Posted by WBHI on Mar 27, 2013 in Think Ahead
by Doug Brunk for Clinical Psychiatry News:
Robust behavioral changes are not common in presymptomatic familial Alzheimer’s disease, but increases in certain behaviors such as agitation, apathy, and appetitive changes can accompany early cognitive changes, results from a large ongoing study demonstrated.
The findings “are consistent with observations in late-onset Alzheimer’s disease and support behavioral changes in familial Alzheimer’s disease being a state associated with incipient Alzheimer’s pathology rather than a life-long disposition,” Dr. John M. Ringman said at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology.
“It’s well established now that the neuropathology of Alzheimer’s disease begins 15-20 years prior to overt symptoms,” said Dr. Ringman, a neurologist at the Mary S. Easton Center for Alzheimer’s Disease Research at the University of California, Los Angeles. “Symptoms of depression, anxiety, apathy, and irritability are more frequent in persons with mild cognitive impairment (MCI). Further studies suggest that the presence of such symptoms in the context of MCI may better predict who will progress to develop Alzheimer’s disease.”
Posted by WBHI on Feb 27, 2013 in Helpful Thinking
by Tami Doyle for Marion Star:
“If it weren’t for our friend who is a crop duster, we would never have found mom huddled in the middle of the bean field. One minute she was there, the next we had no idea what direction she went since her house is surrounded by corn fields.”
This is the true story of a Marion family who has a mother with dementia. Their mother wandered off when no one was looking and couldn’t remember how to get back.
No cure for Alzheimer’s: There is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s disease or for most other causes of dementia. Researchers still do not know how to prevent the disease from occurring, how to stop its progression or how to reverse its effects. Hopefully, more research will make a cure possible. There are a number of drug treatments that can help some people.
Posted by WBHI on Feb 1, 2013 in Helpful Thinking
by Carol W. Berman M.D. for Huffington Post:
At first, denial can be a healthy defense against admitting that your loved one has dementia.
Denial involves not acknowledging what you see or hear and/or unconsciously negating what you see or hear. Denial helps you block the more painful aspects of reality. However, if denial continues too long, then it can be life-threatening to you and your loved one.
Here’s what happened to me, a psychiatrist, and my husband who died seven months ago from Lewy body dementia.
One day he tried to cut my bangs, something he always did for me in between hairdresser appointments. We both enjoyed this ritual. Although he was an attorney by trade, he was pretty handy with scissors, knives, and other tools. I combed my hair and sat down in front of him, ready for my bang trim.
With his usual confidence, he grabbed my bangs and moved the scissors toward me. My eyes were closed, but fortunately I opened them just before he began to cut. He had the angle all wrong. I was shocked as I grabbed his hand and asked what he was doing. I saw a blank stare. My husband was a gentle man and would never hurt me, that’s why I’d chosen to be with him, but he was unaware of how close he’d come to gouging my eyes out. His senses of distance, danger, and appropriateness were all thrown off.
This incident — which occurred a year into the diagnosis — literally opened my eyes to the dangers of denial.
Posted by WBHI on Dec 8, 2012 in Think About It
by Carol Bradley Bursack for AgingCare:
With Alzheimer’s so much in the news, it’s natural to ask yourself sometimes whether you could be on the brink of the disease or some other dementia. This worry is compounded in people who have early onset Alzheimer’s in their families. After all, who hasn’t forgotten keys, messed up a checkbook or even neglected to pay a bill?
Don’t panic. Stress can be a huge culprit when it comes to memory problems, as can medications, infections and sleep deprivation. So it’s important to take a realistic look at your situation.
Check for changes in behavior
If you always mess up when you balance your checkbook, you probably shouldn’t be too concerned if you do it again. However, if you are an accountant and the numbers no longer make sense, then it’s time to consider a checkup.
Posted by WBHI on Nov 12, 2012 in Think Ahead
by Pam Belluck for The New York Times:
Scientists studying Alzheimer’s disease are increasingly finding clues that the brain begins to deteriorate years before a person shows symptoms of dementia.
