Alzheimer's - INTRODUCTION

SYMPTOMS

BRAIN ABNORMALITIES

CAUSES

DIAGNOSIS

TREATMENT

CARING FOR THE ALZHEIMER’S PATIENT




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TREATMENT




TREATMENT - Alzheimer’s Disease | Treatment focuses on lessening symptoms

There is no known cure for Alzheimer’s disease, and treatment focuses on lessening symptoms and attempting to slow the course of the disease. Drugs that increase or improve the function of brain acetylcholine, the neurotransmitter that affects memory, have been approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. Called acetylcholinesterase inhibitors, these drugs have had modest but clearly positive effects on the symptoms of the disease. These drugs can benefit patients at all stages of illness, but they are particularly effective in the middle stage. This finding corresponds with new evidence that low acetylcholine levels in patients with Alzheimer’s disease may not be present in the earliest stage of the illness. (Alzheimer’s Disease, Treatment focuses on lessening symptoms)

Evidence shows that there is inflammation in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients, which may be associated with the production of amyloid precursor protein. Studies are underway to find drugs that prevent this inflammation, to possibly slow or even halt the progress of the disease. Other promising approaches center on mechanisms that manipulate amyloid precursor protein production or accumulation. Drugs are in development that may block the activity of the enzymes that cut the amyloid precursor protein, halting amyloid production. Other studies in mice suggest that vaccinating animals with amyloid precursor protein can produce a reaction that clears amyloid precursor protein from the brain. Physicians have started vaccination studies in humans to determine if the same potentially beneficial effects can be obtained. There is still much to be learned, but as scientists better understand the genetic components of Alzheimer’s, the roles of the amyloid precursor protein and the tau protein in the disease, and the mechanisms of nerve cell degeneration, the possibility that a treatment will be developed is more likely. (Alzheimer’s Disease, Treatment focuses on lessening symptoms)

TREATMENT - Alzheimer’s Disease | Treatment focuses on lessening symptoms