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3 Health Tips for Alzheimer’s Caregivers

From the Alzheimer’s Disease Education and Referral Center

3 health tips for Alzheimer’s caregiversWhen you are caring for a person with Alzheimer’s disease, it’s important to make your own health a priority. Staying physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy will make you a better caregiver. Here are 3 tips on how to care for yourself while caring for others:

  • Ask for help. Being able to take regular breaks from caregiving will help reduce stress and burnout.
  • Get regular exercise. Find activities you enjoy and you’ll be more likely to stick with them. You don’t have to do it alone—partner up with your loved one for short walks or dancing.
  • Eat healthy foods. Make sure to choose a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein.

Read the full tip sheet Alzheimer’s Caregiving Tips: Caring for Yourself on the ADEAR website and visit our dedicated Alzheimer’s caregiving page for more resources.

Share these tips on social media with this message:

#Caregivers—take care of yourself so you can take care of others. Get tips on making your #health a priority. http://1.usa.gov/1HWMr7n

Related Online Continuing Education Courses:

Alzheimer’s Caregiver Guide and Tips on Acute Hospitalization is a 1-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that offers strategies for managing the everyday challenges of caring for a person with Alzheimer’s disease and includes tips on acute hospitalization.

Caring for a Person with Alzheimer’s Disease is a 3-hour online CEU course that discusses practical issues concerning caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease who has mild-to-moderate impairment, including a description of common challenges and coping strategies.

Alzheimer’s Disease Progress Report: Intensifying the Research Effort is a 3-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that reviews basic mechanisms and risk factors of AD and details recent research findings.

Professional Development Resources is approved to offer continuing education by the American Psychological Association (APA); the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA); the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR); the California Board of Behavioral Sciences; the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy, Psychology & School Psychology, Dietetics & Nutrition, Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, and Occupational Therapy Practice; the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board; the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs; and by theTexas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists and State Board of Social Worker Examiners.

 
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Posted by on June 8, 2015 in Alzheimer's

 

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New Hope for Alzheimer’s Treatment

From Science Alert

New Alzheimer’s treatment fully restores memory function. Of the mice that received the treatment, 75 percent got their memory function back.
New Hope for Alzheimer's Treatment
Australian researchers have come up with a non-invasive ultrasound technology that clears the brain of neurotoxic amyloid plaques – structures that are responsible for memory loss and a decline in cognitive function in Alzheimer’s patients.

If a person has Alzheimer’s disease, it’s usually the result of a build-up of two types of lesions – amyloid plaques, and neurofibrillary tangles. Amyloid plaques sit between the neurons and end up as dense clusters of beta-amyloid molecules, a sticky type of protein that clumps together and forms plaques.

Neurofibrillary tangles are found inside the neurons of the brain, and they’re caused by defective tau proteins that clump up into a thick, insoluble mass. This causes tiny filaments called microtubules to get all twisted, which disrupts the transportation of essential materials such as nutrients and organelles along them, just like when you twist up the vacuum cleaner tube.

As we don’t have any kind of vaccine or preventative measure for Alzheimer’s – a disease that affects 343,000 people in Australia, and 50 million worldwide – it’s been a race to figure out how best to treat it, starting with how to clear the build-up of defective beta-amyloid and tau proteins from a patient’s brain. Now a team from the Queensland Brain Institute (QBI) at the University of Queensland have come up with a pretty promising solution for removing the former.

Publishing in Science Translational Medicine, the team describes the technique as using a particular type of ultrasound called a focused therapeutic ultrasound, which non-invasively beams sound waves into the brain tissue. By oscillating super-fast, these sound waves are able to gently open up the blood-brain barrier, which is a layer that protects the brain against bacteria, and stimulate the brain’s microglial cells to activate. Microglila cells are basically waste-removal cells, so they’re able to clear out the toxic beta-amyloid clumps that are responsible for the worst symptoms of Alzheimer’s.

The team reports fully restoring the memory function of 75 percent of the mice they tested it on, with zero damage to the surrounding brain tissue. They found that the treated mice displayed improved performance in three memory tasks – a maze, a test to get them to recognise new objects, and one to get them to remember the places they should avoid.

“We’re extremely excited by this innovation of treating Alzheimer’s without using drug therapeutics,” one of the team, Jürgen Götz, said in a press release. “The word ‘breakthrough’ is often misused, but in this case I think this really does fundamentally change our understanding of how to treat this disease, and I foresee a great future for this approach.”

The team says they’re planning on starting trials with higher animal models, such as sheep, and hope to get their human trials underway in 2017.

You can hear an ABC radio interview with the team here.

Related ArticleScientists Encouraged by New Alzheimer’s Treatment

Related Online Continuing Education Courses:

Alzheimer’s Caregiver Guide and Tips on Acute Hospitalization is a 1-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that offers strategies for managing the everyday challenges of caring for a person with Alzheimer’s disease and includes tips on acute hospitalization.

Alzheimer’s Disease Progress Report: Intensifying the Research Effort is a 3-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that reviews basic mechanisms and risk factors of AD and details recent research findings.

Caring for a Person with Alzheimer’s Disease is a 3-hour online CEU course that discusses practical issues concerning caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease who has mild-to-moderate impairment, including a description of common challenges and coping strategies.

Alzheimer’s: Unraveling the Mystery is a 3-hour online CEU course that describes the risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease, effective steps for prevention, strategies for diagnosing and treating Alzheimer’s disease, and the search for new treatments.

These online courses provide instant access to the course materials (PDF download) and CE test. Successful completion of the online CE test (80% required to pass, 3 chances to take) and course evaluation are required to earn a certificate of completion. You can print the test (download test from My Courses tab of your account after purchasing) and mark your answers on while reading the course document. Then submit online when ready to receive credit.

