Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disease affecting seniors. While 1% of seniors develop this disease, there’s still a lot to learn.
Today, there is more Parkinson’s disease treatment than ever before, thanks to advancements in science and technology. Many seniors suffering from PD can feel less effects from the disease than years ago.
Recently, there have been several breakthroughs on Parkinson’s disease treatments, offering hope to seniors with the disease and their caregivers.
In the coming years, there will likely be tests to diagnose PD. But, for now, doctors will diagnose your senior loved one by viewing their medical history and giving them a neurological and physical exam.
If your senior is diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, their neurologist may recommend one of the newer treatment options discussed below.
By learning what could be available to your senior loved one, you can help them get the best treatment plan and live their life as comfortably as possible.
New drug for “off-time”
The FDA recently approved Nourianz, which is a new off-time drug. Nourianz is described as an add-on drug, which means your senior takes it along with their other Parkinson’s medication.
It works by boosting the signaling of dopamine. Dopamine is a chemical naturally found in the brain. It’s needed to send signals between neurons and the central nervous system. When more dopamine is released, the symptoms of parkinson’s disease decrease.
Nourianz tablets only need to be taken once a day to help with symptoms that reemerge between doses of other PD treatments.
A drug that targets the disease
Aduhelm (aducanumab) is the first Alzheimer’s disease therapy released since 2003. What makes this newer drug special is that it is the first to target the disease process and not just block the symptoms of the disease.
Not all seniors with Parkinson’s disease will develop Alzheimer’s or dementia, but amyloid clumps are found during brain scans for those who do. Even without the development of dementia, seniors with PD will develop clumps of protein. There is an excessive amount of the protein alpha-synuclein found during specialized brain scans.
The drug aduhelm has been found to reduce amyloid clumps, and researchers are hopeful that they may also minimize alpha-synuclein.
While more research needs to be done on this drug, doctors already believe that it works best in people in the early stages of the disease. They also worry it may not help all people diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, as it does in seniors with Alzheimer’s.
As of now, aduhelm is not covered by insurance companies, and seniors need a PET before getting it. This type of therapy is also limited. All doctors cannot prescribe it since it’s not as simple as prescribing a pill. Aduhelm is an infusion through an IV monthly.
Deep brain stimulation technology
Deep brain stimulation (DBS) has treated Parkinson’s disease since 1977.
The procedure involves surgically implanting electrodes in the brain to send electrical pulses to specific areas of the brain involved with motor function.
DBS may be one of the most essential and therapeutic treatments for seniors diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. It helps control tremors and other disabling motor symptoms.
Recently, two new devices released to help seniors after their surgeries.
Abbot’s Infinity DBS
This device lets seniors video chat with their doctors from home or anywhere with WiFi, meaning fewer doctor visits. Seniors can receive adjustments without having to make any trips at all.
This system can record brain activity automatically, so doctors can adjust deep brain stimulation settings to control specific symptoms based on the data received.
The Michael J. Fox Foundation (MJFF) is currently funding a team at the University of California to develop a system that automatically adjusts its stimulation based on brain activity.
A design like this would be ideal. It could deliver therapy to seniors with Parkinson’s disease when their brain signals indicated that their medication was wearing off.
Signs of Parkinson’s via plasma tests
For years, researchers have been trying to find ways to predict or diagnose neurodegenerative diseases and cancers through blood and plasma.
For now, there are no labs capable of diagnosing or predicting Parkinson’s disease. But, scientists believe they are getting closer.
There are specific biomarkers that appear to be promising for Parkinson’s disease treatment.
Varying levels of care
The Kensington Redondo Beach’s assisted living, and memory care communities can care for seniors with varying levels of need. This is why our loving and supportive staff are available 24/7 to help our residents in any way that we can.
Our Promise is to love and care for your loved one as we do our own. We aim to provide warm and cozy homes to our residents, making them feel at home.
Our residents can socialize, relax, heal, and live a fulfilling life with our life-enrichment activities, fitness center, all-day dining services, and physical therapy program.
On top of our beautiful and sunny location and all of the fun activities, we offer on-site nurses, a physician, and medical administration as well.
Contact us to learn more about our exceptional assisted living and memory care communities, our team, and our dedication to providing the highest levels of care.