CareGiversPro Newsletter

CAREGIVERSPRO-MMD Newsletter Issue No.3

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Image source: caregiversprommd-project.eu

CAREGIVERSPRO-MMD is a European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation project, targeted to people with mild to moderate dementia and their caregivers. The main objective of the project is to provide dementia community with an innovative digital platform whose personalized services will assist to meet the care needs and will meliorate the quality of life of the “dyad” person living with dementia – caregiver.

The latest CAREGIVERSPRO-MMD Newsletter is available here

Current evidence on diet, cognitive impairment and dementia.

The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) position statement on current evidence on diet, cognitive impairment and dementia.

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This position statement by SACN provides an overview of the currently available evidence on nutrition and cognitive impairment and dementia (including Alzheimer’s disease) in adults. It considers evidence relevant to the prevention – not the treatment – of cognitive impairment or dementia.

The position statement concludes that:

  • the evidence base in this area is very limited
  • there is no evidence that specific nutrients or food supplements affect the risk of cognitive impairment or dementia
  • there is some observational evidence that greater adherence to a Mediterranean dietary pattern may be associated with reduced risk of mild cognitive impairment and dementia

While there is no single Mediterranean diet, such diets tend to include higher intakes of vegetables, fruit, legumes, cereals, fish and monounsaturated fatty acids; lower intakes of saturated fat, dairy products and meat; and a moderate alcohol intake. Mediterranean type diets broadly align with current UK healthy eating recommendations as depicted in the Eatwell Guide (PHE, 2016).

Full document: SACN statement on diet, cognitive impairment and dementias

You can find more information about SACN online.

Heavy drinking can increase the risk of developing dementia

Largest study of its kind finds alcohol use biggest risk factor for dementia | The Lancet Public Health | Story via ScienceDaily

drink-2736560_1920 (1)An observational study of over one million adults diagnosed with dementia in France has found that alcohol use disorders are the most important preventable risk factors for the onset of all types of dementia, especially early-onset dementia.

The study looked specifically at the effect of alcohol use disorders, and included people who had been diagnosed with mental and behavioural disorders or chronic diseases that were attributable to chronic harmful use of alcohol. Of the 57,000 cases of early-onset dementia (before the age of 65), the majority (57%) were related to chronic heavy drinking.

As a result of the strong association found in this study, the authors suggest that screening, brief interventions for heavy drinking, and treatment for alcohol use disorders should be implemented to reduce the alcohol-attributable burden of dementia.

Full story at ScienceDaily

Link to research: Schwarzinger, M |  Contribution of alcohol use disorders to the burden of dementia in France 2008–13: a nationwide retrospective cohort study | The Lancet Public Health | published online 20 February 2018

Related:

Housing for older people

A report by the Communities and Local Government (CLG) Committee has concluded that a national strategy for older people’s housing is needed to bring together and improve policy in this area | House of Commons Select Committee

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A report on Housing for Older People recommends that the wider availability of housing advice and information should be central to a national strategy. The report calls on the Government to recognise the link between homes and health and also recommends that the National Planning Policy Framework be amended to encourage the development of more housing for older people, and that councils identify a target proportion of new housing to be developed for this purpose.

New homes, the report recommends, should be accessible and adaptable  so that they are ‘age proofed’ and can meet the current and future needs of older people.

Further details:

 

Dementia Community of Practice Newsletter- February 2018

Dementia Community of Practice Newsletter | Hospice UK

The latest Dementia Community of Practice Newsletter (February 2018) is now available online.  The Newsletter includes details of upcoming events, and features articles including:

The full newsletter can be viewed via Hospice UK

Challenging behaviour, BPSD and stress and distress

Challenging behaviour, BPSD and stress and distress: Potato, Po-ta-toe? | Perry, W. | The Dementia Services Development Centre

In this article, Wendy Perry discusses the use of the term ‘challenging behaviour‘ in reference to people living with dementia. This, she explains, places the emphasis on the behaviour of the person without taking into account the bigger picture. Equally the use of Behavioural and Psychological Symptoms of Dementia (BPSD) makes it appear as though behaviour changes are a) a recognised symptom of dementia and b) unavoidable.

The Dementia Services Development Centre instead recommend using the term ‘stress and distress’, because most changes in behaviour are caused by heightened levels of stress for the person living with dementia.

