The global population is aging and with that brings thousands of new Alzheimer’s patients to care facilities around the world. Researchers are actively working to discover new ways of diagnosing, treating, and caring for people with dementia. Their results are changing how Alzheimer’s care facilities train their staff and how caregivers interact and treat those with dementia.
New discoveries in the prediction, diagnosis, and treatment for dementia are a necessary and important field of research. These cognitive disorders not only affect the patient themselves, but their loved ones, caregivers, and the surrounding community. People who have dementia, or love someone who does, want to make sure they are aware of the most up-to-date information and new innovations. Here we outline three brand new discoveries that will shape the future of Alzheimer’s care.
1. Artificial Intelligence Can Help Predict Alzheimer’s
Artificial Intelligence (AI) may soon help doctors detect and diagnose Alzheimer’s disease. A new study concluded that AI could detect signs of Alzheimer’s in patient brain scans years before symptoms even appear. Currently the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s is only verified post-mortem and early diagnosis is difficult unless symptoms are already present.
Researchers are hopeful that this new diagnostic tool will give patients more treatment options that can slow the progression of the disease. By finding out as soon as possible if symptoms will develop in the future, drugs can be tested for preventing those symptoms in addition to easing them. Early detection is very important for dementia treatment to be beneficial, and this test will help. Doctors will have a more reliable early detection method to better help their patients prepare. Treatments can also begin sooner, and early identification can help Alzheimer’s care facilities and policy makers’ better gauge the future of Alzheimer’s care.
2. Dementia Villages for People with Alzheimer’s
Long-term memories are the most vibrant for people who live with dementia. This fact has led to the concept of Dementia Villages. These fake mini towns have the look and feel of the 1950s and 1960s with tangible props like photos, household items, music, and décor. These villages are meant to reflect residents’ younger days and make them feel calmer and reduce their dependence on drugs.
The goal is to make these areas safe and comfortable for residents and give them a sense of independence. All of these factors are known to give people with dementia a higher quality of life and better prognosis. This new model for Alzheimer’s care facilities takes planning, space, and design. However, this exciting idea is already showing success and allows those with Alzheimer’s to live active, fulfilling lives.
3. Diamonds Help to Accurately Diagnose Alzheimer’s
A new breakthrough has uncovered a new way to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease and distinguish it from other cognitive disorders. In an international study, researchers passed light through a diamond and observed its interaction with the blood plasma of participants. By comparing the samples, researchers accurately distinguished between Alzheimer’s disease, Lewy body dementia, and healthy controls.
What was particularly interesting was that not only could researchers find the unhealthy samples, but they could also distinguish between two different conditions. These conditions would have been difficult to tell apart just based on symptoms and patient information. Currently there is no conclusive diagnosis for Alzheimer’s disease. This blood test is a simple, fast, non-invasive, cheap, and accurate new method. This new test can get patients treated sooner, reduce misdiagnoses, and finally give doctors a concrete way to identify Alzheimer’s disease.