Alzheimer’s disease has become so common among our elderly community that it is often mistaken as a sad part of getting older. The reality is that Alzheimer’s is not a natural part of the aging process. It’s a disease. Fortunately, a medication has been developed that might be a step toward a cure.
In June of 2021, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) approved a drug called aducacanumb, which, according to Time Magazine, has shown to improve cognitive ability for patients with symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. A Japanese pharmaceutical firm, called Eisai developed aducanumab, [pronounced: A-due-KAN-ue-mab], and the brand name Aduhelm.
Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia are one of the primary reasons that the elderly end up in nursing homes. Families often do not have the time, ability, or expertise to care for family members with serious dementia symptoms. Sadly, individuals with Alzheimer’s and dementia are often targets of nursing home abuse and neglect. They make easy targets for abuse because they often do lack the cognitive ability to remember or report incidences of abuse. They also are commonly victims of neglect because they require extensive care and supervision, and nursing homes are frequently miserably understaffed to meet the needs of residents.
What’s the Difference Between Dementia & Alzheimer’s
Dementia is the medical term for the condition where there is a decrease in cognitive function that interferes with daily life. It’s usually apparent in the elderly, and the symptoms include memory loss, difficulty making decisions, and other problems that involve thinking (cognitive ability).
Alzheimer’s is a disease that causes dementia. In fact, according to the CDC, somewhere between 60% to 80% of dementia cases are caused by Alzheimer’s disease, which is why Alzheimer’s and dementia have started to become synonymous in the public mind.
There are widely considered to be seven stages of Alzheimer’s disease once symptoms present. It ranges from mild cognitive impairment at Stage 1, to near total loss of speech and the inability to perform basic life functions at Stage 7. The disease begins with protein abnormalities in the brain that happen years before symptoms present themselves.
What Causes Alzheimer’s?
Scientists are not exactly sure why some people get Alzheimer’s disease. It appears to be related to brain changes as we age, triggered by a combination of genetics, environmental factors, and lifestyle choices. One thing that Alzheimer’s patients do have in common is an abnormal build-up of proteins inside and around our brain cells. There are two main types of proteins that are associated with Alzheimer’s: 1) tau and 2) amyloid.
How Aducanumab Works
The build-up of amyloid proteins is associated with the dementia symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. The drug aducanumab has been shown to eliminate the build-up of these amyloid proteins that are believed to kills neurons in the brain, leading to symptoms of dementia. According to the National Council on Aging (NCOA), “The proteins, known as beta-amyloid plaques, are common in people with dementia. Aduhelm is a monoclonal antibody (MAB) that stimulates the immune system to target and breakdown these plaques.”
How Is Aducanumab Drug Administered?
According to Drugs.com:
- Aducanumab is injected into a vein by a healthcare provider.
- This medicine is injected slowly over 1 hour.
- Aducanumab is usually given every 4 weeks, at least 21 days apart.
- You will need occasional brain MRIs while receiving aducanumab.
What Ending Alzheimer’s Would Mean for the Elderly
Dementia is often described as a “fate worse than death,” because our bodies can continue for years, even decades, while our minds, memories, and personalities slowly slip away. Meanwhile, the victims’ dear loved ones become strangers in their eyes, and there is little they can do but watch them slowly decline. Because perhaps 80% of dementia cases are related to Alzheimer’s disease, a pharmaceutical solution could be the answer to the prayers of some 5.5 million Alzheimer’s victims in the United States and their families. Given the incidence of abuse and neglect that occur to nursing home residents with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, it would be a major medical breakthrough.
If you suspect that a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia is the victim of abuse or neglect at a nursing home, it’s best to trust those instincts and get to the truth with the help of a legal professional. For nursing home residents in Maryalnd and Washington, D.C., Brown & Barron offers compassion and expertise in matters of nursing home negligence, to help families get justice. Contact Brown & Barron online or call 410-346-0206 for a free consultation.