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Radiation Therapy To Manage Extreme Symptoms Of Alzheimer’s Disease

A recent study has shown that low-intensity radiation is successful in managing symptoms in acute Alzheimer’s patients.

Such low radiation destroys the molecules, which induce a cellular response that initiates the production of antioxidants and repairs damage.

Radiation Therapy To Manage Extreme Symptoms Of Alzheimer’s Disease

However, determining the maximum level of radiation effectiveness requires further analysis.

Radiation Therapy To Manage Extreme Symptoms Of Alzheimer's Disease

Effects of Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s is a neurodegenerative disease that progresses with time. 

It damages the brain cells that are responsible for memory and cognitive abilities.

Alzheimer’s disease alone causes the majority of deaths in the older population in the United States.

It further makes up 60 to 80% of the active dementia diagnoses.

Alzheimer’s disease does not have any cure. However, treatments are available that aim at managing the symptoms and retarding the advancement of the disease.

Some of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s are loss of memory and cognitive functions, difficulty in reasoning and decision making, and confusion.

According to medical experts, advanced stages of the disease are associated with impaired communication and mobility in the patients.

How acute Alzheimer’s impacts people

Scientists of Baycrest and Sunnybrook Health Centers in Toronto and Cuttler Associates in Vaughan Canada, undertook research.

It showed low doses of radiation, like that in CT Scans, when given to people with severe symptoms of Alzheimer’s.

The team of scientists wanted to study the results of a 2015 study on similar issues.

The study showed patients with severe symptoms of Alzheimer’s had improved cognitive abilities and memory functions after small radiation doses were administered to them.

Taking a deeper look at the disease

Alzheimer’s disease is often attributed to oxidative stress, which leads to DNA and cellular damage, thus contributing to the progression of the disease.

Radiation therapy provides protection against such oxidative stress, thus managing the symptoms of Alzheimer’s.

For the said study, four patients between the age of 81 to 90 years with acute Alzheimer’s symptoms were selected.

All four patients received doses of radiation. While the first two received 80 milligrams of rays, the other two received 40 milligrams of rays.

Further analysis was carried out on the cognitive, behavioral, and functional abilities of the patients. 

Interaction with family members was also recorded to assess the improvement achieved.

Results of the study

Out of the four patients, a family of three reported enhanced cognitive functions just after a day of receiving radiation.

According to the accounts of family members, one patient was able to access the wheelchair without any difficulty and also responded to music beats at a concert.

How the quantum of doses affects the outcome?

A high level of radiation can damage the DNA of the brain cell and can cause cancer.

Hence, utilizing radiation of the strength equivalent to background radiation during CT scans shows beneficial effects on health.

According to Dr. Symons, patients above 80 years of age show a minuscule chance of developing cancer from radiation.

However, for younger patients, the benefits of radiation therapy have to be countered against that of the risks before administering the doses.

This is crucial because patients above 80 years of age have difficulty managing oxidative stress, and radiation therapy can further worsen the damage.

Whereas low doses of radiation can help in managing the symptoms and improve the quality of life.

The way ahead

The positive results of the study were limited restricted due to the small sample size.

These results require further analysis and clinical trials before being adopted for medical practices.

The maximum dose given to patients also needs further research along with the suitable time lapse that has to be adhered to between two doses.

Hence, the goal of improving the quality of life for Alzheimer’s patients depends on further research and analysis of the proposed treatments.

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