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July 2008

Dementia Care Download - Part II

I've been alerted to the fact that some can't download the PDF that I posted from the Michigan Dementia Coalition titled, "Knowledge and Skills Needed for Dementia Care" - (thanks Michelle, for letting me know).


This is a more direct link, so please try this. If anybody still can't download, please let me know and I'll figure out a different way.

The Glass Seed: A Daughter’s Quest to Understand Her Mother’s Dementia

Since each person is unique with a life, body and brain that is singular to him or herself, each person with dementia is going to experience a unique version of the disease. Yes, there are patterns to different types of dementia. We know that Alzheimer's disease has certain stages. However, people can seem to be in one stage one day, and bounce back to another stage the next.

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Johns Hopkins and MedHelp Collaborate

Folks, this is one great medical site. I'll be sharing some of my material on caregiving with the site, which I'll tell you more about later. But check this out:

From MedHelp:

"MedHelp announced a collaboration with Johns Hopkins Medicine, where specialists from Johns Hopkins will personally answer questions on a number of health topics on the MedHelp website. Medhelp, with over 5.5 million monthly users, is the largest online health community site connecting people with shared medical experiences."

About MedHelp:

"MedHelp provides its users with access to advice from experts at the top medical institutions such as the Cleveland Clinic, Johns Hopkins Medicine, National Jewish, Partners Health, and Mount Sinai. MedHelp members can access an online archive of millions of posts across hundreds of medical conditions. In addition, MedHelp offers personalized user accounts, information on health topics and treatments, and an extensive set of health tools to help users track and monitor various health conditions. For additional information, please visit www.medhelp.org."

Take it from me. You don't want to over look this site!

Is It Right to Convince Mom and Dad to Move Close to the Kids?

As a columnist for a newspaper on the High Plains, I often have readers write me that they are begging their parents to “come back home.” Many people, after retirement, like to leave our cold winters behind, so they summer up north (often in the Minnesota lake country) and then go to the southwest for the winter months. We even have a name for them – snowbirds.

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Arthritis Drug Studies Show Promise for Alzheimer’s Disease

Another day, another study. Still, new studies interest me, as they show the diverse ways brilliant minds are approaching the Alzheimer's mystery. An article on dailymail.co.uk titled, "New hope for Alzheimer's sufferers after new treatment 'restores memory in minutes,'" explains a nearly magical response by a person with Alzheimer's disease, to an injection of Enbrel, a TNF (tumor necrosis factor) drug used for rheumatoid arthritis. The man with Alzheimer's hadn't recognized his wife in months. Minutes after doctors injected the drug into the spine of the man with Alzheimer's, he recognized his wife.

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Learn To Better Use Video for Business and Family Fun

I've signed up for a two evening video course to better use video on my blogs and for other Internet projects. I've got the basics down, but there's much left to learn. I can't make the calls live, but they will be recorded for download and the price is a bargain. I thought I'd let readers know in case there's interest. You may want to check out "Boost Business With Videos 2 Day Event"  and join the group.

People With Dementia Can Often Enjoy the Past in the Present

My sister works for Prairie Public, our PBS station here on - well, here on the prairie. Prairie Public religiously runs the old Lawrence Welk shows, which are nearly fought over by underwriters, as they are so loyally watched. Lawrence Welk was born in tiny Strasburg, ND and died in 1992 in Santa Monica, CA.

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Is Heart-Healthy Good for the Brain?

Gloom and doom over the "tsunami" of baby boomers that is going to overwhelm everything from health care to the swimming pool is in the news daily. In fact, I'm getting pretty sick of being associated with a tsunami, but I'd better get used to it. When a phrase gets picked up that is dramatic and rolls of the tongue like that, it's not going to leave headlines anytime soon.

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Could Oxidative Stress Be a Cause of Alzheimer’s Disease?

A press release on pharmalive.com is intriguing. Titled “Alzheimer’s Drug Research: What if the Major Drug Companies Are Betting on the Wrong Horse?” this release focuses on alternative theories to the generally accepted ideas about what causes Alzheimer’s disease. The company featured in this release is a small biotech firm, Anavex, which is working developing a product to fight oxidative stress in the brain.

The release states: “Given the difficulties with the amyloid-beta approach, leading-edge pharmaceutical developers are turning to an alternative hypothesis about Alzheimer’s and driving novel approaches to possible treatments.  This alternate theory presumes that the disease’s cause is not amyloid-beta plaques but rather oxidative stress…”

 Farther down in the release, there are statements questioning the reason for the characteristic plaques and implying that the plaques may actually begin as the body’s attempt to correct the oxidation that is causing the disease. Will this be the direction of future research?

I’m happy to see this as another way of viewing the disease. Until there is a proven cause of Alzheimer’s, and effective treatment or prevention, researchers should be careful not to develop tunnel vision. All possible avenues need to be explored. For this to happen, there have to be companies willing to risk different approaches. 

Maybe, like cancer, Alzheimer’s isn’t all the same. Maybe there are different contributing causes. Until we know more, I enthusiastically greet each new study that shows promise, whether within the mainstream of scientific thought, or that of independent researchers looking for new paths to prevention and cure.

 If oxidation proves to be a cause, it is one more reason to eat a diet rich in antioxidants. That is something we can do now, without a prescription. I’m going to go grab a fist full of blueberries.