Bob DeMarco Alzheimer's Reading Room

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Caregiver Resources



The list on the follow page is a comprehensive list of caregiver resources. It is well worth copying for future reference.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Alzheimer's Reading Suggestions


By Topic



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The Validation Breakthrough: Simple Techniques for Communicating with People with Alzheimer's Type Dementia


You might get the impression from the title that this book is only for professionals; this is not the case. The validation theory works and it is simple to apply. The case studies are invaluable and provide you with specific situations that you are sure to encounter. I am convinced everyone involved with elderly parents suffering from dementia or Alzheimer's will benefit from by reading and utilizing this book.

This book contains valuable techniques that are designed to help you communicate more effectively with your loved one. Once perfected you will be able to put away those feelings of frustration and helplessness. Importantly, the learned techniques will help you reduce stress.

I give The Validation Breakthrough five stars and it is on my must read list.






The Validation Breakthrough: Simple Techniques for Communicating with People with Alzheimer's Type Dementia


Please take a moment to read the reviews on the next page.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

I Missed the Early Signs of Dementia in my Mother


Looking back, there is little doubt in my mind I should have realized my mother was suffering from Alzheimer's disease sooner.

Sadly, I didn't have the proper education, information, or frame of reference. Most people tend to ignore the early symptoms of the disease believing they are simply signs of "old age". Anyone who ends up in my shoes knows and understands that a person in the early stages of Alzheimer’s can function normally--even drive a car. Only when they deteriorate or some "event" takes place do we wake up to reality.

Dementia Factsheet (Alzheimer's Disease)



I ran across this factsheet from the Milton S Hershey Medical Center. The section entitled,What are the Symptoms, is particularly interesting.

Source Milton S Hershey Medical Center

Dementia

What is it?


Dementia is the gradual deterioration of mental functioning, such as concentration, memory, and judgment, which affects a person’s ability to perform normal daily activities.

Who gets it?

Dementia occurs primarily in people who are over the age of 65, or in those with an injury or disease that affects brain function. While dementia is most commonly seen in the elderly, it is not a normal consequence of the aging process.

What causes it?

Dementia is caused by the death of brain cells. Brain cells can be destroyed by brain diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, or strokes (called vascular or multi-infarct dementia), which decrease blood flow to the brain. Lewy body dementia is another common cause attributed to changes in brain tissue. Other causes can include AIDS, high fever, dehydration, hydrocephalus, systemic lupus erythematosus, Lyme disease, long-term drug or alcohol abuse, vitamin deficiencies/poor nutrition, hypothyroidism or hypercalcemia, multiple sclerosis, brain tumor, or diseases such as Pick’s, Parkinson's, Creutzfeldt-Jakob, or Huntington's. Dementia can also result from a head injury that causes hemorrhaging in the brain or a reaction to a medication.

What are the symptoms?

In most cases, the symptoms of dementia occur gradually, over a period of years. Symptoms of dementia caused by injury or stroke occur more abruptly. Difficulties often begin with memory, progressing from simple forgetfulness to the inability to remember directions, recent events, and familiar faces and names. Other symptoms include difficulty with spoken communication, personality changes, problems with abstract thinking, poor personal hygiene, trouble sleeping, and poor judgment and decision making. Dementia is extremely frustrating for the patient, especially in the early stages when he or she is aware of the deficiencies it causes. People with dementia are likely to lash out at those around them, either out of frustration or because their difficulty with understanding makes them misinterpret the actions of others. They become extremely confused and anxious when in unfamiliar surroundings or with any change in routine. They may begin a task, such as cooking, then wander away aimlessly and completely forget what they had been doing. Dementia is often accompanied by depression and delirium, which is characterized by an inability to pay attention, fluctuating consciousness, hallucinations, paranoia, and delusions. People in advanced stages of dementia lose all control of bodily functions and are completely dependent upon others.

How is it diagnosed?

Dementia is diagnosed through a study of the patient’s medical history and a complete physical and neurological exam. The doctor will speak with those close to the patient to document a pattern of behavior. He or she will also evaluate the patient’s mental functioning with tests of mental status, such as those that require the patient to recall words, lists of objects, names of objects, and recent events. Diagnostic tests, such as blood tests, x-rays, or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), positron emission tomography (PET), or computed tomography (CT) scans, can help determine the cause of the dementia.

