital representation of a brain as puzzle pieces

Alzheimer’s disease is a growing threat to people over age 65. But there are promising treatments on the horizon.

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According to the CDC, up to 6.7 million Americans aged 65 and older are living with Alzheimer's dementia, a number expected to nearly triple by 2060.

It’s an alarming statistic for a devastating disease. Fortunately, there may be signs of hope on the horizon.

New approaches to treating Alzheimer’s

Researchers have been working hard to understand why the disease develops and coming up with new treatments. These newer treatments target the disease in one of three ways.

Advances in medication

Up until recently, drugs for Alzheimer’s disease only treated the symptoms. One of the biggest breakthroughs in treatment came in 2021, with the approval of a new medication designed to target the underlying causes of the disease. The drug attacks plaques in the brain that develop in people who have Alzheimer's.

Although the first plaque-busting drug was discontinued, another one called Leqembi (also known as lecanemab) has taken its place. This medication has been shown to slow the disease and allow people to retain healthy brain function longer.

"It's not something that's going to stop the disease or reverse it," says Dr. Sanjeev Vaishnavi, director of clinical research at the Penn Memory Center, told NPR. "But it may slow down progression of the disease and may give people more meaningful time with their families."

More promising drugs coming soon

There are more drugs in development that target another cause of Alzheimer’s. This next class of medications are called “anti-tau” drugs (tau protein causes nerve cells in the brain to die, which causes cognitive issues).  One of these new drugs, HMTM (which stands for Hydromethylthionine mesylate) significantly improved mental function in Alzheimer’s patients in advanced clinical studies.

Researchers are also exploring drugs that focus on inflammation in the brain caused by an immune response. When this inflammation lasts a long time (called “chronic inflammation”), it’s thought to contribute to Alzheimer's disease. Medications designed to lower this inflammation could help slow down or halt the process that’s damaging the brain.

Lowering your risk of Alzheimer’s disease

While progress is being made, available treatments for Alzheimer’s are far from perfect. That makes lowering your risk of getting Alzheimer’s all the more important. Here are a few things you can do to lower your risk.


Regular physical activity promotes brain function and reduces the risk of cognitive decline. Just walking briskly five or more days a week is effective.


The Mediterranean diet has been linked to a lower risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. The MIND Diet, which combines the Mediterranean diet and one focused on lowering blood pressure (the DASH diet) is also helpful. Both diets focus on fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, beans, lean protein like fish and chicken, low-fat dairy, and healthy fats like olive oil.

These diets also limit sugar, salt, and saturated fat. Meat and full-fat dairy are sources of saturated fat that should be restricted.

Find out what a perfect day of eating actually looks like.

Mental stimulation

Cognitive stimulation and keeping an active social life are other non-drug interventions that can help preserve brain function. Activities that challenge the brain, such as puzzles, games, and learning new skills or a new language, may keep brain function strong for longer in people with Alzheimer's disease.

In addition, interaction with others and having meaningful activities have been linked to improved well-being and better quality of life for Alzheimer's patients.

Other steps that can improve your physical and mental health include quitting smoking, managing blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol, and getting enough sleep.

Learn how Medicare could help you quit smoking.

Medicare coverage for people with Alzheimer’s disease

While Original Medicare Parts A and B cover medically necessary hospital stays and outpatient care related to Alzheimer’s disease, it doesn’t cover Leqembi or any other prescription medication. You’ll find coverage for prescription drugs under a stand-alone Medicare Part D plan or as part of a Medicare Advantage Part C plan.

Not every prescription drug is covered under every plan. To find out whether Leqembi or any other medication is covered, you’ll want to check the plan’s formulary, or list of covered drugs. Insurance companies update their formularies regularly, so be sure to confirm coverage every year.

For help finding a plan that meets your needs, give us a call or check out our easy-to-use Find a Plan tool.

Additional resources

Lynn Cicchelli is a writer with over 20 years' worth of experience creating healthy lifestyle content for both print and digital publications. Originally from New York, Lynn currently lives in Connecticut with her husband, stepson, and dog Indiana.


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