‘Mom, I didn’t steal your dentures’: Coping when dementia turns to delusion

What a wonderful title for a newspaper article!

This article is about the hallucinations and delusions occurring in the context of dementia. The article specifically mentions Lewy body dementia but note that hallucinations and delusions can occur in moderate to severe Alzheimer’s Disease. (As you may know, the ONLY way at present to confirm a diagnosis is through brain donation. Let Brain Support Network help you make those advance arrangements for your loved one.)

In the article, a nurse gives four tips for managing problems:

* Maintaining social contact
* Good sleep hygiene
* Music to soothe agitation
* Providing choice

Here’s a link to the article:

www.philly.com/philly/health/health-news/mom-i-didnt-steal-coping-when-dementia-turns-to-delusion-alzheimers-psychosis-depression-20170709.html

Health
‘Mom, I didn’t steal your dentures’: Coping when dementia turns to delusion
by Stacey Burling, Staff Writer
Updated: July 6, 2017 — 11:02 am EDT
The Philadelphia Inquirer

Robin

 

Newspaper article on risk of antipsychotics in Lewy body dementia

This is a good article from a UK newspaper about the importance of proper diagnosis of dementia — Alzheimers, Lewy body dementia, or something else — because of the dangers of antipsychotics in LBD.

That being said, many in our local LBD caregiver support group do find value in atypical antipsychotics.

Here’s a link to the article:

www.independent.co.uk/news/health/lewy-body-dementia-prescription-antipsychotics-thousand-risk-injury-death-drugs-treatment-alzheimers-a7827431.html

Lewy body dementia: Thousands ‘at risk of injury or death’ due to inappropriate prescription of antipsychotics
Prescription of these drugs often worsens symptoms and has been found to increase the risk of death fourfold
Katie Forster, Health Correspondent
Thursday 6 July 2017 11:58 BST
The Independent (UK)

Robin

“How to Choose a Dementia Care Facility. Avoid My Mistakes.”

This is a very helpful article about choosing a dementia care facility.  The author is North Carolina-based Donna Plunkett St. Clair, whose husband was diagnosed with dementia in 2010 at age 59 and then with Lewy Body Dementia (LBD) in 2015 at age 65.  Donna shares the mistakes she made in choosing the wrong care facility…twice.

Here are the ten lessons Donna learned:

1.  Start investigating potential facilities NOW.
2.  Learn how your loved one’s care will change as he/she declines.
3.  Learn how “problems behaviors” are defined and ask about examples of what might lead to a resident being forced to leave the facility.
4.  Know what you can afford.
5.  Assess if the facility is using innovative designs.
6.  Ask if the resident can safely go outside.
7.  Ask about safety.
8.  Inquire about staffing levels, activities, and supervision for holidays, evenings, and weekends.
9.  Ask if residents are encouraged to stay hydrated, and are offered second helpings and snacks.
10.  Check service levels and quality when the facility least expects you.

These lessons are detailed in the article here:

www.lewybodydementia.ca/dementia-care-facility-choice-avoid-mistakes/

How to Choose a Dementia Care Facility. Avoid My Mistakes.
By Donna Plunkett St. Clair
Posted to Lewy Body Dementia Canada
May 29, 2016

Robin

 

“What to Do When Loved Ones Won’t Admit Their Memory Loss” (WSJ)

This post may be of interest to those dealing with dementia and the person with dementia refuses to see a doctor or is unable to see his/her own dementia.

The Wall Street Journal (wsj.com) isn’t a newspaper I often read but I do like the articles written by Dr. Marc Agronin, a geriatric psychiatrist. This article in last week’s paper is about what “to do when loved ones won’t admit their memory loss.”

Here’s a short excerpt:

“This denial of illness itself is a telltale sign of an evolving dementia such as Alzheimer’s disease, in which a person’s insight is often an early casualty. Anosognosia is the formal medical term for this condition, and it is also seen after certain types of strokes. It can also be fueled by delusional thinking, depression, mania, or the effects of medications or other substances. Such denial can lead to physical, mental, financial or legal harm when these individuals with diminished or distorted capabilities refuse necessary evaluations and treatments, or insist on managing their own finances or engaging in risky behaviors such as driving.”

