Medical Minute: Alzheimer's Advance

Music is always on to keep the mood up at Joe and Palmina Beato's house. Palmina has Alzheimer's and is very aware of what she's losing.

Joseph and Palmina Beato said, "I used to do everything." She is a very good woman. "I used to do everything."

After 52 years together, the diagnosis is tough.

“I don't want to lose my wife. That's the thing.”

"I'll be around."

Palmina is now in a study on the drug Valproate to test its effect on agitation.

Saleem Ismail, M.D., Geriatric Psychiatrist, said, "About 50 percent of people who have dementia or Alzheimer's disease do develop agitation at some point."

But what has researchers hopeful is the drug's potential to protect brain cells ravaged by the disease.

"If Valproate works the way we think it works, it would actually protect the cell from dying."

Studies continue to uncover how much protection the drug actually offers. Palmina doesn't know if she got the drug or a placebo, but, "She didn't get worse. To me, that is an improvement right there."

The ongoing research gives them hope.

Joseph Beato added, "Because you always think some day, it's going to be better."

And that's enough to keep the music on and their spirits up.

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