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Scientists have made a medical breakthrough by creating a drug that stops the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease. The drug, which is the first of its kind, has halted deterioration of the brain, which is caused by Alzheimer's, the most common form of dementia.

Dementia affects 850,000 people in the UK, and 520,000 of them have Alzheimer's disease, a physical disease that affects the brain. Alzheimer's causes a build-up of proteins in the brain, which then forms structures known as 'tangles' or 'plaques'. These plaques results in no connection between nerve cells, causing them to die, along with a loss of brain tissue. It also limits the production of chemicals in the brain, meaning that important messages are not transmitted.


What is Alzheimer's Disease?

The symptoms of Alzheimer's include memory loss, depression, hallucinations, inability to judge distances and dimensions, inability to concentrate, and becoming easily confused. As Alzheimer's disease progresses, the symptoms become more severe and patients often end up in need of home care services to help support them in their daily routine and assist with certain tasks.

There are already drugs (such as Donepezil) to control the symptoms of Alzheimer's, as well as therapy to help delay memory loss. However, this drug is the first of its kind to stop the deterioration of the brain, with some patients' deterioration rate stabilising for as long as 18 months. Research has shown that those who have taken the drug have had their fundamental cognitive skills maintained throughout the study.

These results were presented at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference in Toronto by Dr Serge Gauthier of McGill University. He said:

"This is the first time it has happened in our field that a drug reduces the rate of brain atrophy. As a practising clinician, I see Alzheimer's patients, their families and caregivers continually share their desperate need for a truly therapeutic product."

If you have a family member who is suffering from Alzheimer's disease and would like some advice on how best to care for them, do not hesitate to get in touch.

Caring for someone with dementia can be particularly challenging, but developing a deeper understanding of what they are going through can benefit everyone.

What is Dementia?

Dementia is used to refer to a number of brain-centred disorders, with varying symptoms. It is most commonly associated with a loss of memory and a sense of disorientation, but has many other effects that can be daunting.


How to Care for People with Dementia?

Due to the nature of dementia, those suffering can’t always communicate their feelings effectively. But with research and awareness growing, people are talking more and more about their experiences. We’ve taken a look at what is being discussed, and have found some useful tips for dementia carers to help their loved ones or clients live with dementia

1. The person you know is still there.

Amidst the forgetfulness and confusion, it can be easy to imagine that the person suffering with Dementia has changed. Aspects of their mind may be unrecognisable, but deep down they are still the same person. It’s important not to write-off their old self. Chances are, they are missing them as much as you are. So as often as possible, engage with the person you truly know.

2. It’s not simply an age issue.

Of course, dementia is more prominent in older people, but there are also over 40,000 people under the age of 65 living with dementia in the UK, according to the Alzheimer’s Society. Dementia is not simply a side-effect of ageing; it is something the affects many different people, in many different ways.


3. Good days and bad days will all come and go.

The nature of the condition makes it unpredictable, which means that a good day can turn bad, but then a not-so-good moment can also turn right around. When caring from someone with dementia, going with the flow is a way of life.

4. Trying to reason might not go well. 

In many cases, dementia can lead to irrational thoughts and feelings, which means that it can often strip a person of their ability to reason. This isn’t to say that disagreements need to be totally extinguished, although the scalability of them should be carefully measured.  

5. It’s more than forgetting things.

Forgetting names and faces is an unfortunate aspect of many people’s experience, but dementia can be much more than that. Dementia can mean hallucinations, delusions, angers and other disruptive effects. Each one of these present an unpleasant situation, which means that dementia care is ultimately about gaining a fuller understanding, so that these symptoms can be suitably handled when they occur.

6. We know that something is going on.

Dementia is a disorder that disorientates the brain - something that can undoubtedly lead to confusion. The realisation that something is not quite right can be distressing for those dealing with dementia, so it’s often beneficial to help embrace changes rather than to add to any confusion.

7. We’re still adults.

There’s a tricky, fine line to be tiptoed along here. In a distressing, lonely, confusing time, it’s easy to find your tone of voice softening and body language becoming more animated. Each and every person is different, so there is always personal preference, but when it comes to dementia care, it is always worth remembering that the person in question is not a child.

8. Our eyes still work.

Though some aspects of a dementia sufferer's mind may not be as they were before, other parts may be perfectly unaffected. Much like the first point, it’s vital to always be aware of how they are feeling and how they would like to be treated. Something as simple as keeping eye contact can boost the confidence of someone who may be feeling low or left out. 


9.We know it’s hard.

Caring for someone with dementia is by no means an easy feat, and dealing with dementia is certainly not a walk in the park either. It’s this mutual appreciation that can help relationships strengthen in these situations, and ensure that everyone is as comfortable as they can be.

To learn more about dementia and dementia care services, get in touch with Sova Healthcare, a team of leading healthcare specialists in Birmingham, Leicester and Bradford, to discuss how we can help you and your loved ones.

