Tag Archives: Alzheimers

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Music can be an Amazing Therapy for Dementia

Dementia and Music

In my experience music can reach many individuals who suffer from dementia in a very special way.

We asked families to tell us the resident’s favourite music which we recorded onto an ipod, the music was specifically chosen for them.

For some residents it had a remarkable effect.

For one gentleman who had very little interaction with his wife or carers, and very little interest in anything it gave him a real interest in something. He was much more expressive and animated, and he started communicating with everyone.

His wife admitted that when she was first asked to try this, she was really sceptical.

She said that she could not believe the difference in her husband, he was much more happy, he showed a real interest in everything and his quality of life improved dramatically due to the music.

An improved or good quality of life for any elderly person should be every nurses or carer’s goal.

Music has dramatically improved many resident’s quality of life, It has been wonderful for the person and very special for their families.

Music has power especially for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.

It can spark compelling outcomes even in the very late stages of the disease.

When used appropriately, music has the power to change mood, manage stress-induced agitation, stimulate positive interactions, facilitate cognitive function, and coordinate motor movements.

This happens because rhythmic and other well-rehearsed responses require little to no cognitive or mental processing.

A person’s ability to engage in music, particularly rhythm playing and singing, remains intact late into the disease process because, again, these activities do not mandate cognitive functioning for success.

Most people associate music with important events and a wide array of emotions.

The connection can be so strong that hearing a tune can evoke a memory of the event and take the person back to that time and place.

Prior experience with the piece is the greatest indicator of an individual’s likely response.

Music that is soothing for one person may remind another of the loss of a loved one and be tragically sad.

If the links with the music are unknown, it is difficult to predict an individual’s response.

Therefore, observe a person’s reaction to a particular arrangement and discontinue it if it evokes distress, such as agitation, facial grimaces or increasing muscular tension.

It is such a simple idea but is really worth trying as it can make a difference.

Click here for a person centred Nursing Care Plan for dementia.

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A lack of vitamin D ‘could cause dementia’

A lack of vitamin D – which comes from sunshine – could raise your risk of getting dementia, according to research.

It is already known that someone’s genetics can raise their danger of developing dementia, as can smoking or being overweight.

But a new study from Edinburgh University has found a lack of sunshine could increase the risk.

People around the world with low vitamin D levels were found to have a higher risk of developing dementia, with researchers suggesting they could in future be advised to take supplements or spend more time outside to protect themselves.

The vitamin, which people get when their skin is exposed to sunlight, helps to clear the protein build-up which can cause Alzheimer’s disease.

It was found to be a potential environmental cause of dementia along with exposure to air pollution, pesticides and excessive levels of minerals such as aluminium in drinking water.

Dr Tom Russ, of the Alzheimer Scotland Dementia Research Centre at the University of Edinburgh, said: ‘Our ultimate goal is to prevent or delay the onset of dementia.

Environmental risk factors are an important new area to consider here, particularly since we might be able to do something about them.’

Source Mail Online
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Cardiff University dementia genes study breakthrough hope

Scientists in Cardiff say they are on the verge of an “enormously exciting” breakthrough in understanding the causes of Alzheimer’s disease.

Their study will suggest the body’s own immune system could be attacking brain cells of those genetically susceptible.

It builds on global studies identifying 30 genes linked to the disease.

About 45,000 people in Wales are thought to be living with dementia, with Alzheimer’s the most common form of the illness.

For years, scientists have been looking at a small number of genes which apply to very rare forms of Alzheimer’s but they have been trying to find the ones which apply to more common forms of the disease.

To do that, they need to study of the genes of far greater numbers of people.

Forty research groups led by scientists in Cardiff, France and the United States have been working more closely together and have now pooled a worldwide database of 90,000 samples.

“We’re about to submit a paper that is enormously exciting and which I think will really change, without a doubt, what we think of Alzheimer’s disease going forward,” Professor Julie Williams, head of the research team at Cardiff University, said.

“Over the last five or six years we’ve been successful in identifying 30 genes that increase – or decrease – your risk for Alzheimer’s disease.

“Now this is telling us what some of the major components in disease development are. It’s new, it’s exciting; it’s a different perspective on what Alzheimer’s disease is.”

A lot of dementia research over the last two decades has been looking at a few elements in brain behaviour such as amyloid plaques – the tangles that occur within the neurons.

Prof Williams said now they were looking at something different – backed by genetics – which is the immune response in those people who go on to develop Alzheimer’s disease.

“Our immune response is about how the brain keeps us safe, it’s about getting rid of things which might invade the brain, getting rid of nerve cells and bits that go wrong,” she said.

