Few conditions are more difficult on a senior or their family than Alzheimer’s, dementia, and similar cognitive diseases. As most know, the consequences for the victim are stark-slowly losing the ability to remember recent events and then forgetting older memories. Families dealing with the challenges of these cognitive diseases need all the support they can get. Our Illinois nursing home lawyers know that a large number of seniors facing this condition are in nursing homes. It is easy to understand why. Losing the ability to remember even basic tasks about one’s surroundings or taking care of oneself poses daily risks of harms. Providing around-the-clock car is one of the main benefits supposedly provided by caregivers at these facilities.
Unfortunately, over the years each Illinois nursing home neglect attorney at our firm has come to appreciate that many facilities fail in this basic task. For example, wandering is one of the main dangers faced by seniors with dementia and other cognitive conditions. Often these residents simply do not know where they are at any given moment. They require the help and observation of caregivers to ensure that they do not end up someplace where they could be hurt. Yet, time and again stories abound of senior who are not properly supervised and leading to severe injury or even death. For example, this week we discussed a resident with dementia who wandered through an unlocked door, ultimately falling down a flight of stairs, breaking her neck, and passing away. Similar stories have been reported this week of residents being allowed to exit a facility only to be later found dead outside in the cold.
These lapses in care can never be tolerated. Our nursing home attorneys are proud to work each day to help seniors with these conditions by holding those who provide substandard care accountable for their actions. Of course, the ideal way to help these individuals is to find cures that may limit their mental suffering all together. Fortunately, some of the nation’s foremost neurological experts are working to do just that.
In fact, this week researchers are released information on new findings which some are heralding as a breakthrough in Alzheimer’s research. As reported in this week’s edition of Science, researchers from Case Western Reserve University have apparently discovered a cancer drug that may reverse the affects of Alzheimer’s. The drug, Bexarotene, has been approved the FDA for use in cancer treatments for the last decade. However, its role in helping reverse brain damage caused by cognitive disease had previously been unknown.
Essentially, researchers found that mice with Alzheimer’s-like problems saw amazing reversals within only 72 hours of being given the drug. Mice that once had lost the ability to conduct basic skills-like building a nest-were able to reacquire the ability within days of receiving treatment. The drug works by clearing away the “plaque” that builds up in the Alzheimer’s victim’s brain impairing memory and cognition.
Our Illinois nursing home lawyers will be watching this developing research closely to see how it works in human trials. Hopefully this line of work will one day lead to important advances that can spare millions of families the heartache that comes with Alzheimer’s.
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