Various Treatments For Alzheimer’s Disease And Their Benefits

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Abstract

This paper will delve into a few published articles that discuss the various treatments for Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) and the benefits they provide. The articles mention several treatments and assess their effectiveness. Some articles discuss similar treatments, but each article offers an interesting perspective on how effective they can be. The treatments mentioned in the article may not directly treat AD itself, because there is no cure, but can help mediate some of the side effects and accompanying illnesses. This paper examines the known treatment options to help patients with AD cope with the disease and to combat the many side effects that AD brings with it. Most of the information regarding treatments presented in the three articles agree with each other. However, there are slight variations among the articles in how the treatment can be implemented, effectiveness, etc. This paper will analyze those differences and try to understand which of the discussed treatments is most beneficial.

Various Treatments for Alzheimer’s Disease and Their Benefits

Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is a brain disease that causes memory loss over time, inhibited thinking skills and abilities, and changes and mood or behavior. AD is a serious disease and affects millions of people around the world. Sadly, there is no cure for AD. However, there are a variety of treatment options to help those suffering. It is important to understand how beneficial each treatment may be and if some are more effective than others. This paper examines three different articles that discuss treatment regarding AD. Some articles are more detailed and elaborative about certain treatments than others.

Literature Review

The first treatment option mentioned is improving diet and taking supplements. In Rowland and Davidson’s (2014) article on AD, they mention diet and supplements as a treatment for AD. It is recommended that patients with AD add fish and essential fatty acids to their diet as they have been shown to improve mood and mental function in patients (Rowland and Davidson, 2014). Adding said elements to a diet will not necessarily solve every problem, but it is a nice and easy way to possibly ease some of the side effects. Also, Rowland and Davidson (2014) mention in their article that other supplements can be beneficial. Vitamin E, Thiamine, Cobalamin, and Melatonin are among other supplements that have been found to delay disease progression, improve mental function, improve memory, and reduce sleep disturbances (Rowland and Davidson, 2014, p. 6). Improving diet and taking certain supplements is one way to treat AD and the various problems it causes. However, there are more treatment options available.

Another way to treat the symptoms of AD is medication. This form of treatment is highlighted in Fundukian and Wilson’s article on AD. The medications that are most frequently given to AD patients are Donepezil, Galantamine, and Rivastigmine (Fundukian and Wilson, 2008). These medications benefit the patients by slowing progression of the disease by blocking cholinesterase. It is important to mention that many medications that are recommended for AD cause side effects of their own, which should be factored in when deciding on treatment. Taking medication is a viable treatment option for AD, but there are other treatments that can be pursued to help AD. Gulli and Mallory (2006) also highlight medication of the same goal. In their article, Gulli and Mallory (2006) believe that the best medication for AD are cholinterase inhibitors. This medication stops the process of Acetylcholinesterase within the patient’s body and leads to improved brain function in those in the early stages of the disease (Gulli and Mallory, 2006, p. 70). Since AD causes many other problems in patients -such as depression, delusions, aggression, etc.- there are a plethora of medications that can be taken to reduce various symptoms. Overall, medication as a treatment on its own will only have limited effectiveness, and the same can be said for other treatments as well. However, combine medication with other forms of treatment and the benefits can start to pile up.

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To continue, AD can also be treated through different types of therapies. One type of therapy is music therapy. Fundukian and Wilson (2008) say in their article that there are a variety of complementary therapies to treat AD, and music therapy is among them. “Music therapy has been found to calm agitated patients with AD, to improve mood, and to enhance long-term memory” (Fundukian and Wilson, 2008, p. 44). Also, Fundukian and Wilson (2008) say that old songs from the patient’s past that are familiar to them have been found more effective in providing the previously mentioned benefits than any other music. Rowland and Davidson (2014) also talk about music therapy as an option for treatment. A music therapy group is a smart idea to treat AD symptoms and is more beneficial than a verbal group (Rowland and Davidson, 2014). Rowland and Davidson (2014) also mention more advantages of the participation in music therapy. Reduced sleep cycle disturbances, reduced negative perceptions, and an increased awareness of their condition are some of the many potential benefits that music therapy can provide (Rowland and Davidson, 2014).

