Sep 17, 2009

Infection Can Hasten Alzheimer's Memory Loss

Bob DeMarcoBy Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room

My name is Bob DeMarco, I am an Alzheimer's caregiver. My mother Dorothy, now 93 years old, suffers from Alzheimer's disease.

Infection Can Hasten Alzheimer's Memory Loss
This has been a particularly bad week for my mother, and me.

Once again my mother has a urinary track infection (UTI)--the fourth time this year. Each time this happens my mother's Alzheimer's seems to worsen. This time around it was horrific.

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My mother seemed completely disoriented. On Monday morning, I woke up when I heard my mother yelling, Bobby, Bobby, Bobby. She came down to my room and asked me if I was in bed for the night. It was 6:45 AM. When I tried to explain to her it was morning, she started whimpering, and started telling me about how she is losing it.

My mother started on the antibiotics for the infection last week. Like I said she was just "out of it" in a way I had never seen before. On one morning she asked me where we were. I told her home. Her response, is this where we live?

From that point on, I started to feel like I was getting sick. I felt achy, lethargic, I didn't fell like doing anything. At first, I thought I was getting sick. After a couple of days, I finally realized I was getting stressed out--depressed?

I know that more than 40 percent of Alzheimer's caregivers suffer from depression. I am smart enough to know that I am made of flesh and blood just like every other caregiver. I often assess how I am feeling. I remind myself I need to do all the necessary things to ward off depression.

I can't tell you how many times a caregiver has told me directly, or via email, a story about how their loved one suffering from Alzheimer's got sick and took a turn for the worse. Most of these stories revolve around infections, or short trips to the hospital.

A new study published in the journal Neurology-->Systemic inflammation and disease progression in Alzheimer disease-- indicates that infections (like UTI) can hasten memory loss in people with Alzheimer's.

The research found a link between common infections, such as a cold, stomach bug or urine infection and an increase in inflammation like reactions in the brain which led to an increased rate of cognitive decline. Study results showed that people who got an infection had twice the rate of cognitive decline as people without infections.

Dr Susanne Sorensen, Head of Research, Alzheimer's Society says,
"It's important that older people, people with dementia and carers treat any infection seriously and seek medical help. Professionals treating people with Alzheimer's disease also have a responsibility to be vigilant in their efforts to treat infections in people with Alzheimer's disease early and effectively."
Bottom line here--stay on top of infections and get into the doctor's office immediately.

Research reference: 'Systemic inflammation and disease progression in Alzheimer disease' Clive Holmes, C. Cunnigham, E.Zotova, J. Woolford, C. Dean, S. Kerr, D. Culliford, V.H. Perry. The study involved 300 people with mild to severe Alzheimer's disease.

Here is a good article that covers this research -- Infection Could Hasten Alzheimer's Memory Loss

Note to readers: We are both doing a lot better today.

Also see -- Urinary Incontinence -- How We Beat Alzheimer's Incontinence -- The Solution

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Bob DeMarco
Bob DeMarco is the Founder of the Alzheimer's Reading Room and an Alzheimer's caregiver. The ARR knowledge base contains more than 3,811 articles with more than 306,100 links on the Internet. Bob lives in Delray Beach, FL.

Original content Bob DeMarco, Alzheimer's Reading Room