Exercising can protect the brain from Alzheimer’s disease

Physical activity is associated with a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease, a new study concludes. 

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Research published in BMC Public Health also confirmed that regular physical activity may improve the performance of daily activities for people afflicted with Alzheimer’s.

Authors looked at data from more than 150 research articles about the impact of physical activity on people with Alzheimer’s. Some of the work explored how physical activity improves the patient’s quality of life and the others examined the risk of developing Alzheimer’s based on the amount of activity in which an individual participated.

The authors concluded that regular physical activity improves activities of daily living and mobility in older adults with Alzheimer’s and may improve general cognition and balance. They also established that older adults not diagnosed with Alzheimer’s who are physically active, were significantly less likely to develop the disease compared to people who were inactive.

Full reference: Martin Ginis, K. et. al. Formulation of evidence-based messages to promote the use of physical activity to prevent and manage Alzheimer’s disease.  BMC Public Health. 2017 17:209.

Story via Science Daily

How to advance caregiver interventions

Zarit, S.H. Aging & Mental Health | Published online: 16 May 2017

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Objectives: Research on caregiving interventions has increased substantially in recent years. Although many promising approaches have been tested, results are often modest. The goal of this paper is to identify conceptual and methodological issues that could lead to better treatment outcome.

Conclusion: Recommendations are made for improving the design of future trials through better attention to the heterogeneity of the caregiving population, improved conceptualization of goals and the use of innovative designs that accommodate differences in caregivers’ needs and resources.

Read the full abstract here

Love to Move: Chair-based gymnastics scheme boost for those with dementia

A new chair-based gymnastics exercise programme has significant benefits for people with dementia, says a report | BBC News

More than 150 people have taken part in the Love to Move scheme run by the British Gymnastics Foundation (BGF).

And research by Age UK found the scheme to have “demonstrable benefits in the physical, emotional and cognitive aspects of older people”.

The organisers now aim to train more people to deliver the programme and make it more widely available.

Read the full news story here

Positive and Negative Experiences of Social Support and Risk of Dementia in Later Life

Khondoker, M. et al. (2017). Positive and negative experiences of social support and risk of dementia in later life: an investigation using the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. 2017; 58(1):99-108.

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Background: Having a network of close relationships may reduce the risk of developing dementia. However, social exchange theory suggests that social interaction entails both rewards and costs. The effects of quality of close social relationships in later life on the risk of developing dementia are not well understood.

Objective: To investigate the effects of positive and negative experiences of social support within key relationships (spouse or partner, children, other immediate family, and friends) on the risk of developing dementia in later life.

Conclusion: Positive social support from children is associated with reduced risk of developing dementia whereas experiences of negative social support from children and other immediate family increase the risk. Further research is needed to better understand the causal mechanisms that drive these associations.

Read the full article here

Adequate vitamin D status in older age could delay or prevent the onset of dementia

Feart, C. et al. Associations of lower vitamin D concentrations with cognitive decline and long-term risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in older adults, Alzheimer’s & Dementia | Published online: 15 May 2017

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Introduction: Hypovitaminosis D has been associated with several chronic conditions; yet, its association with cognitive decline and the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease (AD) has been inconsistent.

Discussion: This large prospective study of French older adults suggests that maintaining adequate vitamin D status in older age could contribute to slow down cognitive decline and to delay or prevent the onset of dementia, especially of AD etiology.

Read the full abstract here

Podcast: can we cure Alzheimer’s?

Alzheimer’s disease affects millions of people worldwide. But despite decades of research costing hundreds of millions of dollars, we have no cure. Why? | The Guardian

Despite drug companies spending decades and hundreds of millions of dollars on development into drugs, so far nothing has been discovered that can stop the disease. But why is Alzheimer’s so hard to cure?

To probe this question Ian Sample is joined by Dr David Reynolds, chief scientific officer at Alzheimer’s Research UK, Professor Roger Morris, a molecular neurobiologist at King’s College London and Professor Giovanna Mallucci from the University of Cambridge.

View the full article and podcast here

Better quality relationships associated with reduced dementia risk

Positive social support from adult children is associated with reduced risk of developing dementia, according to new research. Conversely, negative social support is linked with increased risk, according to the 10-year follow-up study.

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This study was based on data from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA)

Researchers analysed a decade of data that followed 10,055 core participants from ELSA who were dementia-free at the start of the study in 2002-2003. Participants were interviewed every two years during 2004-2012 and incidence of dementia was identified from self-reports by participants or information given by nominated informants.

Measures of positive and negative experiences of social support were calculated at baseline. The scale ranged from 1-4 with higher values indicating more of positive or negative support. An increase of one point in the positive social support score led to up to a 17 per cent reduction in the instantaneous risk of developing dementia, the findings showed. Positive support was characterised by having a reliable, approachable and understanding relationship with spouses or partners, children and other immediate family.

Negative support scores showed stronger effects — an increase of one point in the negative support score led to up to 31 per cent rise in the risk. Negative support was characterised by experiences of critical, unreliable and annoying behaviours from spouses or partners, children and other immediate family.

Full reference: Mizanur Khondoker, et. al. Positive and Negative Experiences of Social Support and Risk of Dementia in Later Life: An Investigation Using the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, 2017; 58 (1): 99

 

The Confusion Care Pathway

The Confusion Care Pathway has been developed by the dementia/delirium working group at London North West Healthcare NHS Trust as a guide to best practice in supporting people with dementia, delirium and/or cognitive impairment and their carers.

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The Confusion Care Pathway (CCP) starts with the need to recognise confusion. A confusion identifier (the symbol on the CCP) is applied to the medical notes and a magnetic identifier is applied above the bed. The CCP subsequently guides healthcare staff to assess the cause of the confusion in order to reach a cognitive diagnosis, to avoid moves unless in the patient’s interest and to focus on assessing the patient’s needs for care planning and discharge planning throughout the inpatient stay.

The CCP prompts healthcare staff to work in partnership with the patient and their carer from the outset of their admission by: exploring the patient’s needs and preferences via a document called ‘Important Things About Me’, as well as using the Carer’s Agreement and Carer’s Passport.

Unheard Voices Of People With Dementia

Alzheimer’s Society warns of generations unprepared for astronomical dementia costs

This report contains the findings of a consultation with people affected by dementia. It reveals that nearly half of the UK adults questioned had not started saving for the care and support they might need in the future, and a third agreed that before being asked, they had not considered the cost of dementia care and support. It brings together the views of more than 3,850 people with dementia, carers and the public, in a series of in-depth interviews and face-to-face and online surveys.

Full report: Turning Up The Volume: Unheard Voices Of People With Dementia

Older Patients with Parkinson’s Disease or Dementia with Lewy Bodies who have been Hospitalised for Hip Fracture Surgery

Enemark, M. et al. (2017)Drugs & Aging. 34(5) pp. 387 – 392

Introduction: People with Parkinson’s disease (PD) are at risk of falling and have an increased risk of complications and prolonged recovery during hospitalisation.

Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate the rate of complications and recovery related to a hip fracture in patients with PD.

 

Conclusions: Although patients with PD/DLB are significantly younger and have significantly lower degrees of co-morbidity than patients with COPD, their course and recovery after surgery are equivalent to those of patients with COPD. Patients with PD/DLB are at high risk of developing complications during hospital admission for hip fracture.

Read the abstract here