Here’s a link to the full article:

blogs.wsj.com/experts/2017/06/29/what-to-do-when-loved-ones-wont-admit-their-memory-loss/

The Experts | Health
What to Do When Loved Ones Won’t Admit Their Memory Loss
By Marc Agronin
Jun 29, 2017 10:30 am ET
The Wall Street Journal

Robin

“Understanding Dementia” – online course begins July 24th

“Understanding Dementia” is an online university course about the latest in dementia research and care. This free 9-week course begins July 24th, 2017, and is open to anyone. It’s offered by the University of Tasmania (Australia). There’s no info as to what types of dementia will be covered. Presumably the course will include at least the big four dementias – Alzheimer’s, vascular, Lewy body, and frontotemporal. Enrollment ends on August 18th. See:

mooc.utas.edu.au/courses/understanding-dementia-2017-06

If anyone attends, please take notes and share what you’ve learned!

Robin

 

“Anti-Tau Drugs for PSP Move into Phase II”

There’s not much new here from this report from last week’s Movement Disorder Society conference in Vancouver.  This report focuses on two anti-tau drugs being studied in PSP — one from AbbVie and one from Bristol-Myers Squibb.  The BMS drug was recently licensed to Biogen.  Both drugs proved safe in phase I studies, and both have moved into phase II trials.

Tau is the protein involved in PSP and CBD.  It’s one of two proteins involved in Alzheimer’s.

Here’s a link to the report:  (you have to register — no charge to do so — at Medpage Today to read the article)

https://www.medpagetoday.com/meetingcoverage/mds/65883

Meeting Coverage > MDS
Anti-Tau Drugs for PSP Move into Phase II
But phase I study of one agent pulled from presentation
by Kristina Fiore, Deputy Managing Editor, MedPage Today
June 08, 2017

Lewy Body Dementia Info on Dementia Aide (website)

Dementia Aide, a relatively new website (dementiaaide.com), is focused on selling what it calls dementia-related products.  While a few things such as t-shirts are disorder-specific, most of the products are caregiving items.  They have pages on their website for Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), frontotemporal dementia, vascular dementia, and Lewy body dementia (LBD).

The LBD section, written in September 2016, won’t be added to our list of “Top Resources” but it’s worth checking out.  They seem to have pieced together information from lots of different resources (not always giving attribution every place they could.)  For example, the chart on the difference between LBD, Parkinson’s Disease (PD), and Alzheimer’s is straight from the Lewy Body Dementia Association but this is only pointed out in one place (not everywhere the chart is).

You might check out their infographic on what they say are the four stages of LBD (on the symptoms page).

The only obvious error I saw was that they don’t have an accurate description of “Lewy body dementia” within the Lewy body disease family.  They show Lewy body dementia is the same thing as Dementia with Lewy Body.  Actually, Lewy Body Dementia is an umbrella term that refers to both Dementia with Lewy Bodies and Parkinson’s Disease Dementia.

Here’s a link to the LBD section:

www.dementiaaide.com/pages/lewy-body-dementia

Robin

Reversal of cognitive decline in ten patients with Alzheimer’s or mild cognitive impairment

There’s an interesting article on Quartz.com from a couple of weeks ago (first published on Aeon.com) about a study done at UCLA where they “treated” ten people with Alzheimer’s Disease or mild cognitive impairment (MCI) with “different lifestyle modifications to optimize metabolic parameters—such as inflammation and insulin resistance—that are associated” with AD.  These modifications, called the MEND protocol (metabolic enhancement for neurodegeneration), included diet change, exercise, stress management, and sleep improvement.  The most common “side effect” was weight loss.

According to the author:  “What they found was striking. Although the size of the study was small, every participant demonstrated such marked improvement that almost all were found to be in the normal range on testing for memory and cognition by the study’s end. Functionally, this amounts to a cure.”

Here’s a link to the research paper titled “Reversal of cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s disease,” from the journal “Aging,” published June 12, 2016:

www.aging-us.com/article/100981/text

According to the research paper:  “It is noteworthy that these patients met criteria for Alzheimer’s disease or MCI prior to treatment, but failed to meet criteria for either Alzheimer’s disease or MCI following treatment. …[Discontinuation] of the protocol was associated with cognitive decline (here, in patient 1).”

Here’s a link to the Aeon/Quartz article:

qz.com/977133/a-ucla-study-shows-there-could-be-a-cure-for-alzheimers-disease/

AWAKENINGS
What happened when Alzheimer’s patients were treated for the diseases we actually have cures for
Written by Clayton M. Dalton, Medical resident, Massachusetts General Hospital
May 05, 2017
originally published at Aeon

Happy reading!

Robin

 

“My Life After Caregiving” (caring.com)

Though this article was written by a woman who lost her mother awhile ago to Alzheimer’s, the messages apply to all caregivers, regardless of diagnosis.

