05 Sep Alzheimer’s & Breakthrough Light Therapy
New Treatment Breakthroughs for Alzheimer’s
Alzheimer’s disease is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States. Globally, close to 47 million people have Alzheimer’s or dementia, and this number is expected to reach 50 million by the end of 2017, according to ADI or the Alzheimer’s disease International. In the United States alone, 16 million people are likely to have the disease by 2050. Whilst there is no cure for Alzheimer’s at this time, there are a few drugs and non-drug treatment protocols that can help with both behavioral and cognitive symptoms.
It has now emerged as a serious threat, more so because medical science has so far failed to come up with a cure or stop it from progressing. However, a lot of research and clinical trials are currently being conducted to find a lasting solution. This includes, medications to treat memory loss, treatments for behavioral and sleep changes, the use of LED flashlights for visual stimulation, gamma brain waves, and even alternative cures like herbal remedies and dietary supplements.
Memory Loss, Behavioral and Sleep Disorder Treatments
The FDA has already approved two kinds of medications that have come out recently – cholinesterase inhibitors, and memantine, which treat the cognitive symptoms of Alzheimer’s, like confusion, memory loss, and problems with reasoning and thinking. There is another medication, which combines a cholinesterase inhibitor with memantine. Clinical trials have proved that these medications can treat both moderate and severe cases. However, only time will tell whether these treatments are actually effective or not.
Light Therapy for Alzheimer’s
Researchers at the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory at MIT have proved that light therapy can help the brain suppress beta amyloid production, which is seen in the Alzheimer’s disease. The research team artificially induced rodents with the disease, confined them to a dark room, and exposed them to visual stimulation from rapidly-flashing white LED strips. The results were very encouraging. Of course, a lot more research needs to be done before this line of treatment is accepted by medical science.
MIT researchers have also discovered how people with Alzheimer’s can retrieve their lost memories.
Those with Alzheimer’s have special needs, which is sometimes best met through non-drug approaches. Many of those suffering from Alzheimer’s cannot express themselves clearly, so the family and caregivers need to be patient with them. With better understanding of the symptoms and the right strategies, they can provide physical and emotional comfort, ease of mind, and security.
Alzheimer’s is a debilitating condition that affects a large section of society. In the absence of a permanent cure, those with the disease are facing a dark future. We have to manage the symptoms better and take good care till the time we have a permanent cure. The new treatment breakthroughs are providing a ray of hope.
Researched and written by Lucy Wyndham
To learn more about Cerebrum’s approach to treating Alzheimer’s, click here.