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Why Treating Dementia Is a Challenging Task

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Creating effective treatments for dementia and other disease processes that affect neurons has proven challenging. The underlying cause of cognitive impairment is commonly difficult to diagnose. The blood-brain barrier also makes it challenging to ensure medications travel to the brain to alleviate dementia symptoms. Pfizer Pharmaceuticals and other companies stopped researching possible treatments when numerous attempts at creating medications failed.

Aging in place can present a few challenges for seniors living with dementia. However, they can still live independently at home with the help of professional in-home dementia care. Palm Beach, FL, families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide their elderly loved ones with mental and social stimulation, timely medication reminders, assistance with meal prep, and much more. Our caregivers are available around the clock to help your loved one live a happier and healthier life.

Here are a few reasons it is difficult to treat dementia.  

Dementia Obstacles

Dementia is a complex health issue that can have more than 50 different causes. There are nearly 47 million adults around the world living with some form of dementia, and there is no sign of a cure. In 2003, the FDA approved memantine, which provides some degree of symptomatic relief. However, the formula does not reverse the disease process. Many drugs in the process of development are geared toward remedying the factors leading to Alzheimer’s disease, which accounts for up to 70 percent of dementia cases. 

One of the issues with finding an effective dementia treatment involves a lack of sufficient biological information related to the disease process. While researchers understand beta-amyloid and tau proteins cause the plaques and tangles that lead to neuron destruction, they do not yet know what factors cause the protein accumulations. Scientists also have not been able to differentiate which proteins are more toxic or the factors behind the varied rates of progression in different adults. 

Another challenge is the fact that symptoms emerge gradually and slowly after years of degenerative processes. It is also possible for seniors to develop Alzheimer’s disease along with other forms of dementia. Treating Alzheimer’s disease may then not reverse the symptoms caused by the other disorders. 

The blood-brain barrier presents a major hurdle. The barrier is a natural defense mechanism that protects the brain from invading organisms and toxins. However, the barricade also makes it difficult to design a medication that might successfully penetrate the barrier and target the desired areas of the brain. 

Recovering from a stroke, managing the symptoms of Alzheimer’s, and a variety of other health-related situations can make it difficult for a senior to continue living at home without someone there to help. Palm Beach, Florida, live-in care professionals are trained to help seniors who need 24/7 assistance. With the help of a live-in caregiver, your elderly loved one can maintain a higher quality of life while aging in place.

Recent Developments

Current developments include a classification of medications known as acetylcholinesterase inhibitors that interfere with the enzymes responsible for destroying the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. The chemical messenger plays a vital role in retaining memory. 

A promising immunological approach entails the creation of antibodies that attach to abnormal proteins and mark them for elimination by the immune system. The medications are in clinical trials and specifically go after beta-amyloid and tau proteins. The third trial for a medication known as aducanumab is ongoing. If successful, researchers may have the chance to develop a vaccine to prevent Alzheimer’s disease. 

However, only 0.1 percent of antibodies are able to bypass the blood-brain barrier. An innovative approach being used by some researchers includes using ultrasound to temporarily open the barricade to increase the number of antibodies entering the brain. Ultrasound has been shown to remove tau protein accumulations in laboratory animals. The hope is that by combining therapies the treatment will be more effective than either therapy alone.

Dementia is a serious health concern that impacts a senior’s overall quality of life. If your elderly loved one is living with a serious medical condition and needs help managing the tasks of daily living, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a Palm Beach home care company you can trust. Our caregivers are available 24/7, there are no hidden fees in our contracts, and we offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee on all of our in-home care services. Call us at 561.429.8292 to schedule a free in-home consultation.

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