Posted by WBHI on Jun 18, 2013 in Think Outside The Box
by Science Codex:
The distribution of white matter brain abnormalities in some patients after mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) closely resembles that found in early Alzheimer’s dementia, according to a new study published online in the journal Radiology.
“Findings of MTBI bear a striking resemblance to those seen in early Alzheimer’s dementia,” said the study’s lead author, Saeed Fakhran, M.D., assistant professor of radiology in the Division of Neuroradiology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. “Additional research may help further elucidate a link between these two disease processes.”
MTBI, or concussion, affects more than 1.7 million people in the United States annually. Despite the name, these injuries are by no means mild, with approximately 15 percent of concussion patients suffering persistent neurological symptoms.
Posted by WBHI on Jun 18, 2013 in Helpful Thinking
by Tor Eckert for The Union:
While a person in early stages of dementia may not have particular eating problems, as Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia progresses, eating issues become increasingly common. In most cases, a spouse-caregiver would be acutely aware of even subtle eating habit changes. But sometimes, the changes suddenly jump out — such as “he/she is not eating the meat or drinking enough water. It’s been going on for two weeks now.”
Sometimes, there are simple answers such as cutting meat into smaller pieces, but there should always be awareness and concern that there might be a chewing or swallowing problem. It’s common among individuals with dementia, regardless of whether they are cared for at home or in a long-term care facility, to have eating issues. Assessing why they are not eating and obtaining an accurate diagnosis are the first steps toward maintaining adequate nutrition and body weight.
Posted by WBHI on Jun 13, 2013 in Think About It
by Robert Bazell for NBC News:
Frontotemporal dementia affects a different area of the brain than Alzheimer’s, destroying the frontal lobes and spurring big personality changes.
Just two years ago, Barbara Whitmarsh was a woman who seemed to have it all. She was a highly regarded scientist at the National Institutes of Health. Married for 30 years, she’d raised six children with her beloved husband, John. But then John Whitmarsh started to notice some disturbing changes in his wife, now 62. It was as if the woman he’d married and lived with all that time was slowly and inexorably fading away.
“Her ability to feel empathy, her personality, it just disappeared over a period of time,” John said. “I would ask her, ‘Is there anything wrong?’ and she would say, ‘No, I love you and everything’s fine,’ but she wasn’t there. And she said it in that flat way.” A scientist himself, Whitmarsh knew there was, indeed, something wrong. And he was worried. He asked his wife to see a psychiatrist who eventually diagnosed her with frontotemporal dementia or FTD.
Posted by WBHI on Jun 10, 2013 in Helpful Thinking
by Marie Marley for Huffington Post:
I’m talking here about the dreaded “N” word — nursing home. I’m talking about placing your loved one with Alzheimer’s in a care facility. Virtually no one wants to do it and few, if any, people with dementia want to go. This will be one of the most difficult, heart-wrenching decisions you, as an Alzheimer’s caregiver, will ever have to make.
What if you have to work full-time and can’t provide the 24/7 care dementia patients require — especially those in the later stages of the disease? What if you can’t afford an in-home care service that could help make it possible for the person to remain at home? What about when no friends or family members will help you out? Or what can you do if your loved one becomes combative and you simply can’t manage him or her anymore?
Posted by WBHI on Jun 9, 2013 in Think About It
by Alzheimer’s Speaks:
My name is Michael Ellenbogen and I have been living with AD much longer than most people who have had this devastating disease. I am in need of your help to prove a point. Let me explain.
I have learned that as we progress with Alzheimer’s/dementia, we lose our brain functioning and can no longer think. I am starting to believe that this is not true.
It has now happened to me on multiple occasions where I was asked a question, and I am able to formulate the answer in my mind, yet I found myself unable to verbalize it. Sometimes my mouth may move but nothing comes out. It was the weirdest thing, and I could not understand why it was happening to me. I was aware of what was going on, but could do nothing.
