Could a New Dementia Drug Prevent Nursing Home Abuse in Los Angeles County?

Anyone in Los Angeles County who has a loved one with dementia in a nursing home should learn more about a recent study concerning a drug that purports to reverse the effects of this disease. While nursing home abuse and neglect in Los Angeles County can affect any senior regardless of any existing health issues, older adults who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia can be particularly vulnerable to elder abuse. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, “people with dementia are especially vulnerable because the disease may prevent them from reporting the abuse or recognizing it.” Moreover, seniors with dementia “also may fall prey to strangers who take advantage of their cognitive impairment.” 

According to a recent press release from the University of California, researchers at UC Berkeley recently published a study that suggests certain drugs may be able to “slow or even reverse the cognitive decline that comes with age.” By reversing the effects of dementia, it could be possible to reduce the rate of nursing home abuse that occurs. We want to tell you more about the recent study and to discuss its implications.

Reducing Brain Inflammation May Reverse Signs of Dementia

The recent study was a collaboration between researchers at UC Berkeley and Ben-Gurion University. In the study, the researchers determined that a particular drug may be able to reduce brain inflammation and, as a result, prevent the effects of dementia from worsening. It is also possible that the drug may be able to reverse the effects of dementia in some cases.

What is the relationship among brain inflammation, dementia, and this medicine? The researchers believe that the blood-brain barrier, or “the filtration system that prevents molecules or infectious organisms in the blood from leaking into the brain,” starts to become leaky with age. As a result, it lets in “chemicals that cause inflammation and a cascade of cell death.”

Preventing Elder Abuse by Reducing the Rate of Dementia in the Elderly

Researchers now believe that this leaky blood-brain barrier and its effects ultimately produce dementia symptoms. Thus healing the leaky blood-brain barrier could quell dementia symptoms. According to the press release, almost 60% of adults aged 70 and older show some signs of having a leaky blood-brain barrier in MRI imaging tests. When the blood-brain barrier becomes leaky, it produces a kind of “fog,” while ultimately can lead to “microseizure-like events—momentary lapses in the normal rhythm within the hippocampus—that could produce some of the symptoms seen in degenerative brain diseases like Alzheimer’s disease.”

The key piece of information to take away here is that the drugs tested in this study could help to prevent the brain inflammation that results from a leaky blood-brain barrier and to lift the “fog” that tends to occur with dementia. Only used currently in research, the drug is known as “IPW,” but researchers hope to develop it further for clinical use. If it could help to stop or even reverse dementia, fewer patients with dementia could suffer abuse in nursing homes and other facilities. The study was published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, according to the UC Berkeley press release.

Seek Advice from a Los Angeles County Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer

If you need help filing an elder abuse claim, an experienced Los Angeles County nursing home abuse attorney at our firm can assist you. Contact the Walton Law Firm for more information.

 

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