What is the treatment?

In some instances, treating the cause of dementia may successfully reverse some or all of the symptoms. This is the case when the cause is related to a vitamin/nutritional deficiency, tumor, alcohol or drug abuse, reaction to a medication, or hormonal disorder. When dementia is related to an irreversible destruction of brain tissue, such as with Alzheimer’s disease, Lewy body dementia, or multiple strokes, treatment involves improving the patient’s quality of life as much as possible. This includes maintaining a stable, safe, supportive environment and providing constant supervision. While this may be done in the home, people in the advanced stages of dementia may require round-the-clock care in a long-term healthcare facility. It is important to provide the patient with structured activities and avoid disruptions to his or her daily routine. Many patients enjoy therapeutic activities, such as crafts or games, designed specifically for people with dementia. Some medications, such as donepezil and tacrine, have been effective in improving the mental functions of those in the beginning stages of dementia. Patients with hallucinations and delusions may also be treated with antipsychotic drugs, while antidepressant medications are used to treat depression.

Self-care tips

There is currently no known way to prevent dementia associated with Alzheimer's disease. You can decrease your risk of dementia associated with stroke by maintaining a healthy lifestyle, following a heart-healthy diet, and controlling high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Healthy lifestyles, including not smoking and not abusing drugs and alcohol, go a long way in keeping most people in good health. Caring for a person with dementia is stressful. It is important to learn all you can about the disease, seek the help of support groups, and find a responsible caregiver who can give you a break when needed. There are daycare programs specifically designed for patients with dementia that are good for the patient and the family.


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This information has been designed as a comprehensive and quick reference guide written by our health care reviewers. The health information written by our authors is intended to be a supplement to the care provided by your physician. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice.




Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Alzheimer's Drug Successful Test CTS-21166


clipped from www.omrf.org
CoMentis, a California/Oklahoma City-based pharmaceutical company, is developing a beta-secretase inhibitor, CTS-21166, discovered by Dr. Tang and Dr. Arun Ghosh of Purdue University. Unlike the existing Alzheimer’s drugs that treat only the symptoms, CTS-21166 inhibits, or turns off, the mechanism believed to lead to disease progression. The Phase I clinical trial results showed CTS-21166 to be safe and well tolerated in humans at various dose levels. Following the administration of a single dose,
CTS-21166 reduced the levels of plasma beta amyloid, a potential cause of progression of the disease, by as much as 60 percent.
“CTS-21166 represents an entirely new approach to the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease by inhibiting beta-secretase, an enzyme critical in the production of potentially toxic amyloid beta,” said Henry Hsu, M.D., CoMentis Chief Medical Officer. “It has the potential to become the first-in-class disease-modifying therapeutic agent.”

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Bob DeMarco is the editor of the Alzheimer's Reading Room and an Alzheimer's caregiver. The Alzheimer's Reading Room is the number one website on the Internet for news, advice, and insight into Alzheimer's disease. Bob has written more than 950 articles with more than 8,000 links on the Internet. Bob resides in Delray Beach, FL.

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Thursday, January 10, 2008

Reversing Symptoms of Alzheimer's?


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Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Anti-Alzheimer's Mechanism In Omega-3 Fatty Acids Found


Many Alzheimer's researchers have long touted fish oil, by pill or diet, as an accessible and inexpensive "weapon" that may delay or prevent this debilitating disease. Now, UCLA scientists have confirmed that fish oil is indeed a deterrent against Alzheimer's, and they have identified the reasons why.
Greg Cole
associate director of UCLA's Alzheimer Disease Research Center, and his colleagues report that the omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) found in fish oil increases the production of LR11, a protein that is found at reduced levels in Alzheimer's patients and which is known to destroy the protein that forms the "plaques" associated with the disease.
We found that even low doses of DHA increased the levels of LR11 in rat neurons
Based on the positive results, the National Institutes of Health is currently conducting a large-scale clinical trial with DHA in patients with established Alzheimer's disease.
This research is reported in the Journal of Neuroscience, now online.
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