Multiple sclerosis damages the brain and spinal cord in aging adults, and researchers are discovering new ways of treating this medical condition. Seniors with multiple sclerosis often experience muscle stiffness, incontinence, blurred vision, and overall weakness.
Seniors can face a variety of challenges as they age, many of which can be mitigated with the help of professional in-home caregivers who provide high-quality home care. Harrisburg families trust in Home Care Assistance to help their elderly loved ones age in place safely and comfortably.
Here’s a look at the recent advancements made in the treatment of multiple sclerosis.
This medication underwent a series of trials and is waiting for official approval in the United States and Europe. Ocrelizumab is deemed effective for slowing the progress of multiple sclerosis in people who have the primary progressive and relapsing-remitting forms of the disease.
The formula interferes with the body’s immune system by eliminating B cells, which are responsible for attacking and damaging the protective myelin sheath around nerve cells throughout the central nervous system. People who received the drug in the trial studies demonstrated less neuron damage and cognitive impairment according to imaging studies and cognitive evaluations. The participants were also able to walk further than the control group volunteers who did not receive the medication.
However, physicians warn ocrelizumab has potentially serious side effects. With the immune system weakened, seniors with multiple sclerosis have a greater risk of developing infections and possibly cancer. The body would also be less able to recover.
A group of researchers from the Queen’s University in Belfast recently published a study in the Nature Neuroscience journal about how the brain triggers cellular repair. Using laboratory mice afflicted with a disease similar to MS, scientists learned more about the T cells of the immune system. The group discovered that T cells release a protein, which stimulates progenitor cells into becoming mature oligodendrocytes or myelin. Mice having an insufficient number of T cells did not undergo myelin repair. However, when the cells were added, myelin formed and damaged myelin was repaired.
Myelin degeneration could make seniors susceptible to Alzheimer’s disease. Aging adults with Alzheimer’s disease can benefit from receiving professional Alzheimer’s care. Harrisburg seniors need regular mental stimulation when managing memory-related conditions, and a reliable in-home caregiver who has extensive training in Alzheimer’s care can be a great asset.
Modified Red Blood Cells
A group of researchers from the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research in Cambridge, Massachusetts, recently found a way to trick the immune system rather than interfering with its normal function. Many multiple sclerosis treatments involve reducing the ability of the immune system. However, a weakened system puts seniors at considerable risk.
The scientists developed a treatment they call tolerance induction. The treatment teaches the immune system to ignore certain proteins that are deemed as invasive. In this way, the immune system does not attack certain cells. The process involves attaching protein fragments known as antigenic peptides to red blood cells. As red blood cells travel throughout the body, they come in contact with the immune system.
The immune system does not attack red blood cells, and thus does not attack the proteins. In time, the proteins become familiar and are ignored. The scientists tested their theory using mice affected with MS. The treatment took approximately one hour, and the treated mice demonstrated a reduction in MS symptoms.
Seniors living with multiple sclerosis are at risk for progressive cognitive diseases such as dementia. A dementia diagnosis can be difficult for seniors and their families to face. If you need help caring for your aging loved one while he or she manages the challenges of dementia, turn to Home Care Assistance of Harrisburg. Dementia care isn’t the only thing we specialize in. All of our hourly and live-in caregivers are also trained to assist seniors during stroke recovery and help those living with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s maintain a higher quality of life. Call us at (717) 540-4663 to create a tailored care plan for your senior loved one.