By Erin Jones

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – It’s estimated just under 6 million Americans — 400,000 Texans — are living with Alzheimer’s.

On Monday, June 7, the FDA approved the first drug intended to slow cognitive decline.

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North Texans who care for loved ones who have Alzheimer’s are reacting to the news.

“My wife and I’ve been married 53 years and I was in the Marine Corps when we got married and you look at those pictures and you see the vibrancy of a person and as you really begin to understand what happens physiologically to somebody, you begin to.. the person you married or your loved one is not the same person,” David Morris said.

“It’s a degenerative disease, what you have today is more than likely as good as it’s going to get. There’s no cure for this disease is it only gets worse”

He been his wife’s caregiver since she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2016.

So for Morris —Biogen’s new drug becoming the first FDA-authorized drug to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s is welcome news and something he’ll look into.

“My wife is kind of moderate too late stage — so I’m not anticipating it — but you never know,” he said. “ I’ll talk to a neurologist and we’ll see if it’s worth trying.”

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The drug works by removing the buildup of toxic proteins from the brain which are believed to be a key factor of the neurodegenerative disease.

However, some medical experts believe there’s still not enough evidence yet to prove it works.

“I think the fact that the FDA approved it today, I think that that would not have happened if they hadn’t genuinely believed taking in all of the data and all of info into account they genuinely believe that there is potential for helping people with this treatment,” Alzheimer’s Association of North Central Texas Director of Programs Audrey Kwik said.

“What else are we going to do?” Morris said. “ It’s worth trying because people are desperate.”

For others with loved ones who have this disease — Morris offers two pieces of advice.

“Explore every medical option there is, be prepared to be disappointed, but the other thing is don’t put off until tomorrow what you could possibly do today,” he said.

The Alzheimer’s Association also said this FDA approval opens the door to additional research in this area.

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Eli Lily currently working on a drug that could also slow cognitive decline.

Erin Jones