“It has a very complicated set of activities and some of those are actually, I think, dismantling the brain at its roots.”

One of these involves a pruning function which is quite normal and helps our brains develop as we grow.

But now scientists believe it is triggered again in some people as they get older and actually eats away at synapsis [connections between nerve cells] and brain cells.

Researchers will also look at how factors such as lifestyle and exercise could play a part.

Cardiff University’s range of scanners at its new £44m brain imaging research centre Cubric will be used in the research.

It includes Europe’s most powerful brain scanner – which has been described as the “Hubble telescope of neuroscience”.

One research project is targeting 180 people in the Cardiff area, aged between 40 to 60, to help study the genetic risks of Alzheimer’s and how issues like lifestyle and obesity interact.

Volunteers will be given MRI scans as well as having blood and saliva samples taken.

Cardiff University is also looking for volunteers for research into early onset dementia.

Meanwhile scientists in Bangor have developed new ways of helping individuals develop new skills or re-learn skills they have lost, and lead projects allowing patients to create visual art.

They are looking into ways to communicate with patients who have lost the ability to speak.

Prof Williams said: “It’s great people are living longer, it’s something to celebrate but it means there will be more disease out there and Alzheimer’s and dementia will be up at the top of that list unfortunately.”

Source BBC News

Schoolboy’s heartbreaking song about grandma’s struggle with dementia

A 15-year-old schoolboy has released a heartbreaking song in honour of his grandma, Maureen McGuinness, who is living with dementia.

Harry Gardner, from Essex, wrote the song after visiting his 76-year-old grandma who had deteriorated rapidly with Alzheimer’s disease.

Harry is hoping to raise money for Alzheimer’s Research UK

Maureen is currently being cared for at home by Harry’s granddad Owen.

Harry uploaded the song and music video to his YouTube channel, and the video has so far had more than 54,000 views.

“Song for Alzheimers” can be purchased via Amazon Music and iTunes with all proceeds going to Alzheimer’s Research UK.

He lives with his mum Gail and his dad John and siblings Molly, 17, Oliver, 13, and Gene, eight, at their home in Chelmsford, and filmed the video for the song just up the road at the stately home Hylands House.

Harry also has a fundraising page where you can donate, which can be accessed here.

Source The Telegraph

Pill that may wash away the cause of Alzheimer’s: Treatment dissolves toxic plaques on the brain that are warning sign of the disease

Scientists say they have taken the first steps towards developing a pill that could one day stop Alzheimer’s in its tracks.

The treatment, tested on mice, dissolved toxic plaques in the brain that can be a warning sign of the incurable disease.

The animals, genetically engineered to develop symptoms of Alzheimer’s, also showed improvements in memory and learning.
Treatment: Scientists say they have taken the first steps towards developing a pill that could one day stop Alzheimer’s in its tracks (file picture)

Treatment: Scientists say they have taken the first steps towards developing a pill that could one day stop Alzheimer’s in its tracks (file picture)

Experts say more work needs to be carried out before the drug, known as EPPS, can be tested on humans.

Korean researchers say the treatment could be best targeted at those at risk from inherited forms of the disease.

But it may only be effective before symptoms appear, highlighting the need to find new ways to diagnose cases earlier.

Writing in the journal Nature Communications, the study team said: ‘Additional studies are warranted to determine whether these favourable actions of EPPS will translate into a therapy that might potentially be useful across a range of [Alzheimer’s] stages.’

EPPS is chemically similar to taurine, an ingredient of Red Bull and other energy drinks. Dr Frances Edwards, of University College London, said it could be a ‘very interesting drug indeed’.

Genetically engineered: The treatment, tested on mice, dissolved toxic plaques in the brain that can be a warning sign of the incurable disease. The animals also showed improvements in memory and learning

Genetically engineered: The treatment, tested on mice, dissolved toxic plaques in the brain that can be a warning sign of the incurable disease. The animals also showed improvements in memory and learning

James Pickett, of the Alzheimer’s Society, added: ‘While new insights into potential ways to treat Alzheimer’s disease are welcome, in this case, it’s too early to say if this will one day benefit people living with Alzheimer’s.

‘This study has found a new chemical that could help to clear some forms of amyloid, the toxic protein that is a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease.

‘However, so far this has only been shown in mice, which do not fully replicate several of the important changes that we see in the brains and behaviours of people with dementia.’

And Tara Spires-Jones, from the University of Edinburgh, said: ‘This is a promising preclinical study in a few dozen mice that found a drug treatment that reduced levels of amyloid beta, one of the pathological proteins found in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.

