Dementia Feed

Gene Therapy Delivered by Modified Virus Provides Hope for Alzheimer's Cure

BRain15...In continuing efforts to find a genetic route to cure Alzheimer’s, the findings of one study could revolutionize the numbers given above. This study involves a treatment that delivers a modified virus to a gene in the brain that could wipe out the damage being done by developing Alzheimer’s before any symptoms occur. The virus, which is called a lentivirus vector, is already used in gene therapy. Researchers from Imperial College London, have shown how using this modified virus to deliver a gene, known as PGC1-alpha, to the brain cells of mice destroys the progression of AD.

Read full article on HealthCentral a virus that may help the AD fight before symptoms show:

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Care or Cure: Where Should Alzheimer's Funding Go?

ResearcherWhen you hear the next plea for increased Alzheimer’s funding – and you’ll hear a lot of it during the upcoming Alzheimer’s Awareness months, both global and national – your first thought will likely be that the money should go into to find a cure. However, people who already have the disease, as well as those who care for them, may disagree. A recent survey showed that these people feel that more financial resources should be dedicated to helping them live life with some quality. Funding research is fine, but that will only help people years in the future. They need help now.

Read full article on HealthCentral about the controversy when it comes to funding Alzheimer's:

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Fitness Is a Vital Part of Aging Well: An Interview with Dr. Drapkin

BicyclingHow vital is fitness to aging well? Very. A recent study of participants in the 2015 National Senior Games, also known as the Senior Olympics, revealed that the typical participant had a fitness age of more than 20 years younger than his or her chronological age. According to the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, fitness age is determined by a measure of cardiovascular endurance and is a better predictor of longevity than chronological age.

I asked Robert Drapkin, MD FACP, to help us understand the importance of physical activity to those of us who simply want to remain healthy. Dr. Drapkin is a former Instructor in Medicine, University of Illinois Hospital, Chicago, and a Memorial Sloan-Kettering trained Medical Oncologist. He’s Board Certified in Internal Medicine, Medical Oncology, and Palliative Care and a competitive body builder, as well.

Read full article on Healthcentral about the science behind aging well:

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Dementia: Moving Beyond Diagnosis toward Living with the Disease

Hands-touching-10035106For most anyone who has been diagnosed with dementia, or has loved someone with a type of dementia, the formal diagnosis was a moment frozen in time. A moment where the thought of possibly having a brain-destroying disease became a confirmed reality. That pivotal moment is life changing, however, people can move beyond that moment in time and learn to live with dementia.

For our family, that moment arrived after my dad came out of a surgery that was supposed to repair damage caused by a World War II brain injury. We had seen Dad wheeled into surgery. He’d propped himself up on one elbow and given us a signal that all would be well. That hand sign was accompanied by his signature smile.

Read full article on HealthCentral about living with dementia after the diagnosis:

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Dietary Needs Change for People Over 50: Here Are Some Tips

Food2Turning 50 is a milestone for many people. The half-century mark comes with new rules for medical tests and often brings a couple of health-related signals indicating that it’s for some dietary changes. Even if you have packed away a healthy 50 years or more, our nutritional needs change over time. Gradual dietary tweaks may be wise in order to ensure your golden years are, well, golden. To help you determine what nutrition your body needs as you age, it can be helpful to schedule a consultation with a registered dietician. To give AgingCare readers a head start, I asked Jeanna Freeman, RDN, to provide us with some rules of thumb for senior nutrition. As the clinical dietician at Blakeford, an elder care, and senior living provider in Nashville, Tennessee, Freeman works with elders of all ages and abilities to help them improve their health through smart eating.

Read full article on AgingCare about how our dietary needs change as we age:

Purchase Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories – paperback or ebook

An amazing book of stories that will touch your heart and encourage you, especially if you are a caregiver. Carol  Bradley Bursack also has an excellent website devoted to the elderly and their caregivers. - Carol Heilman


Caregiving Rewards Often Outlast Challenges

Caregiving6Many people are providing intensive care for adult children, others for parents or spouses. I feel it’s safe to say that all of us, with our diverse caregiving responsibilities, have had times when we wonder if we can go on. Conversely, nearly all of us have also had moments when we’ve looked at the people we are caring for and realized that being a caregiver is not just a responsibility, but an honor.

Read the full article on HealthCentral about how caregiving rewards can affect our lives forever:

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You Are Not Alone: Caregivers Share Their Experiences and Insights

CaregiverGroupThankfully, during this past decade, because of technology along with other awareness efforts, caregiver support has exploded with resources and professional help. Still, caregivers long to connect personally with each other and share, on an intimate level, what they’ve learned. The stories below are examples of that sharing spirit. Caregiving will change your life both positively and negatively, but these caregivers make it clear that you don’t have to go through it alone.

Read full article on HealthCentral about caregivers helping caregivers:

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Dementia Caregivers Grief Soul Deep, Defies Labeling

Depression7When a beloved elder dies, we may have varying reactions, frequently changing moment by moment. Naturally, there’s grief and the realization that we’ve seen the last of our loved one’s physical presence. Often, however, if the death follows a long illness or significant pain, we can also feel a sense of relief that their suffering is over and we can get on with healing. It’s often the in-between time - the caregiving years - that are the most difficult to label. Both of my parents endured long, slow declines with significant pain before their deaths. However, my dad’s decline was one that many caregivers of those with dementia will relate to.

Read full article on HealthCentral about dementia caregivers and their unique type of grief:

Purchase Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories – paperback or ebook

“I hold onto your book as a life preserver and am reading it slowly on purpose...I don't want it to end.”  Craig William Dayton, Film Composer


People with Dementia Are Often Undertreated for Pain

PhysicalTherapyWhen people lose their ability to articulate what is causing them pain, this pain is often overlooked by doctors. A recent Slovenian study presented at the Congress of the European Academy of Neurology (EAN) in Copenhagen and conducted by Dr. Martin Rakusa investigated this problem. It involved 452 patients with an average age of 65 who had been treated for diabetes over a period of many years.

Some 44 percent (199 individuals) were considered cognitively impaired. Using careful examination to compare pain levels of those who could communicate with those who could not, it became obvious to the team that those who could not communicate their pain still experienced as much pain as those who could.

Read full article on HealthCentral about treatment for pain in people with dementia:

Purchase Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories – paperback or ebook

An amazing book of stories that will touch your heart and encourage you, especially if you are a caregiver. Carol  Bradley Bursack also has an excellent web site devoted to the elderly and their caregivers. - Carol Heilman


Stress and Alzheimer's: More Evidence Strengthens the Link

Brain6Stress has long been considered a major risk for developing Alzheimer’s, but there hasn’t been any real understanding as to why this is so. Now, researchers at the Center for Translational Research in Neurodegenerative Disease at the University of Florida think that they’ve come closer to discovering the connection.

Read full article on HealthCentral about stress and Alzheimer's and need to take care of ourselves:

Support a caregiver or jump start discussion in support groups with real stories - for bulk orders of Minding Our Elders e-mail Carol