... The researchers are looking into the possibility that protective inflammation can change to damaging inflammation when theimmune system of a person with Alzheimer’s
is challenged by an infection elsewhere in the body. In other words,
the immune system goes beyond its role as protector of the body and
causes damage, just as it does in an autoimmune disease.
A new study has concluded that a type of age-related memory loss not related
to Alzheimer’s disease could be reversible. A team of Columbia University
Medical Center (CUMC) researchers, led by Nobel laureate Eric R. Kandel, MD,
has concluded that deficiency in the hippocampus of the protein RbAp48 is
likely a significant contributor to age-related memory loss. The great news is
that this form of memory loss can be reversed.
Many people with Alzheimer's disease have been administered less pain
medication than peers with no dementia who suffer from similar painful diseases
or injuries. Since people in the later stages of Alzheimer’s can’t communicate
well other than by generally acting in an aggressive manner, they can’t
self-report pain. Some professionals have, in the past, concluded that the
neurodegeneration caused by the disease must lower the sensitivity to pain, so
less medication for pain relief.
It’s natural for caregivers to worry if their loved one is getting
sufficient nourishment. People with dementia are often a challenge
because they forget to eat, or they may have problems remembering how to
transfer food from the plate to their mouths. Some people have trouble
chewing and swallowing, especially during later stages of dementia.
Dear Carol:My mom has middle stage Alzheimer’s and I find
that I often treat her like a misbehaving child. That’s not my intention. I
respect her as my mother. But I have to say “no” to her when she insists she
can drive the car and when she wants to buy expensive things she sees on TV ads
or in catalogues. We even argue about what she wears. She says I’m bossy. I
seem to be doing something wrong. How do people cope with this? - Ginny
Dear Ginny: I admire your
awareness that even though you must monitor your mom’s behavior, she is still
your parent. That awareness tells me that you will do your best to honor your
mom’s place in your life even with the challenges presented by her dementia.
Ann's dad had owned his own business and had employees. He was very
successful. Ann's mom used to complain that after he retired, he wanted
to run the house, but it didn't seem too serious. Then, when Ann's mom
got sick, her dad's energy went into caregiving. He was a wonderful
caregiver all the way through.
The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences recently
published information about a study on aging volunteers that has
demonstrated how this combination of B vitamins has, in their trials, slowed atrophy of gray matter in brain
areas affected by Alzheimer’s disease. In the words of senior study
author A. David Smith, professor emeritus of pharmacology at Oxford
University in England, “It’s a big effect, much bigger than we would
have dreamt of.”
...The National Institute on Aging suggests additional causes for the discomfort that can triggeragitation or aggression.
Depression and stress lead the list, but too little rest, constipation,
soiled underwear, a sudden change in routine or surroundings, too many
people around, or being pushed by others to bathe or to remember things
beyond their grasp can all cause this distressed behavior. Loneliness
and interactions of medications are also possibilities.
Researchers at the CSIC Institute of Biomedical Research of Barcelona have discovered a biomarker that may provide a route to treatment for Alzheimer’s
a full decade before symptoms appear. The biomarker, mtDNA, was found
in the study participant’s spinal fluid. Dr. Ramon Trullas was the lead
author of the study which was published in Annals of Neurology.
...The kind, loving, intelligent man whose love for me was steadfast. I
wanted him back. Unfortunately, my family and I had to learn to accept
the fact that Dad would never be the same. While my Dad's dementia was instant, most dementias develop over
time. Yet, the end result is the same. The people who love them are
forced to accept tremendous, agonizing change. That’s a hard assignment
for most people, nearly impossible for others.