With an ageing baby boomer generation, and few concrete, scientific advancements towards a prescribed drug or treatment in the last 10 years, Dementia and Alzheimer’s have become increasingly concerning conditions in the UK. As a result, the urgency to find a treatment is also becoming a pressing concern, as researchers endeavour to find a way of preventing the progression of these diseases.

With the increase in awareness, it has been incredibly encouraging to witness a greater commitment from governments, organisations and charities towards funding Alzheimer’s research in the hope of finding a cure; a commitment we can only hope will pay off in the near future. 

What is Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia?


Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia are both currently incurable conditions which affect a person's brain, causing symptoms such as a decline of memory, as well as struggling with speaking or orientation, which can impede on sufferer’s quality of life and often require specialist care. As a result, they are diseases that can put a lot of strain on the families of sufferers, as well as the individuals themselves.

Currently, there are more than 850,000 people in Britain suffering with Dementia, and over the next 30 years the number of people to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease is expected to go into the tens of millions, as the population continues to age. Although therapists and scientists have been making progress on issues such as how to best live with dementia, the need to find an effective cure still remains. 

The New Alzheimer’s and Dementia Breakthrough


Earlier this year, there was a possible breakthrough towards discovering a treatment for Dementia. Researchers at the University of Cambridge, while researching a new type of Cancer drug, found a possible way to reduce the risk of people developing Alzheimer’s and Dementia.

The symptoms of Alzheimer’s begin when clumps of deformed protein, known as amyloid, build-up in the brain. 

These researchers found while testing a drug called Bexarotene, currently used to treat Lymphoma, that it could potentially stop these build ups of protein, thus preventing Alzheimer’s in later life. 

This therapy is called ‘neurostatin’, and lead researcher Prof Michele Vendruscolo believes people will be taking ‘neurostatin’ as early as their 30’s, to help prevent a build-up of amyloid and consequently stop the progress of the disease in the human brain.

Although it is still too soon to say whether this is the concrete breakthrough in Alzheimer’s research that has been awaited for the last decade, this discovery is extremely positive and can undoubtedly lead to preventing the number of potential Dementia cases in the future. 

As leading providers of Alzheimer’s and Dementia care services, we understand how these diseases can be great strains on sufferers and their loved ones. We also understand the need for people who are battling Alzheimer’s or Dementia to remain as independent as possible, and their wish to be able to continue living in their own home, which is why we provide a range of tailored home care services to ensure the highest quality of life to all of our clients.

If you’re interested in our Alzheimer’s and Dementia care services, please feel free to download our brochure, or get in touch with either our Birmingham, Bradford or Leicester offices for more information. 
It is estimated that there are currently more than 850,000 people in Britain living with dementia, and that this number will reach 1 million by 2025. Dementia is a problem that's not going away any time soon. This is why we strive to continue finding the best ways to live with dementia.


How to cope with memory problems


People diagnosed with early stages of dementia and those who are yet to be diagnosed will start to experience problems with their memory and start becoming more forgetful. There are a number of methods that can help train and strengthen your memory to help you cope with these problems.

Memory Aids 


One tactic is to use memory aids. This could be a device like your mobile phone or a digital organiser, something where you can set reminders for yourself. This could be big events like doctor’s appointment or simple everyday tasks, like reminders to take medication. 

Ideally, it would be something that is synchronised to a similar device of a caregiver or carer who can add events and notes for you.

Memory Games & Strategies 


Dementia can affect your memory in unpredictable and unexpected ways. At earlier stages, it could target small specific events and memories that sufferers would struggle to remember without prompting. There are a number of small memory games and strategies that can help you. 

A common method is rhyming or associating that particular memory or piece of information with something else. When you struggle to remember that specific memory, think of that associated object or word to help prompt yourself. 

Keep a Diary 


Simply keeping a diary of your thoughts and plans can help. It helps you keep track of past events, what has happened or why something is different at home, in order reassure you. 

Keep Active


As simple as this might seem, keeping active can help keep your memory and alert as well as helping keep your spirits high.

How to remain independent


Naturally, people would prefer to remain living in their own homes and remain independent rather than being taken into care. Just because you have dementia, this does not mean that is no longer possible. 

Home Care


One way of helping you remain at home and independent is having home care services. This is where a nurse or carer makes visits to your home, helping you with your medication, treatment and day to day household chores as well as checking that you’re well. Due to the prominence of Dementia, specialised services are now become more available.

How to manage your finances


An important aspect of your life that needs to be looked after if you want to remain independent is your financial affairs. 

Direct Debits


It is advised that you set up your bills to be paid automatically by direct debit, so you don’t miss your payments and have your utilities cut off. Especially during the winter, the last thing you’d want is to have your heating cut off. 

Appointeeship Services


An appointeeship is where a third party person is brought in to help you manage your financial affairs. They would make sure your bills are paid, help you with budgeting and, if you’re on benefits, ensure you’re still receiving them. This service can help you organise your affairs to prevent any financial issues.

Dementia support groups & sharing


When you’ve recently been diagnosed with dementia, you will instantly feel very alone but you’re not and should not shut yourself away. 

