In this paper, Alzheimer’s disease was taken into account. It is of common knowledge that this is a serious mental health problem numerous people have to face with. This is the reason why it is more than significant for contemporary medicine to develop new methods of treatment, which will be more effective than those which were used earlier, and exclude obsolete ways of treatment. The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate possible ways of treatment and eradication of this disease which are peculiar for modern medical practice. What is more, different perspectives on the issue under consideration were provided in the paper. In order to achieve this purpose, reliable and up-to-date scholarly sources were used.
Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease, treatment.
Treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease
Nowadays, there is an abundance of various studies which touch upon the ways of treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. To begin with, Linda C. Lu and Juergen H. Bludau (2011) admit that the “the hope for any medical illness is a cure” (p. 60). In accordance with their data, it is a complicated thing to choose that very way of treatment which can be effective for the patient. The nature of the disease is progressive; and, unfortunately, no method of treatment can result in ultimate recovery. Furthermore, the mental decline cannot be prevented. This is one of the principal reasons why the spouse of the patient or a member of his/her family has to take much care of him/her. In numerous cases, this is the major way of treatment for such patient. “It requires keeping the person physically well, socially engaged, and mentally stimulated” (Lu & Bludau, 2011, p. 60). Moreover, an emphasis on the “education of the patient and family and management of symptoms” should be placed (Bricker, Langlais, & Miller, 2001, p. 229).
On the other hand, taking care is not the only way of treatment. In spite of an accurate diagnosis, the non-pharmacologic and pharmacologic therapy is also more than significant for those who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. Pharmacologic treatment comprises the usage of some medications which are known to be available in the United States. A non-pharmacological approach of treatment is aimed at the absence of medications in the cure. It includes “addressing issues such as nutrition or falls that typically occur as the disease progresses” (Lu & Bludau, 2011, p. 61). The authors notify that the effective method of treatment is applying to both of them simultaneously. In this case, some positive forecasts can be present: although a person cannot get rid of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, they are not so severe as they were before the treatment.
George Grossberg and Sanjeev Kamat agree with the abovementioned authors about the importance of pharmacological approach in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. What is more, they underscore the algorithm of recommendations made by the National Institutes of Health, the Alzheimer’s Association. The choice of the algorithm depends on the stage of the disease.
If Alzheimer’s disease is mild, it is noteworthy to use any of “the four cholinesterase inhibitors” (Grossberg & Kamat, 2010, p. 39). In case of moderate Alzheimer’s disease, it is possible to use “a combination of memantine and any cholinesterase inhibitor” (Grossberg & Kamat, 2010, p. 39). Moreover, not only a combination of the abovementioned substances but also their separate usage is appropriate. If Alzheimer’s disease is severe, it is necessary to use “memantine or donepezil alone, or use a combination of memantine and any cholinesterase inhibitor” (Grossberg & Kamat, 2010, p. 39).
Another ways of treatment were represented by Carol Turkington and Deborah R. Mitchell. One of them is the usage of vagus nerve stimulation (VNS). As a rule, this kind of treatment is used in case of moderate Alzheimer’s disease. The main influence of the vagus nerve on human organs is its release of acetylcholine which “is deficient in patients with Alzheimer’s” (Turkington & Mitchell, 2010, p. 209). When the aforementioned nerve is stimulated, the level of acetylcholine is boosted, and, in this way, it is possible to ease moderate Alzheimer’s disease symptoms.
On the other hand, some experiments demonstrated that only seven of seventeen patients experience some positive results of this kind of treatment, and the mental health of other ones was not improved at all. This is the reason why the authors suggest some other ways of treatment, for example, the use of such drugs as valproic acid, varenicline, vasopressin, and vinpoceline.
In accordance with the American Psychiatric Association, some other drugs can be used in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. They comprise galantamine, rivastigmine, and donepezil. However, “it remains unclear whether use of these drugs slows progression of the disease, delays nursing home placements, or alters mortality” (APA, 2006, p. 102). The only statement the majority of scientists agree with is the fact that combination therapy which comprises several medications allowed to use in treatment of Alzheimer’s disease is one of the most effective ways to “improve and later on slow the progression of memory problems, of self-care capacity, and of disruptive capacity” (Pfeiffer, 2011, p. 40). Furthermore, such patients can acquire some communication skills after the treatment process, and in this way, they are provided an opportunity to lead almost the same lifestyle as those people who do not suffer from the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.
Taking into account the fact that the only way to eradicate Alzheimer’s disease is to conduct numerous studies on this problem, a special attention should be paid to the innovations in this sphere. It is impossible to eradicate any disease without understanding its origin and developing new ways of treatment. One of the important steps which were made by the scientists was approving of memantine by the FDA. This substance has already been mentioned in the paper. It is a derivative of amantadine, and it is known to be a “low affinity, open channel blocker of NMDA receptors with a fast off-rate” (Olesen & Ramadan, 2008, p. 79). Approving of memantine is only an example of moving forward in the sphere of Alzheimer’s disease treatment, and further investigations of the ways of treatment of this disease can help the mankind to eradicate it.
What is more, the ways of eradicating Alzheimer’s disease involve the comparison of “the prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease in different populations” (Jamison et. al., 2006, p. 207). The research includes the study of genetic epidemiology and some possible risks caused by it. Moreover, it is more than significant to promote the researches which touch upon the approaches of prevention all diseases closely related to aging; Alzheimer’s disease is one of them.
The government of the U.S.A. is deeply concerned about the progress of studying Alzheimer’s disease and the ways of its treatment; that is why it is evident that this country is one of the leading states in this aspects, and the majority of studies on Alzheimer’s disease are conducted in this country. The proof of this is also the fact that “patient care and related costs for AD are estimated to exceed $148 billion per year for the 5.3 million affected patients in the United States” (Martinez, 2010, p. 78). It means that the problem of Alzheimer’s disease is never beyond attention in the United States. Consequently, the best kinds of treatment as well as prevention of this disorder are present here. Moreover, some positive results in solving the problem of Alzheimer’s disease are evident even nowadays. For instance, in 1990s, there was no treatment for people who suffered from the symptoms of this disease. In 2000s, several kinds of treatment had already been invented; and, now, the mankind tries to do its best in eradicating this problem.
In conclusion, it is noteworthy to admit that a profound analysis of the information represented by the authors, whose works were used during the research, it is evident that there are several ways of treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. The majority of scientists admit that pharmacological approach is the most effective one whereas some scientists underscore that a lot of other methods of treatment and their usage is an inevitable part of cure. First of all, it is a non-pharmacological approach. Furthermore, care is considered to be an effective way of treatment, as well.
In spite of the fact that no medication which can cure the disease was invented, much progress in this sphere is obvious. The U.S.A. plays an integral role in the development of new methods of treatment and the investigations in this branch of science. On the other hand, numerous controversial and under-explored aspects are present in the study of Alzheimer’s disease.