The author of this Caring.com post shares feelings and experiences she’s had post-caregiving including:
* relief:  “I felt a powerful sense of release.”
* reflection
* sadness, loneliness and guilt
* finding support:  “The need for a strong support network doesn’t end once caregiving does.”
* regaining time and money
* re-discovering happier memories

Here’s a link to the post:

www.caring.com/articles/my-life-after-caregiving

My Life After Caregiving
My experience so far after the “long goodbye”
By Dayna Steele, Chief Caring Expert
Last updated: Dec 01, 2016
(First posted: June 2016)
Caring.com

A protein called PERK may be a target for PSP, CBD, and other tauopathies

Brain Support Network will very likely be hosting and organizing a PSP/CBD conference in San Francisco in October.  (Stay tuned….) One of the international researchers we’ll be inviting to speak is Gunter Hoglinger from Munich.  He’s been involved in PSP and CBD genetics research for at least a decade.  Very impressive guy.

I was looking up a bit about Dr. Hoglinger online and came across this Science Daily article based on a press release from early February 2017 about research published by him and the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE).  This is basic research using donated brain tissue, cell cultures, and mice.  This basic research can be the basis of good clinical trials down the road.

Here’s an excerpt from the Science Daily article:

“In previous studies, Höglinger and his colleagues had found that the risk for PSP is associated with variants at the PERK [protein kinase RNA-like endoplasmic reticulum kinase] gene, and that loss of PERK function induces tau pathology in humans. For the current study, they examined the functioning of this protein more closely, to see how its effects could be positively influenced. To this end, they investigated samples of brain tissue from deceased patients, cell cultures and mice with a genetic disposition for PSP.  ‘We found that the disease sequelae decrease when PERK is activated with pharmaceuticals,’ [Hoglinger said.]  ‘Therefore, the protein could be a starting point for the development of new drugs.'”

The short article is copied below.

Robin

——————————

www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/02/170206103407.htm

Science News
A protein called PERK may be a target for treating progressive supranuclear palsy
Acting upon the maintenance system of neurons alleviates disease sequelae in laboratory experiments

Date:  February 6, 2017
Source:  DZNE – German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases

Summary:
The brain disease ‘progressive supranuclear palsy’ (PSP) is currently incurable and its symptoms can only be eased to a very limited degree. PSP impairs eye movements, locomotion, balance control, and speech. Scientists have now discovered a molecular mechanism that may help in the search for effective treatments.

FULL STORY
The brain disease “progressive supranuclear palsy” (PSP) is currently incurable and its symptoms can only be eased to a very limited degree. PSP impairs eye movements, locomotion, balance control, and speech. Scientists at the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) and the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have now discovered a molecular mechanism that may help in the search for effective treatments. Their study focusses on a protein called PERK (protein kinase RNA-like endoplasmic reticulum kinase). A team of researchers led by Prof. Günter Höglinger reports on this in the journal EMBO Molecular Medicine.

PSP belongs to a group of neurological diseases referred to as “tauopathies.” In these diseases, a molecule called “tau” forms clumps rather than stabilizing the cytoskeleton as it normally does. Affected neurons can degenerate or even perish. To prevent such events, pathological molecules are normally repaired or disposed of by the organism. The protein PERK is part of such a maintenance system. However, in PSP, this mechanism appears to be defective. In previous studies, Höglinger and his colleagues had found that the risk for PSP is associated with variants at the PERK gene, and that loss of PERK function induces tau pathology in humans. For the current study, they examined the functioning of this protein more closely, to see how its effects could be positively influenced. To this end, they investigated samples of brain tissue from deceased patients, cell cultures and mice with a genetic disposition for PSP.

“We found that the disease sequelae decrease when PERK is activated with pharmaceuticals. That is to say: when its effect is enhanced,” says Höglinger, who leads a research group at the DZNE’s Munich site. “These results are still basic research and far from being ready for use in patients. However, our investigations show that PERK is an important part of the disease mechanism. Therefore, the protein could be a starting point for the development of new drugs.”

Höglinger also sees potential for tackling diseases other than PSP. This is because PERK helps eliminate abnormal tau molecules, and these also occur in other brain diseases. “These results could have a broad relevance. Because defective tau molecules play an important role especially in Alzheimer’s disease,” the researcher says.

Journal Reference:
Julius Bruch, Hong Xu, Thomas W Rösler, Anderson De Andrade, Peer‐Hendrik Kuhn, Stefan F Lichtenthaler, Thomas Arzberger, Konstanze F Winklhofer, Ulrich Müller, Günter U Höglinger. PERK activation mitigates tau pathology in vitro and in vivo. EMBO Molecular Medicine, 2017; e201606664 DOI: 10.15252/emmm.201606664