Now, research on a large extended family of 5,000 people in Columbia with a genetically driven form of Alzheimer’s has found evidence that the precursors of the disease begin even earlier than previously thought, and that this early brain deterioration occurs in more ways than has been documented before.
The studies, published this month in the journal Lancet Neurology, found that the brains of people destined to develop Alzheimer’s clearly show changes at least 20 years before they have any cognitive impairment. In the Colombian family, researchers saw these changes in people ages 18 to 26; on average, members of this family develop symptoms of mild cognitive impairment at 45 and of dementia at 53.
Posted by WBHI on Oct 16, 2012 in Think Outside The Box
by Brandon Keim for Wired:
Diagnosing dementia early is both important and difficult. Carnegie Mellon University neuroscientist Anind Dey thinks he’s found a better way.
By embedding motion-detecting sensors in domestic objects, such as coffee machines and pill boxes, Dey can make informational representations of people performing everyday tasks. Doctors can then look at that data for subtle changes suggesting mental decline.
“Right now, the state of medicine being what it is, you have an occupational therapist come to your parents’ or grandparents’ house once every six months,” said Dey, who presented his dwellSense platform Oct. 16 at the Wired Health Conference in New York City. For a diagnosis in which a few months can make a difference, that’s not frequently enough.
by Alysha Reid for Everyday Health:
There’s growing evidence that small changes in the way you walk, chew, sleep, and feel may be subtle early indicators of dementia.
Dementia is characterized by the progressive loss of cognitive functioning as brain cells are destroyed. Major symptoms of dementia include personality changes, memory loss, neglecting to maintain personal hygiene, and trouble with speaking and socializing. While Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause, dementia can also be triggered by a stroke, long-term substance abuse, Parkinson’s disease, severe head injuries, and other health conditions.
But long before you show obvious signs of dementia, certain changes in your behavior could signal that you may have the condition.
Posted by WBHI on Oct 1, 2012 in Think About It
by Times Live:
Losing keys, forgetting the name of a distant relative — these are not necessarily signs of dementia or another illness in elderly people.
“But if relatives no longer participate in conversations, don’t keep arrangements or have difficulty in finding the right words, this could be the first signs of dementia or Alzheimer’s,” says Joerg Schulz, a professor of neurology in the German city of Aachen.
A doctor is needed to come to an accurate diagnosis on the basis of the various factors, Schulz says. It is important to distinguish dementia from other illnesses, as one of the factors behind a loss of interest in life could be depression.
Posted by WBHI on Sep 14, 2012 in Helpful Thinking
by Elizabeth Nolan Brown for AARP:
One of the biggest misconceptions about dementia is that it’s part of the normal course of aging. Alarmingly, that’s a belief shared by many caregivers for older adults. A new survey of relatives and friends caring for people now diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or other dementia found two-thirds mistook early symptoms for normal cognitive wear and tear. In doing so, they may have delayed proper diagnosis and early treatment for their loved ones.
The survey, “Alzheimer’s Caregivers: Behavioral vs. Cognitive Challenges,” was released yesterday by the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America. The findings “reinforce that education and early detection must be among the nation’s key strategies in tackling” Alzheimer’s, said AFA President Eric Hall. “Families can’t afford missed opportunities for help that can result from a timely and proper diagnosis.”
Posted by WBHI on Aug 27, 2012 in Think It Over, Think Twice
by Staness Jonekos for Huffington Post:
Are you suffering from hot flashes, night sweats or cranky moods? Feeling hopeless, apprehensive or deep sadness for prolonged periods? If so, you may be suffering from perimenopausal depression.
Depression is more common among women than men. Biological, life cycle, hormonal and psychosocial factors that women experience may be linked to women’s higher depression rate. Researchers have shown that hormones directly affect the brain chemistry that controls emotions and mood.
Perimenopausal symptoms may be the cause of depression, and for some, it may even be clinical depression.