For the longest, there had been seemingly no hope for those with the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, but researchers have gone on to prove that hope might actually be on the horizon. Though there is no notable cure yet, studies and research have shown that there might be promising advances that can help slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease and hopefully lead to a complete cure in the near future.
Current Alzheimer’s Treatments
Currently, there are a few treatments for Alzheimer’s patients that temporarily improve problems with thinking and reasoning and symptoms of memory loss. They boost the performance of chemicals in the brain that carry information from one brain cell to another. Unfortunately, these treatments don’t stop the underlying death of brain cells. As more of these cells die, Alzheimer’s continues to progress.
The Future of Alzheimer’s Treatments
Experts are hopeful about new and developing treatments for Alzheimer’s disease. The future of treatments may require a combination of medicines, similar to HIV/AIDS and cancer patients. But, regardless of how it comes, there’s hope. Here’s what the experts are trying now for Alzheimer’s patients.
- Taking Aim at Plaques – Some of the new treatments for Alzheimer’s include targeting clumps of protein beta-amyloid, or plaques, that are in the brain and are a characteristic sign of Alzheimer’s disease. There are a few different ways researchers are targeting these plaques.
- Recruiting the Immune System – Medicines called monoclonal antibodies prevent beta-amyloid from clumping into plaques, or they can help the body remove these plaques that have already formed. These medicines mimic the antibodies your body produces naturally. In fact, the FDA has approved lecanemab, a medicine that prevents amyloid proteins from clumping, for people with mild Alzheimer’s. There are also a few other medications that work similarly in helping people with mild Alzheimer’s.
- Preventing Destruction – A medicine that was initially developed as a possible cancer treatment has been known to turn off a protein that allows the synapses in the brain to start working again. It’s now being tested in Alzheimer’s patients.
- Keeping Tau from Tangling – In the brain, a vital brain cell transport system collapses when the protein, tau, twists into tiny fibers. These fibers are called tangles. Tangles are another common change in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers are now looking for a way to prevent these tau from tangling. Tau aggregation inhibitors and tau vaccines are currently being studied in clinical trials.
- Reducing Inflammation – Because Alzheimer’s causes low-level chronic brain cell inflammation, ways to treat the processes that lead to inflammation in Alzheimer’s are being studied.
- Researching Insulin Resistance – Currently, researchers are studying how insulin changes in the brain might be related to Alzheimer’s. The studies are looking into how insulin might affect the brain and brain cell function.
- Studying the Heart-Head Connection – Evidence points to the fact that brain health is closely related to heart and blood vessel health. Conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and high cholesterol. Researchers are now studying whether or not blood pressure medicine can help Alzheimer’s patients; other studies are focused on the connection between heart disease and Alzheimer’s at the molecular level; and, they are studying how lifestyle changes that benefit the heart may help prevent Alzheimer’s or at least delay its onset.
Though some of these treatments may not happen now, there is hope that in the near future, Alzheimer’s may be manageable or delayed. But now, as we wait, if you have a loved one who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and you need help taking care of them, we provide home care services and caregiving for elderly loved ones specializing in dementia care. Contact us and schedule an appointment for a free home care consultation.