There are a number of support groups across the country which meet up regularly and share with each other, this is important. Getting out, meeting people and sharing your experiences can significantly help you when living with dementia. This keeps you active and reassures you that you’re not alone. Depression and mood swings can affect people with dementia, and one of the causes for this is isolation. The best thing about these support groups is that they will not turn you away. 

If you’re interested to learn how Sova Healthcare can help you remain independent and help you through dementia, you can download our brochure for more information, or get in touch with a member of our friendly team to discuss how we can best help you and your loved ones.
alzheimer's disease

The fight against Alzheimer’s disease and Dementia is an ongoing battle, but this year we've seen some major breakthroughs in research as we come closer to a cure. 

Since the first case was diagnosed over a century ago by Dr. Alois, Alzheimer, our understanding of this disease has evolved greatly. It was not so long ago that people assumed Alzheimer’s and Dementia could simply occur in old age; it’s only in recent times that we have learnt that this is not the case. With predictions that over 150 million people worldwide will suffer from Alzheimer’s in the next 20 years, 2015 has been a big year with significant triumphs and advancements in the fight against Alzheimer’s. 

Alzheimer’s Blood Test Could Give Early Diagnosis 


British researchers have developed a test to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease in its earliest stages, before any physical symptoms are visible. 

This is recognized through ‘markers’ in a patient’s blood, which are different from those seen in healthy people. This research was conducted at the University of Nottingham, and researchers are now developing a quick and easy test to be performed in clinics. 

This early diagnosis can give potential sufferers a chance to change aspects of their diet and lifestyle, as well as starting treatment earlier in order to stem the disease. 

Miniature Brain-in-a-Dish can Help Advance Alzheimer’s Research 


Rene Anand, Professor of Biological Chemistry and Pharmacology at Ohio State University, and a research team have developed an organoid that looks like a miniature human brain. 

This miniature human brain has been grown ethically through the use of human skin cells, and coaxed into developing to resemble that of a 5 month old fetus. Not only could this open up new avenues of testing in the pursuit towards finding a cure, but it could also remove the need to use rats and mice in order to conduct research, a practice which is considered by most to be outdated and unethical.

Virtual Reality Maze ‘Predicts Alzheimer’s Disease’ 


A study suggests that Alzheimer’s disease can be detected years before any physical symptoms are made apparent, through the use of a virtual reality test. People aged 18 to 30, an age group that is unlikely to be worried about Alzheimer’s disease, were are asked to navigate through a virtual maze in order to test the function of certain brain cells. 

This study, led by Lukas Kunz of the German Centre for Neurodegenerative Disease in Bonn, showed results which could "provide a new basic framework for preclinical research on Alzheimer’s disease", and "provide a neurocognitive explanation of spatial disorientation in Alzheimer’s disease.” While it is far from certain that the young people in this study will go on to develop Alzheimer’s, characterising early brain changes associated with genetic risk factors is vital, in helping researchers better understand why some people are more likely be at risk of developing the disease in later life. 

Government Pledges £300m on Dementia Research 


Earlier this year, the government pledged more that 300 million pounds worth of research into dementia, as well as providing additional training for NHS workers on how to care for people suffering with Dementia. 

Prime Minister, David Cameron has described the disease as “one of the greatest challenges of our lifetime”. As well as pledging funds to research and Alzheimer’s care, the government is also said to be setting up separate multi-million pound investment schemes, to discover new drugs and treatments in order to slow the onset of the disease, progressing towards a cure by 2025. 

This might not be a huge medical breakthrough, but considering Alzheimer’s and Dementia are one of the most underfunded research areas in medicine, this is a significant step in the right direction. 

Alzheimer’s Researchers Find Molecule That Delays Onset of Disease 


Earlier this year, a research team at the University of Cambridge found evidence to suggest that an isolated, crucial molecule secreted naturally by the human body, could delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. 

This study performed on mice, showed that the molecule referred to as a ‘housekeeping’ molecule, can stop the process in the brain that leads to common forms of Dementia. The substance works by slowing the build of up of protein clips in the brain, which typically appear years before symptoms such as memory loss arise. 

Although the research still has some progress to make, notably towards converting this discovery into a drug, this could potentially be the most important breakthrough since the first diagnosis. 
Samuel Cohen, who led the study, revealed these findings in an enlightening Ted Talk, stating that they have “come up with a general strategy that could work.”

While 2015 has brought with it a number of small victories in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease, we are far from finished. It is a disease which affects approximately 850,000 people living in the UK alone, and doctors are predicting that the number will grow in coming years. 

We at Sova Healthcare can see the damage and strain such diseases can cause families, which is why we strive to to provide you with the best Alzheimers home care and support services. We understand how cruel this disease can be, and that’s why our staff are highly trained and experienced in caring for your loved ones as they learn how to live with Alzheimer’s. You can download our brochure for more information, or get in touch with a member of our friendly team to discuss how we can best help you and your loved ones.