Full blog: Challenging behaviour, BPSD and stress and distress: Potato, Po-ta-toe?

Dementia research must study care as well as cure

In this article, Doug Brown, Chief policy and research officer at Azheimers Society explores research investment in dementia.  He finds that there is a strong focus on finding a cure, with less than 5% of funding studying the best possible care for those affected | Story via The Guardian

The need for a cure for dementia is as pressing as ever, but we also need care research to develop practical solutions that can benefit people with the condition and their carers. In this article, Doug Brown argues that Improving knowledge and practices among health and social care professionals, as well as the quality and inclusivity of the wider system, is just as important as developing medical treatments.

A new Alzheimer’s Society report asked researchers, people with dementia, and the professionals who support them to help create a roadmap for the research needed to deliver these improvements. The roadmap offers five key goals:

  • Increase knowledge of risk factors to prevent future cases of dementia
  • Maximise the benefits of seeking and receiving a dementia diagnosis
  •  Improve quality of life for people affected by dementia
  •  Enable the dementia workforce to deliver improved practice
  •  Optimise quality and inclusivity of health and social care systems

These broad research goals are broken down into recommendations and an action plan that will help achieve them.

Full article via The Guardian

Related: Dementia research roadmap for prevention, diagnosis, intervention and care by 2025 | Azheimers Society

 

 

Music and dementia

In this blog, NHS England’s National Clinical Director for Dementia and the Deputy Chief Allied Health Professions Officer look at how music can trigger golden memories and benefit people with dementia | NHS England

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This blog explores the many benefits music can have in the setting of dementia. Music, the authors state, can help reduce anxiety and depression, help maintain speech and language, is helpful at the end of life, enhances quality of life and has a positive impact on carers. The article quotes specific benefits including:

  • music provides a ready resource for enjoyment and entertainment, especially when shared with families and loved ones in a shared experience
  • bespoke playlists for carers and loved ones for people with dementia can facilitate sharing and very positive interactions

Full blog: Music and dementia: a powerful connector

See also: Commission into Music and Dementia | The International Longevity Centre

NHS Health Check: Dementia

A range of tools and resources on Dementia Risk Reduction

  • The NHS Health Check dementia leaflet has been developed to support the dementia information given to those aged 65-74 years of age during their appointment.  These leaflets are available to order free of charge in a variety of formats and languages through the Department of Health order line
  • NHS Health Check’s top tips draw on current evidence and aims to help inform local decisions on how the NHS Health Check programme is delivered.
  • The revised NHS Health Check 30 minute e-learning for practitioners to introduce the dementia risk reduction component, updated January 2018
  • A page providing links to Training tools and resourcesThese include:
    • 3 Videos-1) Dementia and the NHS Health Check; 2) Delivering the dementia component; 3) A walk through the dementia leaflet
    • A slide set on ‘Helping your brain to stay healthy’
    • NHS Health Check Dementia Component-Prompt sheet for Health Care Practitioners
    • References and statistics to support the dementia NHS Health Check slide deck
    • How to use the NHS Health Check dementia leaflet in your appointments

The video below highlights ways to reduce the risk of developing dementia:

 

Poor fitness linked to weaker brain fibre, higher dementia risk

New research supports the hypothesis that improving people’s fitness may improve their brain health and slow down the aging process | Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease | via ScienceDaily

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A new study has provided more evidence to suggest that exercise improves brain health and could be a lifesaving ingredient that prevents Alzheimer’s disease. Published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, the study suggests that the lower the fitness level, the faster the deterioration of vital nerve fibres in the brain.

This deterioration results in cognitive decline, including memory issues characteristic of dementia patients.

The research focused on a type of brain tissue called white matter, which is composed of millions of bundles of nerve fibres used by neurons to communicate across the brain.

Older patients at high risk to develop Alzheimer’s disease and who had early signs of memory loss, or mild cognitive impairment (MCI) were enrolled. The researchers determined that lower fitness levels were associated with weaker white matter, which in turn correlated with lower brain function.

Further detail at ScienceDaily

Full reference: Ding, K. et al. | Cardiorespiratory Fitness and White Matter Neuronal Fiber Integrity in Mild Cognitive Impairment | Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, Vol 61 (2): 729 – 739