In early studies, deep brain stimulation has proven to show promise when it comes to helping those with Alzheimer’s disease, so much so that more clinical trials are likely going to be held in the near future so that the scientific research community can gain more knowledge about whether or not this might prove to be a helpful way to treat AD.
Most people have never heard of deep brain stimulation because it is very new in terms of treating this type of dementia. Essentially, what this is is a treatment does is send electrical impulses to certain parts of the brain through an implanted device. The deep brain stimulation device is often referred to as a brain pacemaker. It is already approved for usage in people suffering from Parkinson’s Disease.
With this treatment comes a long list of treatment concerns and ethical dilemmas. For example, can a patient change their mind about treatment midway through? What happens with the device that is used for this treatment? Does it stay within the patient or is it removed? Who pays for it? These are all questions that need to have answers provided for before the treatment of AD goes too far. Obviously, families will have some say in how the ethics of this are involved, and looking at how those with Parkinson’s proceed with some of these might be a good place to start.
But as you know, AD is a very different story because of the dementia element. Alzheimer’s disease in general has a lot of ethical issues that can be addressed, both in terms of senior care and medical care. Some of the points that have been raised by researchers highlight this. For example, if someone with Alzheimer’s disease does not have the cognitive ability to make decisions about their own care, then how can they decide what is best for them? Things like power of attorney need to be decided upon in a legal setting for someone to be able to make decisions for them. What if this hasn’t happened yet? How do you help an elderly loved one get the best care in a situation like this? As you have seen, this is a very complex issue. Taking into account controversial medical treatments on top of these issues makes the water even more murky.
In an ideal situation, you would work with a loved one to decide what their ideal type of senior care might be before dementia becomes an issue impacting their reasoning. But this isn’t always the case. Regardless of what medical treatments they may or may not need, having a strong senior care plan in place for your mom or dad is important. And if they are unable to contribute fully to the care that they will be receiving, make sure that no decisions are implemented by someone who does not have power of attorney over the person that you love. Whether you are looking for in-home care, or something more intensive is needed, going through the proper channels when securing care is the best way to make sure that your loved one is safe, happy, and receiving all of the assistance that they need. It’s only after this is accomplished that controversial treatments should be addressed.