New therapy gives hope to dementia patients, their families and caregivers

Reporter: Veronica Marshall Writer: Drew Hill
Published: Updated:
Bernard and Lynn
Credit: WINK News

Dementia can be devastating for patients and caregivers physically, financially and emotionally.

One of the emotional burdens is the knowledge that there’s no cure and that your loved ones will progressively get worse.

A new therapy is giving families some hope. The treatment candidate is called SAK3 and it has been shown to promote neurotransmitters and Dopamine in mice. And now, researchers have been given the go-ahead to see how it can help people.

Lynn Malin’s husband, Bernard, has Dementia. “Our favorite memories are the Bahamas. Nassau, Bahamas, we got married there,” Lynn said.

Seven years later, some of those memories started to slip away for Lynn Malin’s husband Bernard.

“I noticed that he forgot things, he couldn’t remember where he was putting things,” said Lynn. “He’d leave the house and forget where he lived. And we have to call the cops or go out and find him.”

Doctors diagnosed Bernard with Dementia. Even though there are days when Lynn says he doesn’t know who she is, she’s not giving up.

“There’s days that sometimes he doesn’t know who I am. There’s days he gets very agitated,” Lynn said. “It’s hard. It’s hard. But you have to try to just bless yourself for having what you have.”

“I will take care of him until the day I die. I love my husband very, very much,” said Malin.

Dr. Manisha Parulekar is the director at the Center for Memory Loss and Brain Health at Hackensack University Medical Center. “That’s a painful journey to see someone who you loved for the last many, many years, just not recognize you,” said Dr. Parulekar.

“The family loses the patient much earlier than the actual demise of the patient,” Parulekar said.

That could change sooner rather than later. Researchers at Tohoku University in Japan have identified a new therapy that stops neuro-degenerative symptoms in mice with Dementia. It has also been shown to reverse some of those symptoms.

In clinical trials, mice who received the treatment showed improved memory, learning and motor control. The next step is human clinical trials.

“I do hope that every day. I hope that every day,” said Malin.

When it comes to preventing Dementia, experts say it all ties into brain health. There are simple things you do, even before symptoms show.

For example, go to a different grocery store every now and then. This will prevent you from shopping on auto-pilot and force you to think things through.

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