It seems like we hear a lot about new and innovative ways to detect early, asymptomatic dementias like Alzheimer’s disease but to date, none of them have been studied well enough to prove they are helpful. Everyone would love to see earlier detection of this horrible disease, as that would lead to earlier treatment, right? Plus, if you think about it, once we are able to detect the disease earlier, the more time there will be for researchers to investigate new and innovative treatment options.
Today, researchers are working in tandem, many on identifying ways to diagnose the disease earlier and others on identifying new, effective treatments. Sadly, one of the newest medication treatments approved by the FDA did not meet with much fanfare and in fact, was not universally accepted by medical providers. Does this mean this medication won’t be helpful in treating Alzheimer’s? No, of course not, the studies are early, the side effects are just now being investigated and it takes years and years to determine if there is any long-term negative impact from medications.
So, as we continue to traverse the Alzheimer’s/Dementia landscape, some things remain the same. We know a lot more than we did a year ago and a year from now we will know a lot more than we do today. As caregivers for people living with dementia, we DO know how to care for them, we do it every day and we do it well. A few things to remember, educate your staff continuously on the new and innovative ideas and interventions available to them, provide mentoring for newbies as this is a difficult area in post-acute care and above all, remember… if it was easy everyone would do it! Stay well, stay informed, and stay tuned!
Check out this latest study on a new non-invasive evaluation of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) pathology through the retina.