The known treatment options are certainly important, but the unknown options are just as important. The unknown treatment options refer to treatment that will be much more powerful in combating AD. There are some experimental treatment options that, ideally, will one day lead to a cure. An example of an experimental treatment is gene therapy (Gulli and Mallory, 2006). The idea behind gene therapy is transplanting a gene from a healthy brain and replacing it with a gene in a brain with AD (Gulli and Mallory, 2006). The goal for this specific treatment process is to slow down the process of AD. Gulli and Mallory (2006) said “In April of 2001 the first use of human gene therapy for the treatment of Alzheimer disease was undertaken” (pg.71). However, this particular treatment has since been discontinued due to the adverse side effects on humans (Fundukian and Wilson, 2008). On the bright side, Fundukian and Wilson (2008) say “research on new treatment approaches continues.”

It should be pointed out that two of the sources mention the importance of taking care of the caregivers to a certain degree. The caregivers must not be forgotten when it comes to treating patients of AD. Rowland and Davidson (2014) highlight the challenges that the caregivers face when treating patients with AD. “It is common for caregivers to develop feelings of anger, resentment, guilt, and hopelessness…” (p. 82). Constantly having to care for someone who is likely constantly getting worse is a big burden for caregivers to deal with. To provide for the problems that caregivers might endure, Rowland and Davidson (2014) suggest becoming a part of a support group to help. Gulli and Mallory (2006) also understand that caregivers will need support and relief from constantly caring for AD patients. “Community organizations that offer help should be sought (p. 70).” Caring for the caregivers may be overshadowed when someone is suffering from AD, but it shouldn’t be. The caregiver’s needs are also very important, and there are ways to treat them as well as the AD patient.

Analysis of Credibility (Strengths and Weaknesses)

The credibility of the reviewed sources is overall reliable. Some sources didn’t explore all possible treatment options for AD, which did not limit much. The strengths of the sources lie within the fact that they provided valuable information about the treatment options that were mentioned. The main limitation of the sources is when they were published. All the sources are at least 5 years old, which potentially makes the information outdated. However, the content of the articles is still useful today because most if not all the treatments discussed are relevant to this day. The experimental treatment discussed in the paper is almost two decades old. However, it is the most recent experimental treatment option for AD as there have not been many significant advances of the same caliber since said treatment option. Overall, the sources are very credible and offer a great deal of information on everything AD. The only thing limiting the sources in any way is the date of publication.

Conclusion

Alzheimer’s disease is very complex and dangerous. There is no cure but there are some ways to treat it by reducing side effects and making life easier overall. Patients can add specific nutrients to their diet while taking supplements such as Vitamin E and Thiamine that have been known to ease symptoms. Another treatment possibility is taking medications. Patients can take medication that can block and hinder the process that causes AD to progress. These medications, like dieting and supplementing, can provide many benefits. Some medications are more effective than others, but medication is certainly a feasible treatment option. One more available treatment is music therapy, which is having the patient listen to familiar songs to reduce agitation and improve long-term memory. In conclusion, there are many ways to treat AD, and each are effective in their own way. By using one of the various treatment options, the patient could have a longer life and the time they have left will could be more peaceful and enjoyable. If multiple treatment options were to be implemented at once, the benefits and improvements in the patient are likely to be clearer. Regardless of how many treatments are used, just as little as one can have surprisingly profound benefits for the patient and improve quality of life.

References

  1. Alzheimer’s Disease. (2008). In L. J. Fundukian & J. Wilson (Eds.), The Gale Encyclopedia of Mental Health (2nd ed., Vol. 1, pp. 37-45). Detroit, MI: Gale. Retrieved from https://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/CX2699900022/GVRL?u=fl_sarhs&sid=GVRL&xid=6e86928b
  2. Gulli, L. F., & Mallory, N. (2005). Alzheimer Disease. In B. Narins (Ed.), The Gale Encyclopedia of Genetic Disorders (2nd ed., Vol. 1, pp. 67-72). Detroit, MI: Gale. Retrieved from https://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/CX3451500032/GVRL?u=fl_sarhs&sid=GVRL&xid=664da8c4
  3. Rowland, B., & Davidson, T. (2014). Alzheimer's Disease. In L. J. Fundukian (Ed.), The Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine (4th ed., Vol. 1, pp. 77-83). Farmington Hills, MI: Gale. Retrieved from://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/CX3189900034/GVRL?u=fl_sarhs&sid=GVRL&xid=2475a03f
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Various Treatments For Alzheimer’s Disease And Their Benefits. (2022, Jun 16). Edubirdie. Retrieved April 18, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/various-treatments-for-alzheimers-disease-and-their-benefits/
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