It’s one of the first questions that pops into your head if you or a loved one gets a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s.
Is There a Cure for Alzheimer’s Disease?
The short answer is no, unfortunately. There currently is no known cure.
But that doesn’t mean there isn’t reason for hope.
Medical research is progressing faster than at any other time in history. And scientists are making great strides in understanding and treating a number of diseases. Alzheimer’s included.
In this article we’re going to take a high level look at Alzheimer’s research. We’ll share the main types of research going on.
How they can improve dementia treatment and lead scientists closer to a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. And, whether it makes sense for you or a loved one to get involved in this research.
We’ve Come a Long Way
Not too long ago, doctors and medical researchers didn’t know much about Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. And neither did the rest of us.
Perhaps you had a grandparent or great-grandparent who was just labeled as “confused” or “delirious” as they got older. You saw the behavioral changes, memory loss, or just overall confusion. But there was no official diagnosis.
And treatment was limited too. In the past, families generally tried to care for loved ones at home. Or they moved them into nursing homes.
And while no cure for Alzheimer’s has been found, dementia treatment has come a long way. These advancements are due, at least in part, to clinical trials and studies.
3 Types of Alzheimer’s and Dementia Treatment Research
Clinical trials are performed on people. They’re used to determine whether treatments are effective and safe. The data and observations collected from these trials are invaluable to researchers. Studies using human volunteers is currently the best way to improve the treatment of dementia, to discover ways to prevent it and, eventually, to cure Alzheimer’s disease.
Diagnostic studies seek to find better ways to accurately diagnose Alzheimer’s disease – especially in the early stages. The goal of diagnostic studies is to create an easy-to-follow method for doctors to diagnose people at risk for dementia. And to do it even before they begin showing symptoms.
Quality of Life Studies
Unlike the other two research methods mentioned above, Quality of Life Studies are less medical and more socially scientific. These studies seek to better understand how dementia affects those with the disease, their loved ones and caregivers.
Researchers use the info from these studies to figure out the best type of support, education, and/or training needed to solve some of the challenges faced by these groups.
Hope for an Alzheimer’s Cure: 2 Types of Clinical Studies
There are two main types of clinical studies that test new dementia treatment options.
The first type is aimed at reducing symptoms. For these, typically the use of new drugs and variations of the drug are tested.
The second type is aimed at slowing or stopping the disease. Some of the experimental drugs being tested in these types of studies are entirely new ways of treating Alzheimer’s.
Is It Safe To Participate in Dementia Treatment Studies?
The benefits and risks of participating in medical research should not be taken lightly. And before you or a loved one participate in a medical study, you should seriously consider these benefits and risks.
Here are some things to consider before participating in a clinical trial (according to the National Institute on Aging):
- You’re able to take an active role in your own health care.
- You may get access to dementia treatments before they become widely available.
- While participating in these studies, you’ll get access to expert medical care and attention – free of cost!
- You participation can help contribute to important research
- There can be unpleasant, if not serious, side effects from the treatment being studied.
- The treatment may not work.
- You may not actually get the treatment and, instead, end up getting a placebo as part of a control group.
- It can be very inconvenient with things like frequent medical exams or overnight hospital stays.
Before You Get Involved in Dementia Studies
Having you or a loved one get involved in an Alzheimer’s or dementia treatment clinical trial is a big decision.
So, please, carefully consider the benefits, risks, and safety concerns. Be sure to talk extensively with doctors and medical professionals who are familiar with your/your loved one’s background.
And only consider studies done at accredited and legitimate research trials.
Treatment Options if a Clinical Study Is Not the Right Option in Your Situation
The truth is participating in a clinical trial is not the best option for every person with dementia.
For those with middle or late-stage Alzheimer’s, the constant medical examinations and busy schedule may cause more harm than good.
If you’re searching for non-medical dementia treatment that helps seniors manage the behavioral and cognitive symptoms of Alzheimer’s, consider a quality, dedicated, memory care facility near you. These facilities are dedicated to meeting the needs of seniors with Alzheimer’s. And they can provide a much higher level of care than general assisted living.
To find a memory care facility near you, search the listings here…