Out-of-the-Box Cures for Dementia — Have Any Worked for You?

My family has long since passed the point where we race to see if we can get access to the newest “miracle cure” for my mom’s form of dementia. But before we arrived at this stage of patient acceptance, we tried some weird treatment options. I still wonder if any of them made a difference.

Have you tried any of these:

Chelations:  These are intravenous treatments that are supposed to clear the body of toxic metals that may (or may not) contribute to the development of plaques in the brain. There is not a lot of scientific evidence to document the effectiveness of this treatment, but there is a lot of anecdotal chatter.

Methylene Blue: This is an agent that is used in chemical staining procedures to study DNA and other microscopic substances.  By therapeutic coincidence, it was found to have some positive effects on the cognitive functions of advanced Alzheimer’s patients. Studies ensued to determine how methylene blue works and to what degree. The theory is that methylene blue inhibits the growth of Tau proteins in the brain. It also turns the patient’s urine a blue/green color.

Food supplements: This included a variety of enzymes to improve Mom’s digestion and help her absorb more of the nutritional elements in her diet. We also drank a LOT of wheatgrass.

None of these non-pharmaceutical treatments have been studied thoroughly through any kind of sustained, experimental design that would permit conclusive statements about their effects. On an anecdotal basis, I’d say that for us the food supplements were the most helpful because they helped cure my Mom of acid reflux, making it possible for her to eat a wider variety of foods. This advance made my life easier because I could cook a broader range of meals to keep us both healthy (and happy).

In retrospect, the methylene blue seems like the most cockamamie venture we embraced. At the time we were introduced to it, there was no clear laboratory protocol for its administration. Since then, some studies for drugs based on methylene blue have been promising. But Mom hated the taste of it and was freaked out by the fact that it turned her urine blue.  If the treatment had any positive effects, they were nullified by her extreme resistance to taking it.

Since we have moved so far down the road, it’s hard to know what (if any) effect the chelations had. My mom always seemed peppier after an afternoon of intravenous activity. But I think the greatest benefit may have been that it drew me close to her when I took her for treatment every week. This time together made me see how serious her illness was, how hard she was working to hide it, and how much she needed our help.

Which out of the box treatments have you tried? If you have a success story, please share!

2 Responses to Out-of-the-Box Cures for Dementia — Have Any Worked for You?

  1. The best results were with giving UP almost all drugs. Every one of these we eliminated gave marked improvement in her memory and functioning. Unfortunately some of these were added after improvement from deleting a nasty one. Most marked improvement…delete Ditropan, a bladder control drug. These two were unnecessarily Rx’d to combat delusions (which were really upset and confusion) caused by acid reflux and nausea as result of fall and possible concussion. Seroquel and Ativan both cause delusions and horrific behaviors…that they were meant to control. Zocor…took about a week for Mom to tank on this one. We tried on/off/on/off/on and finally forget it. We finally got her down to nothing and she stabilized. Now nutty behavior might point to UTI.

    Look to Beers Criteria for general ideas of how/what drugs may be causing problems with elderly. The current program for this is STOPP.

    I think the coconut oil, which I mixed with her smoothies, did help. It gave more thinking energy to whatever brain matter she does have.

  2. My wife and I are members of the sndwaich generation in a sense. Our 54 year old disabled (from birth) daughter was under out personal care at home until 2010. She is mentally and physically impaired, partially paralyzed, confined to a wheelchair, is incontinent, has ESRD requiring dialysis three times a week and currently lives in a retirement facility where we struggle to get the kind of care she must have to survive. She resists any personal care from almost anyone but me (father). My wife’s memory is fading, she has periods of confusion, has vision problems and has lost her sense of taste. We are 78 and are working on plans to provide for our daughter’s future. For now, I provide the minimal care required for my wife. I have been diagnosed with leukemia but currently do not require treatments.In spite of our daughter living in an excellent retirement facility, we are still required to help with her care, manage her personal affairs and shepherd her through multiple hospital events every year. Our costs are high our income is limited. We have excellent legal and professional advisers. In spite of all the excellent help, we feel alone in our daily struggles. We worry that we are making the right decisions

Leave a Reply