Professional Development Resources is approved to offer continuing education by the American Psychological Association (APA); the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA); the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR); the California Board of Behavioral Sciences; the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy, Psychology & School Psychology, Dietetics & Nutrition, Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, and Occupational Therapy Practice; the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board; the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs; and by theTexas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists and State Board of Social Worker Examiners.

 
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Posted by on June 2, 2015 in Alzheimer's

 

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6 Ways To Keep Your Mind Sharp As You Age

By Leslie Kernisan

Want to stay mentally sharp for as long as possible?

6 Ways To Keep Your Mind Sharp As You AgeMyths and Facts About Cognitive Aging:

Myth: Maintaining cognitive health means preserving your memory.
Fact: Cognitive health is far more than having a good memory. It also involves decision-making, attention and problem-solving.

Myth: Cognitive function always declines with age.
Fact: Aging can have positive and negative effects on cognition.

Myth: Brain neurons die as you age, so there is no way to prevent cognitive decline.
Fact: In the absence of disease, neuron death is minimal.

Myth: There is nothing you can do to improve your cognitive health.
Fact: There are actions individuals and families can take to help support their cognitive health and adapt to age-related cognitive changes.

6 Ways to Protect Your Brain as You Age:

In its full report, the IOM devotes 120 pages to reviewing the factors that affect cognitive aging, along with interventions that might improve brain health. It summarizes the most important suggestions for the public in its handy action guide, and I’ve paraphrased them below (the first three are the most important):

  1. Be physically active.
  2. Reduce your cardiovascular risk factors (including hypertension, diabetes and smoking).
  3. Manage your medications by reviewing them with a clinician and learning about their effects on cognitive health.
  4. Be socially and intellectually active.
  5. Get adequate sleep.
  6. Learn to prevent delirium, a decrease in cognitive function that can be triggered by hospitalization, medications or certain illnesses.

Risky Medications and Delirium Prevention

All six of these recommendations are important and useful. But two particularly caught my eye, because they are actions that we especially focus on in geriatrics: medication management and delirium prevention.

Now I hate to say this, but I think you should know the truth: We geriatricians focus on them in part because they are often overlooked by our doctor colleagues. Most clinicians are very busy and usually have not had special training in modifying healthcare to be a better fit for older adults.

The IOM’s “Action Guide for Health Care Providers” spells out what doctors should be doing in those areas. For instance, it mentions that the use of over-the-counter anticholinergics should be assessed. (This is a topic I covered recently in a Next Avenue blog post.)

We hope that many health providers read this IOM action guide and modify their work accordingly.

But here’s an insider tip from me to you: When you find out that expert organizations feel the need to remind doctors to do something, that’s a sign that doctors aren’t doing it reliably. Which means it is smart to be proactive and remind your doctors to help you.

Why Seniors Get Delirium

Delirium is an incredibly common and important health complication that affects seniors.

It’s basically a state of worse-than-usual mental function that can be brought on by some illness or stress on the body or mind. It is the reason older adults are often confused after surgery, but can also be the only outward sign of a potentially serious infection in someone living at home. Delirium is associated with all kinds of bad health outcomes, including longer hospital stays, health complications and even acceleration of cognitive decline. But you can help prevent it, or at least make sure it gets noticed and managed promptly.

The IOM reports that cognitive aging can affect an older adult’s ability to manage complex tasks such as driving and finances. It notes that victims of financial elder abuse lose billions every year. (My guess is that many of those victims are suffering from more than cognitive aging, but yes, this is a serious problem.)

Nutrition and Other Approaches for Brain Health

In preparing this report, the IOM conducted a comprehensive review of different approaches that have been studied in relation to cognitive health. So if you are wondering about a particular approach that’s not mentioned above, chances are it is covered in the full report.

The summary on the effect of various diets, including the Mediterranean diet, is here and the summary regarding vitamins, including antioxidants, starts here.

Basically, for now the IOM has concluded that some of the dietary approaches have promise but we need more research to confirm their effectiveness. The report also concludes that the medical literature doesn’t convincingly support vitamin supplementation to prevent cognitive decline.

If You or a Relative Has Alzheimer’s

Part of the purpose of the IOM report is to draw attention to cognitive aging as a health issue that is distinct from dementia and deserves its own attention from the public, practicing clinicians and researchers.

This is a reasonable position. That said, if you’re concerned about brain health for someone with a dementia diagnosis, you should know this: The cognitive aging recommendations listed above do improve the brain health of people with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia.

Why? Because the recommendations are basically about how you can optimize brain health and brain function; they apply whether a person has experienced brain aging or extra damage from a disease.

If we can all do better in helping people optimize their brain health and in compensating for any cognitive aging, our society will be a better place for aging Americans.

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/05/13/myths-about-brain-health_n_7213754.html?ir=Healthy%20Living&ncid=newsltushpmg00000003

Related Online Continuing Education Courses for Healthcare Professionals:

Biology of Aging: Research Today for a Healthier Tomorrow is a 2-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that introduces some key areas of research and looks ahead to the future, as today’s research provides the strongest hints of things to come.

Alzheimer’s Disease Progress Report: Intensifying the Research Effort is a 3-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that reviews basic mechanisms and risk factors of AD and details recent research findings.

Aging: The Unraveling Self is a 3-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that examines the biological, social, and psychological aspects of aging.

Professional Development Resources is approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Professional Development Resources maintains responsibility for all programs and content. Professional Development Resources is also approved by the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA); the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR); the California Board of Behavioral Sciences; the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy, Psychology & School Psychology, Dietetics & Nutrition, Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, and Occupational Therapy Practice; the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board; the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs; and by theTexas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists and State Board of Social Worker Examiners.

 

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