Speech, Vision and Mood Issues
Vision Problems: In some instances, changes in the visual ability may be a sign of Alzheimer’s. If they are unable to read the words in a book, have difficulty in recognizing colors, or find it hard to gauge distances, then you should consult a doctor immediately. These problems can also prove dangerous when driving.
Problems with Conversation: Finding the right words to express themselves becomes quite difficult. They might become confused about what something is called. They might suddenly find themselves at a loss for words in the midst of a conversation or keep repeating the same thing over and again.
Displaying Poor Judgement: There are likely to be glaring changes in decision-making skills as well as judgment calls. For instance, they might pay way more for something that they do not need. They might also show a lack of interest in maintaining personal hygiene or grooming oneself.
Withdrawing From Social Life: Lack of interest in mingling with others (such as attending events or parties), reluctance to go to work every day, not wanting to pursue a favorite hobby, and an increase in watching television, or just sleeping are all some warning signs to look out for.
Oscillating Mood and Changes in Personality: They might jump from one mood to the other within a matter of moments. Being out of their comfort zone can make them jittery and irritated. They might also get increasingly suspicious of people around them.
Hope for Alzheimer’s Patients
The medicines that are currently prescribed for Alzheimer’s patients focus more on managing the symptoms than actually eliminating them and thus curing the patient of the condition. Acetylcholinesterase inhibitors and memantine are the popular drugs now. However, researchers are now looking at ways of putting the brakes on the disease or even reversing its effects. This is being done by focusing on the underlying biology.
One technique is immunotherapy wherein antibodies are manufactured enabling them to target abnormal developments in the brain. These abnormalities are tagged for elimination through various methods. Immunotherapy is in the limelight with quite a few clinical trials being carried out.
Research for a Vaccine
A vaccine for Alzheimer’s might soon become a reality if clinical trials involving the antibody Aducanumab turn out to be successful. This is currently a prime focus area alongside Tao-based methods. It remains to be seen whether any one of these becomes a game-changer.
Counting the therapeutic antibodies that are being used in clinical trials, only a miniscule 0.1% of antibodies found in the blood, actually get inside the brain. One method being tested is to use ultrasound to throw open the blood-brain barrier for a short period of time. This can raise the chances of getting the treatment drugs or antibody fragments to their intended target.
The experiment has proven successful in mice with the ultrasound helping get rid of toxic tau protein clumps. Also, a combination of using ultrasound and antibody fragment treatment showed much more promising results in getting rid of tau and minimizing Alzheimer’s symptoms.Related: How to Reduce Alzheimer’s Risk
Working on bettering dementia drugs is easier said than done. It is possible only through a joint effort by the government, researchers, and the healthcare industry as a whole.