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Ask the Expert: What treatments and care are available for Alzheimer’s patients? | Health

What treatments and care are available for patients with Alzheimer’s disease?

Unfortunately, at present, there is no drug that cures or permanently alters the course of Alzheimer’s disease. However, there are drugs that slow the rate of decline in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Research indicates that these drugs slow a patient’s decline for about three years. There are also controversial new drugs to treat Alzheimer’s disease, although their effectiveness is unclear and they potentially have serious side effects.

There are also drugs that treat symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease unrelated to memory decline, such as anxiety, depression, and agitation. These are the same drugs that are used to help anyone with these symptoms, including people without dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

Behavior modification treatments can be very effective, do not involve drug side effects, and can be combined with medication if needed. These treatments often involve a caregiver – often a spouse or child who is unpaid and provides round-the-clock care. dementia.

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In our memory and aging care clinic at UVa Health, we focus not only on the patient with dementia, but also on the caregiver, especially since some of the most effective care strategies involve behavioral interventions. managed by the caregiver. Through grants, philanthropy and some state funding, we have a program to provide care coordinators for people with dementia and their caregivers to assist with education, support, training behavior and access to resources to support care.

We also have the Virginia Alzheimer’s Disease Center (VADC) Registry, where people with dementia and caregivers can be contacted for research opportunities. We now have clinical trials of drugs for people with dementia and those at risk of dementia, as well as a study on the benefits of care coordination. There is also a long-term study for people with dementia and their carers that examines the trajectory of dementia and the impact of events such as sleep on the person with dementia and the carer. For more information or to join the VADC Registry, please visit alzheimers.virginia.edu/vadc-research-registryemail [email protected] or call (434) 243-2040.

Although there is no cure yet for Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, there are treatments to ease the symptoms and VADC’s goal is to help our families on this journey.

For more information on caring for patients with Alzheimer’s disease and other memory disorders, visit uvahealth.com/services/alzheimers– memory problems.

Dr. Carol Manning is Director of the Memory and Aging Care Clinic at UVa Health.