Dementia is one of the biggest epidemics in the world. Millions of patients suffer from it, and the benefit of their treatment varies at best. There is a lot that scientists don’t know about the brain in general and about the small variations in the brain from person to person. As a result, they’ve had limited success treating mental disorders like dementia. However, thanks to modern technology, they’ve finally been making inroads and developing new and exciting treatments that, if they don’t cure dementia, at least drastically improve the quality of life of the patients suffering from it.
One of the main medications used to treat dementia and help with symptoms is cholinesterase inhibitors. These drugs inhibit the function of a specific enzyme called cholinesterase. The cholinesterase enzyme’s function is to reduce the functionality of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. So, by inhibiting the enzyme, the drug helps to increase the neurotransmitter in the brain of anyone who takes this drug. Though cholinesterase is important in regulating how humans’ brains function, dementia patients often have low levels of neurotransmitters, which is why these drugs can be necessary.
Memantine is a relatively new line of treatment for dementia, but its effectiveness has ensured that it’s been quickly adopted worldwide. It’s mainly used to treat Alzheimer’s, but can also be used in various dementias. This drug, like cholinesterase inhibitors, controls the function of neurotransmitters. However, unlike the previous class of drugs, Memantine works against glutamate, a neurotransmitter that excites neurons in the brain. If the levels of glutamate are too high, there will be cellular damage all over the brain, causing dementia. This drug helps to reduce that problem.
Physical exercise is integral for any patient who suffers from dementia. There are countless benefits of exercise for dementia patients. These include an improved mood, better flow of endorphins and dopamine, better overall health, more cognitive function, and better memory. Exercise is as important for mental well-being as it is for physical health, and this is what helps dementia patients achieve a higher quality of life. There are countless safe exercises that these patients can do daily, like walking or jogging with a caregiver. The benefits are endless, and it’s well worth the effort.
Respite care is the practice of a caregiver temporarily hiring someone to look after their loved one who suffers from dementia. This setup is usually temporary, and the caregiver hires an individual, and the patient all knows that the primary caregiver has not changed. Respite care is important because it addresses one of the most important parts of caring for a patient suffering from dementia: your mental health. Caregivers can hire respite care professionals for a few weeks or a month, giving them time to rest and recharge and attend to their other affairs. The patient will still be comfortable and happy since they’ll be looked after by a professional. This type of care helps all of the parties involved.
Brain stimulation techniques
There are two main ways to externally stimulate the brain without using an invasive procedure: transcranial magnetic stimulation and direct current stimulation. In TMS, magnetic coils are placed on the scalp to create small currents inside the brain, stimulating it. In DCS, electrodes are placed on the scalp, and a direct current helps to create smaller currents in the brain. These two therapies help to improve the sensitivity of the brain’s cells, potentially improving memory. However, because this technology is new, many studies are inconclusive, but the top scientists in the world hope that within the next few years, they’ll be able to prove that these techniques are helpful for those who suffer from this disease.ConclusionDementia is one of the hardest conditions to live with. Even being around a loved one who is suffering from worsening dementia is heart-wrenching, and it could cause you to lose hope. However, you should always keep trying to make things better. Thanks to the millions of dollars that have been put into research and the decades of research that’s already been done, the above effective treatments have been developed. With time, doctors will only find more. Until then, you should ask your doctor about these alternative treatments to find the one that suits you and your loved one best.