It’s important to remember that ‘dementia’ is a term that covers a range of similar conditions characterised by mental decline. Most, like Alzheimer’s disease, don’t currently have a cure.
Researchers are hopeful that a cure for Alzheimer’s will be found in time, and there have been some promising clinical trials already. Experts say there could be a cure within five years.
In the meantime, there are treatments that can help improve the symptoms of the disease. Getting the right care in the right setting can make a big difference too.
Treatable Forms of Dementia
Sometimes dementia symptoms are caused by treatable conditions. In these cases, treating the underlying cause may help restore cognitive function.
If pressure on the brain or a brain tumour is the cause, there might be the possibility of treating it surgically. If vitamin B12 deficiency is to blame, dietary changes or taking supplements may help. Sufferers of hypothyroidism may find that prescribed hormones or other treatments work for them.
Every case is different, so it’s important to get professional advice.
Dementia symptoms can also be a side-effect of some drugs, in which case, changing the drugs might help. Obviously, this would need to be done in consultation with your GP.
Possible Future Cures for Dementia
Some types of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s, are linked to plaques. These are protein deposits that build up between nerve cells in the brain and affect their function. There are medicines on the horizon that might help remove these plaque deposits and stop the disease in its tracks.
Another possible treatment is gene therapy, which could introduce a specific gene into the brain and make the build-up of plaques more difficult. It may even be possible to use stem cells to create new brain cells one day.