Posted by WBHI on Jun 3, 2013 in Think About It
by Science Codex:
Highly educated individuals with mild cognitive impairment that later progressed to Alzheimer’s disease cope better with the disease than individuals with a lower level of education in the same situation, according to research published in the June issue of The Journal of Nuclear Medicine.
In the study “Metabolic Networks Underlying Cognitive Reserve in Prodromal Alzheimer Disease: A European Alzheimer Disease Consortium Project,” neural reserve and neural compensation were both shown to play a role in determining cognitive reserve, as evidenced by positron emission tomography (PET).
Cognitive reserve refers to the hypothesized capacity of an adult brain to cope with brain damage in order to maintain a relatively preserved functional level. Understanding the brain adaptation mechanisms underlying this process remains a critical question, and researchers of this study sought to investigate the metabolic basis of cognitive reserve in individuals with higher (more than 12 years) and lower (less than 12 years) levels of education who had mild cognitive impairment that progressed to Alzheimer’s disease, also known as prodromal Alzheimer’s disease.
Posted by WBHI on May 27, 2013 in Think About It
by Nsikan Akpan, PhD for Medical Daily:
Scientists are attempting to understand exactly what’s going on in our brains when we mimic the behaviors of other humans around us, as a means to more effectively diagnose and treat Alzheimer’s disease.
“Feelings are contagious” has a literal meaning for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease (AD) patients, who are more likely to mimic the feelings of their friends and family, according to a study published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The authors tie this behavior to the loss of brain cells involved with recognizing emotions.
When you feel happy around happy people or sad around those who are upset, research suggests you are reading and imitating the emotions in the facial expressions and body language of others. Neuroscientists refer to this empathy reflex as “emotional contagion,”as the feelings of others can cause a physical reaction in — or ‘infect’ — your mind.
Posted by WBHI on May 20, 2013 in Think About It
by Alvaro Fernandez for Huffington Post:
These days, we all live under tremendous stress — economic challenges, job demands, family tension, always-on technology and the 24-hour news cycle all contribute to ceaseless worry, many times over things that are completely beyond our personal control. While many have learned to simply “live with it,” this ongoing stress can have a serious negative impact on our ability to think clearly and make good decisions.
Studies show that chronic stress can also be a significant contributing factor to depression, and a recent German study published in Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews also linked stress-related depression to a higher risk of cognitive decline and the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
Posted by WBHI on May 13, 2013 in Think Ahead
by Jeff Hansel for Post Bulletin:
Researchers at Mayo Clinic continue to unravel dementia-related puzzles, taking steps toward one day effectively treating Alzheimer’s and other memory diseases.
The key, say scientists at Mayo in Rochester, seems to lie in a “treatment window” of more than a decade, from the time the disease takes root in the brain until the moment a person first shows outward symptoms.
“Our study suggests that plaques in the brain that are linked to a decline in memory and thinking abilities, called beta amyloid, take about 15 years to build up and then plateau,” Mayo radiologist Dr. Clifford Jack was quoted as saying in February, when the “treatment window” first was announced.
The study reviewed brain scans of plaque buildup in 260 people, age 70 to 92. Treatment of plaque buildup after it plateaus might not be effective, Jack said in an interview earlier this year. But earlier than that, during the treatment window, it could be. That means early diagnosis will provide more time to treat the disease once an effective treatment is found.
Posted by WBHI on Apr 26, 2013 in Helpful Thinking
by Jan Dougherty for Huffington Post:
Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor saw her husband, who suffered from Alzheimer’s, fall in love with fellow Alzheimer’s patient. O’Connor didn’t become angry, but handled the situation with grace and care. While Alzheimer’s robs people of their cognitive and reasoning abilities, it does not take away the basic need for relationships. And, the struggle to manage both being a spouse and caregiver presents a mixture of challenges and inspiration.
Hearing the word “intimacy” can often make people uncomfortable, and many people do not like talking about it. Yet, it is an issue that surfaces in many ways in the journey of dementia, impacting relationships and adding challenges to the caregiving role.