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July 2010

Many Ask Is It Alzhemer's or Dementia?

Hindsight tells me that my mother-in-law, Alice, was already suffering from dementia while she was the primary caregiver of my very ill father-in-law, Milton. I still remember one of the times when I was keeping Milton company while Alice drove off to the grocery store. Milton and I were having a good time, at least as good a time as one can when pending death is the third presence in the room. We knew we were "closing up shop," as we called it.

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Is Your Dad's Confusion Dementia or Too Many Prescriptions?

As people age, they generally have more health issues than when they were younger. This often means more doctors become involved in their care, which can mean more prescriptions. Unfortunately, if the elder sees different doctors, especially those at different clinics and hospitals, prescriptions are not always tracked efficiently. This can lead not only to over-prescribing, but interacting drugs and increased side effects,

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Early Diagnosis for Alzheimer's Disease: The Reasons to Do So Keep Building

The time when an informed doctor would say, "Yes, you have Alzheimer's disease. Sorry, but there's nothing to be done," is over. There is still no cure, and the causes of AD are still widely debated and studied. However, unlike just a few years back, there are some treatments available.

Medications Can Slow Decline

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved donepezil (Aricept), rivastigmine (Exelon) and galantamine (Razadyne) as drugs which may help maintain cognitive abilities and help control some behavioral symptoms for a few months to a few years.

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Joint Replacement Registry Should Help Doctors Keep Track of Implant Device Success and Failure

A paper released in the online and print editions of Clinical Orthopedics and Related Research, a journal of the Association of Bone and Joint Surgeons, reports on the success of a total Joint Replacement Registry that Kaiser Permanente had developed.  The paper states that, “Total Joint Replacement Registry was developed in a large community-based practice to track implant utilization, monitor revisions and complications, identify patients during recalls and advisories, and provide feedback on clinical practices.”

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Emotional Flatness in Alzheimer’s Can Seem Like Depression

Because doctors and lay people alike often leap to the conclusion that an elder with an Alzheimer's diagnosis, and exhibiting lack of interest in his or her surroundings, is depressed, I found a new study undertaken at the University of Florida intriguing. In an article titled, "Emotional Flatness Can Be Mistaken for Depression in Alzheimer's Patients," researchers spelled out the difference between clinical depression and what they termed "emotional flatness." The study showed that doctors often prescribe anti-depressants for Alzheimer's patients who aren't clinically depressed. These Alzheimer's patients are just exhibiting a fairly normal response to their surroundings considering the disease they live with.

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Don’t Ignore Referral to Medical Doctor

Dear Carol: I took my mother to the dentist and he found an area in her mouth that worried him. He suggested we have her regular doctor take a look. Couldn’t he have just given her a prescription? It’s hard to get Mom to these appointments. Bill

Dear Bill: Often a good dentist will spot a potential problem and refer a patient to his or her doctor. This is the case with most good medical people. Healthy people often see their dentist more often than their medical doctor, because they go for dental cleanings every six months and they may only see their doctor once a year,

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New Plan to Diagnose Alzheimer’s Before Symptoms Apparent Not Without Drawbacks

New diagnostic guidelines were discussed at an international Alzheimer's meeting in Hawaii recently. These guidelines have much to offer, but also leave us much to consider when it comes to "unintended consequences" - the problems that come along with so many basically good strides in health care, legislation and research.I think of the The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) as an example.

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Elders and Heat: Sometimes a Deadly Combination

The heat is on. July and August, for many of us, puts the temperatures up in an uncomfortable range. These stifling temps remind me of my mother-in-law. She had a wall air conditioner in her condominium, but she would not use it. Even though the noon hour was my usual time to see her, during hot weather I'd run over in the mid-morning and mid-afternoon, as well. I'd turn on her AC, as she'd sit with her windows closed, draperies closed and virtually no air.

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Do You Know a Family Caregiver You'd Like to Honor?

SEEKING NOMINATIONS—FAMILY CAREGIVER OF THE YEAR AWARD

One out of every four adult Americans is currently providing care for a parent or loved one—do you know a caregiver who deserves to be recognized?

FamilyCaregiverBlog.com is seeking community nominations for its annual “Family Caregiver of the Year” award program." In addition to dozens of local awards, nominees have the opportunity to win a $5,000 grand prize for the national award.

Nominations will be accepted through July 31 at www.familycaregiverblog.com. A panel including experts from AAPR, the Alzheimer’s Association, and CareScout/Genworth Financial and more, will judge submissions.

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Nasal Insulin Could Help People with Early Alzheimer’s or Mild Cognitive Decline

Evidence continues to accumulate that shows a correlation between overall health and Alzheimer's. Now, insulin, given in the form of a nasal spray, is being tested on people with Alzheimer's disease, with good preliminary results.

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