Dementia is a Hydra: Care v. Cure.
By Sophie Gaber
Care versus cure is the current dilemma within dementia research. Is it ethical to prioritise resources to find a cure? Is this even possible? What is the projected timeframe? Clinical trials are long, costly procedures and bringing a drug to market in a responsible and affordable way is challenging.
Considering the Hydra analogy, dementia is an umbrella term for many diseases - a multifarious beast. For every question or issue tackled, another appears. For example, there is a tendency for dementia to be diagnosed at advanced stages, once symptoms present more severely. Delayed diagnosis is especially prevalent among black, minority and ethnic groups. Despite the best intentions of earlier detection, definitive diagnostic tools are still unavailable.
However there are opportunities, particularly with interdisciplinary researchers, clinicians, volunteers and politicians working together to improve everyday dementia care. This may indicate a shifting tide towards improved psychosocial approaches alongside medicalised views of dementia. Technologies may help to understand how people with dementia perceive their environment and to identify potential influences on their participation and enjoyment of everyday life. In doing so, we can ensure the surrounding environment is more accessible and liveable for all of us.