Jump to content
2019 Nursing Salary Survey Read more... ×

Exciting Possible Treatment for Alzheimer's! And the first Patient is a Nurse

Nurses Article   (4,374 Views 8 Comments 673 Words)

traumaRUs has 25 years experience as a MSN, APRN and works as a Asst Community Manager @ allnurses.

505 Likes; 14 Followers; 127 Articles; 185,029 Visitors; 20,515 Posts

advertisement

Exciting Possible Treatment for Alzheimer's! And the first Patient is a Nurse

Exciting Possible Treatment for Alzheimer's! And the first Patient is a Nurse

Approximately 5.7 Americans of all ages are living with Alzheimer's currently. 5.5 million people are over the age of 65 years and there are approximately 200,000 individuals under the age of 65 who have early-onset Alzheimer's. These numbers are expected to double by 2060 in the US. As we become better able to care for chronic diseases such as heart and lung disease as well as improved cancer survival rates, our population is growing older and at more risk for Alzheimer's and other dementias.Recently, in Morgantown, West Virginia a potential breakthrough has been made. ""For Alzheimer's there's not that many treatments available, despite hundreds of clinical trials over the past two decades, and billions of dollars spent," said Dr. Ali R. Rezai, a neurosurgeon at WVU who led the team of investigators that successfully performed a phase II trial using focused ultrasound to treat a patient with early stage Alzheimer's."

More on this ground-breaking treatment:

The procedure in West Virginia involved the use of ultrasound waves focused through a specialized helmet with more than 1,000 probes targeting a precise spot in the brain, Rezai explained, coupled with microscopic bubbles. "And when we put a different frequency of ultrasound on the bubbles they start osculating," he said. The reaction opens up the brain-blood barrier - a nearly impenetrable shield between the brain's blood vessels and cells that make up brain tissue. "It's protected on one end for us to function but also prevents larger molecules or chemotherapy or medications or anti-bodies or immune system cells or amino therapy or stem cells to get in," he said.

In this case, the West Virginia team targeted the hippocampus and the memory and cognitive centers of the brain which are impacted by plaques found in patients with Alzheimer's. "Plaques are these clusters of proteins that accumulate and they block-up the brains connectivity," he said. "In animal studies it showed that these plaques are cleared with ultrasound technology.

The first patient, a person Rezai called a pioneer and hero is West Virginia health care worker and former WVU Children's Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit nurse Judi Polak. She was diagnosed five years ago with early-onset Alzheimer's. After her first treatment, she noted that she could answer questions quicker and participate in conversations easier and she also reported that her speech was clearer.

Many members of a large team contributed to the first successful use of this treatment. Included among the front-runners of the team is Dr. Jeff Carpenter, a professor of neurology, neurosurgery and an interventional neuroradiologist at WVU. He considers himself the "tech'" guy of team as he has a background in both MRI, interventional radiology but also has the ability to care for patients.

There are seven stages of Alzheimer's though not everyone passes through them at the same rate:

  • Stage One: No Impairment
  • Stage Two: Very Mild Cognitive Decline
  • Stage Three: Mild Cognitive Decline
  • Stage Four: Moderate Cognitive Decline
  • Stage Five: Moderately severe cognitive decline
  • Stage Six: Severe cognitive decline
  • Stage Seven: Very severe cognitive decline

This treatment, currently in stage 2 clinical trials holds promise though this must be tempered with caution as it is still in the early stages of treating patients. However, we can only wonder what would happen to our population if Alzheimer's is eradicated? What's next? Heart disease? Cancer?

Continued research and clinical trials are needed of course - maybe the sky is the limit for our longevity!

References:

Alzheimers Association

Historic breakthrough: WVU Rockefeller Neuroscience team first to use ultrasound to treat Alzheimer's

National Toll-Free Helpline

Number of Americans with Alzheimer's Patients Expected to Soar in Coming Decades

Seven Stages of Alzhiemer's

advertisement

14-yr RN experience, ER, ICU, pre-hospital RN, 12+ years experience Nephrology APRN. allnurses Assistant Community Manager. Please let me know how I can help make our site enjoyable.

505 Likes; 14 Followers; 127 Articles; 185,029 Visitors; 20,515 Posts

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

576 Likes; 3 Followers; 25,921 Visitors; 5,225 Posts

I have a friend with early onset Alzheimers (diagnosed at age 53). I wonder if she has heard about this study.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

djh123 has 5 years experience and works as a RN at a transitional rehab facility.

1 Like; 15,878 Visitors; 1,100 Posts

Wow. I hope this really turns into something.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

KatieMI has 6 years experience as a BSN, MSN and works as a Internal Medicine.

207 Likes; 40,758 Visitors; 2,321 Posts

Aging

It is already a year that I tell people about this cheap, harmless and seemingly effective way to treat early stages of non-early start Alzheimer. But most state outright that to abandon their sweets, fast food and hybernating for days in front of TV is beyond them. Still waiting for "miracle pill/machine" to fix't right up.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

7 Likes; 1 Follower; 32,050 Visitors; 6,945 Posts

How an outsider bucked prevailing Alzheimer's theory, clawed for validation - STAT

interesting fellow at MGH. from Oz, mentored by Gary Marshall. thinking outside the box.

when Alzheimer's was first named, it WAS early onset dementia, by definition. then that def. was expanded to include all dementia not otherwise defined.

Dr. Moir feels that the plaque is not the problem, but a result of an infection, spec. Herpes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

576 Likes; 3 Followers; 25,921 Visitors; 5,225 Posts

Aging

It is already a year that I tell people about this cheap, harmless and seemingly effective way to treat early stages of non-early start Alzheimer. But most state outright that to abandon their sweets, fast food and hybernating for days in front of TV is beyond them. Still waiting for "miracle pill/machine" to fix't right up.

Unfortunately, my friend has early onset Alzheimer's. She is a slim, physically active person who has always watched her diet, is very athletic, and looks far younger than her years. Her problem seems to be highly correlated to heredity, as her father died of Alzheimer's and I believe her mother has dementia at present.

I believe she is following a keto diet or something similar and is doing everything recommended to arrest the progress of her disease. I know she has petitioned to be part of a study, but I don't know which one specifically. I hope she can achieve a sort of remission from this awful disease.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

traumaRUs has 25 years experience as a MSN, APRN and works as a Asst Community Manager @ allnurses.

505 Likes; 14 Followers; 127 Articles; 185,029 Visitors; 20,515 Posts

Its obvious this has struck a chord for many. Alzheimer's and related dementias rob our loved ones of their mind. Its a horrible disease and hopefully this study will provide some real assistance. It takes a brave person to agree to a clinical study - however, that is what is needed to find a cure.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

341 Visitors; 5 Posts

This is AMAZING!!!!! I pray we achieve a breakthrough soon. I wrote two papers during my masters program in nursing on smoking and ADD/ADHD relating to Dementia and Alzheimer's. I also worry about my head injury leading to a possibility of having Dentia or Alzheimer's in the future. I massage my head often when it aches still after fourteen years and it helps but still worry at times. I pray we come up with something soon.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
×