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Treating Dementia: Why Is It So Challenging?

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For decades, scientists have attempted to find a cure for dementia, a neurodegenerative disease that is unusually difficult to treat. Though millions of people around the world are affected by dementia, current treatments only mitigate the symptoms. Here are a few reasons dementia is so difficult to treat. 

Too Many Causes Involved

When people develop pneumonia, they’re facing a single disease. Doctors know that bacteria cause pneumonia, which can be cured through antibiotics. With dementia, the source of the issue is complex and unclear. There are 50 or more underlying causes of dementia that make it difficult to treat, and researchers looking for a cure have to treat a range of degenerative issues rather than a single disease. 

Dementia can be challenging for seniors to manage, but they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional dementia home care. Fort Myers seniors can benefit greatly from the Cognitive Therapeutics Method (CTM), an activities-based program designed to promote cognitive health and delay the onset of dementia. CTM is included at no additional charge with any of the in-home care plans provided by Home Care Assistance.

Reasons for Plaque Buildup Are Unknown

Most research on dementia focuses on Alzheimer’s disease, but the pathology of dementia is still unclear. Scientists know what happens to the brain when Alzheimer’s disease starts to develop. Plaques and tau tangles accumulate in the brain, and this toxic buildup causes neural degeneration. Scientists still don’t know why these plaques build up in the first place or what regulates their production. Until researchers can confidently answer these questions, it is unlikely they’ll be able to find a treatment for dementia. 

The Blood-Brain Barrier Makes Treatment Difficult

The body is designed to keep foreign substances away from the brain. However, when it comes to diseases affecting the brain, it can become an issue. The blood-brain barrier is the body’s natural defense against toxins and pathogens that creep into the bloodstream. The barrier prevents toxins from reaching the brain, and it also blocks substances designed to help the brain. If scientists find out why dementia happens in the first place, they’ll have to develop a medication that can bypass the body’s natural defenses.

While the cure for dementia is under research, professional caregivers can help seniors delay the onset of cognitive decline and enjoy a high quality of life. Find out how a Fort Myers, Florida, at-home caregiver can help your senior loved one enjoy a higher quality of life by reaching out to Home Care Assistance. All of our professional respite and live-in caregivers are trained in comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, Parkinson’s, and stroke care, and they can also assist seniors with basic daily tasks like exercise, cooking, bathing, and light housekeeping.

No Cure Has Been Developed Yet

While no major breakthroughs have been made, scientists continue to search for a cure. There are several new treatments that bode well for seniors with dementia. The most popular current treatments simply manage the symptoms by blocking the negative effects of chemical messengers or enzymes to prevent further damage. Current research seeks to reverse the damage caused by dementia. 

Immunotherapy is a treatment method currently undergoing clinical trials. With this treatment, antibodies are bound to brain abnormalities. Various mechanisms then target these abnormalities, effectively destroying them. Aducanumab is another potential treatment option that involves using an antibody to target the proteins that cause plaques. If the clinical trials for aducanumab prove successful, it would function as an Alzheimer’s vaccine.

Dementia is a serious health issue among older adults. 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 Fort Myers 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. To find out how our premier in-home care plans can benefit your aging loved one, give us a call at 239.449.4701 today.