Breakthroughs in Alzheimer’s and Dementia
Written by Gurminder for Doctify
Most of us will have someone in our lives, an elderly parent or grandparent who is becoming slightly more forgetful; they could be suffering from dementia. Dementia describes a set of symptoms including memory loss, caused by damage in the brain by diseases such as Alzheimer’s or strokes.
Alzheimer’s is linked to a build-up of plaques, called beta-amyloids, and tangles, called tau proteins, in the brain along with loss of connection between the brain cells, inflammation and eventual death in brain cells. Symptoms of alzheimer’s can be described in several stages starting from mild memory loss all the way to loss of verbal skills.
The good news is that there is plenty of advances in research being made in the medical research world. The processes of plaque formation has slowly been unveiled with the deciphering of a crucial step, potentially letting researchers control the mechanism that causes the fast build-up of plaque in the brain. Prevention is always better that having to cure a disease, and with this in mind a vaccine for Alzheimer’s has also recently been reported. The vaccine works by triggering the body to produce high antibody responses, the stuff that fights diseases such as the common cold in our bodies, but instead of the cold virus the antibody respond to the beta-amyloid and tau proteins.
Dementia affects many people, not just the 850,000 who suffer from it, but their family and friends too, so it is inspiring to see the efforts are also being made by the families of sufferers. They are using their initiative to help new dementia sufferers even after their loved one has passed on. At Doctify we’ve heard about the website created by James Ashwell, a place where you can buy dementia friendly products, read advice and participate in a supportive forum – sometimes all carers need. You can watch this video here, to hear more about his story of caring for his mum and how it led him to create Unforgettable. A Nottingham based company called Bendigo systems, was created by Nick Gale, a home automation expert and John Osbourne, a health and social care worker, both cared for their fathers with dementia. They combined their expertise to develop assistive technologies enabling dementia patients to live in their own homes as long as possible.
If you are someone with dementia or are helping to care for someone with it, there is plenty of support available online such as on the Unforgettable or various communities on HealthUnlocked.