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Groundbreaking Developments in Alzheimer's Provide Promise for Future

Alzheimer’s is a tragic disease that often leads to a serious deterioration in the quality of living for both those affected and their loved ones. Individuals with progressive Alzheimer’s often need intensive care which places a large responsibility in the hands of their loved ones. Due to the need for extremely attentive care, many patients are ultimately placed in nursing homes where they can receive more comprehensive, around the clock monitoring. Unfortunately, our experienced nursing home attorneys know that care facilities can be a particularly dangerous place for those with dementia.

As many people know, Alzheimer’s is a progressive condition that results in deterioration of an individual’s memory and their ability to function in day to day life. What most people do not know is how Alzheimer’s actually works to cause memory loss and other symptoms. Although scientists have yet to specifically pinpoint a single cause for the condition, they are now well on the way to identifying and targeting patterns associated with the illness.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, studies of the brain are starting to reveal reliable indicators that people either are predisposed to or are afflicted with the condition. Scans of the brain show that there are two main types of brain impairment: tangles and plaque. Tangles are like miniature clusters of protein that prevent brain cells internally from performing the necessary functions. Plaque is fragments of protein that accumulate in the brain between nerve cells.

At this time, scientists believe that both of these types of protein work to inhibit the brain and nerve cells from carrying out normal communicative functions. When cells are prevented from functioning normally it can lead to a windfall of problems quickly. Currently, scientists believe that these sorts of buildup begin in the most important regions of the brain before spreading outwards. In mid-July three new studies were announced at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference. The studies will focus on attacking Alzheimer’s from different angles, from early detection and prevention of buildup to late stage assistance in breaking down the buildup.

Although it will be anywhere from two to five years before these three studies produce results, they come on the heels of a very exciting set of study results. The new results come from Dr. Norman Relkin of Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City. According to Relkin’s early findings, a three year course of therapy using intravenous immunoglobin could essentially stop Alzheimer’s development in its tracks. Relkin’s initial results come from an extremely small sample group, but more confirmation is on the way because his Phase III study on a larger group is expected to conclude in mid-2013.

If Relkin’s work is found to be accurate by peers and further testing, his study group will have uncovered a successful way to prevent cognitive decline in patients susceptible to the illness. This sort of medical research victory would mean that future patients could be protected from the traumatic symptoms that otherwise prevent them from living life to its fullest. Unfortunately, this potentially major advance is tempered by the fact the study uses a type of drug that is currently very rare.

Even in light of possible constraints like shortage of the drug used, this study still provides hope for those who may experience Alzheimer’s in the future. As mentioned earlier, Alzheimer’s can make it hard for individuals to find a safe place to live. Due to extreme memory loss patients are often placed in long term care facilities where there are sometimes special wards for the most severely affected population. In these wards, not only is quality of life very controlled due to the need for a secure environment, but patients are also at risk for abuse and neglect. It is sad to say, but people with severe memory loss have trouble defending themselves against poor treatment because even if they recall being abused they may not remember when it happened or who inflicted the injury.

With the rate of nursing home abuse and neglect constantly on the rise, families of those with dementia need to be very careful in selecting and monitoring a home for their loved ones. If you suspect a loved one is suffering from nursing home abuse or neglect you should contact an experienced nursing home lawyer as soon as possible. Our Pintas & Mullins attorneys can help you to thoroughly investigate your claim and secure just compensation for any injuries that have occurred.