‘While very interesting, this potential treatment is a long way from human patients.’

Source Mail Online

Lack of respect for elderly may be fuelling Alzheimer’s epidemic, warn scientists

Lack of respect for the elderly in western societies could be fuelling the Alzheimer’s epidemic and simply allowing people to grow old gracefully could prevent dementia, scientists have suggested.

The study by Yale School of Public Health, in the US, is the first to show that social and cultural stereotypes can influence the development of age related disease.

Put simply, people who have been conditioned by society to think they will become physically and mentally decrepit in older age, probably will.

The stress of such negative thoughts may actually alter the brain and trigger dementia, scientists believe.

In contrast, upbeat, optimistic and active individuals who refuse to conform to ageist stereotypes, are likely to stay mentally alert for longer.

The researchers say it could explain why westernised countries like the UK have such a high rate of dementia compared with India, where the elderly are venerated.

“We believe it is the stress generated by the negative beliefs about aging that individuals sometimes internalise from society that can result in pathological brain changes,” said lead author Dr Becca Levy.

“Although the findings are concerning, it is encouraging to realize that these negative beliefs about aging can be mitigated and positive beliefs about aging can be reinforced, so that the adverse impact is not inevitable.

“Diet has been posited as an explanation for why the rate of Alzheimer’s disease in the United States is five times that of India.

“Alternatively, this discrepancy might be explained by a comparison of those two cultures from which age stereotypes are derived: India has a tradition of venerating elders.

“I think treating older individuals with respect could have a noticeable beneficial impact for society and for its older members.”

To test the link between negative stereotypes and dementia, researchers looked at 158 people who had their brain scans once a year, for 10 years, as part of the Baltimore Longitudinal Study on Aging. Their average age was 68.

All were quizzed about their attitudes to ageing and asked to say how much they agreed with statements such as ‘old people are absent-minded.’ Scientists also studied the area of the hippocampus in the brain, which is known to shrink in people with Alzheimer’s.

As predicted, participants holding more-negative age stereotypes started with far lower hippocampal volume which declined steeply over the 10 year study period.

The team also looked at the brain of 78 people who had died during the research to examine two other indicators of Alzheimer’s disease: amyloid plaques, which are protein clusters that build up between brain cells; and neurofibrillary tangles, which are twisted strands of protein that build up within brain cells.

Participants holding more negative beliefs about aging had a significantly greater number of plaques and tangles.

There are 850,000 people currently suffering from dementia in the UK, with Alzheimer’s disease being the most common type. The disease kills at least 60,000 people each year.

But researchers at Yale believe that the problem is being made worse by ubiquitous negative stereotyping of the elderly in society.

The same team carried out a study of Facebook in 2013, and discovered that 98 per cent of references to older people on the social networking site were negative.

Dr Laura Phipps of Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “This isn’t the first study to suggest a link between psychological factors such as personality traits or beliefs and brain health, but the complex factors influencing these relationships can be very hard to untangle.

“We know that some of the early changes associated with Alzheimer’s can happen 10-15 years before symptoms show and while the researchers tried to account for this, it’s hard to know whether these early changes had a knock-on effect on people’s social behaviours and attitudes or vice versa.

“The researchers behind this study suggest that negative age stereotypes may be linked to stress levels, which could negatively affect brain health.

This study did not measure stress levels in the volunteers, but ongoing research is looking at the role that stress could play in diseases like Alzheimer’s.

It’s also possible for people’s attitudes towards age to be influenced by other developing health conditions such as cardiovascular disease or depression, which could themselves be having an impact on the brain.

“It’s important to unpick the complex factors influencing brain health into older age in order to develop approaches to help people maintain their health and independence in later life.”

Dr Ian Le Guillou, Research Communications Officer at Alzheimer’s Society, added: “This interesting study suggests that having negative perceptions of old age, and the stress this can bring, can have an impact on your brain health.

While this study didn’t look at the development of Alzheimer’s disease specifically, it observed both shrinkage in the hippocampus – a part of the brain associated with memory – and the build-up of toxic proteins that are linked to Alzheimer’s disease.

“As we age, our risk of developing health problems does increase and it’s no surprise that people will worry, but there are positive actions that people can take to limit this risk. Research shows that a healthy diet, exercising and not smoking can reduce your risk of developing dementia.”

The research was published in the journal Psychology and Ageing.

Source The Telegraph

World’s first anti-ageing drug could see humans live to 120

The world’s first anti-ageing drug will be tested on humans next year in trials which could see diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s consigned to distant memory.

Scientists now believe that it is possible to actually stop people growing old as quickly and help them live in good health well into their 110s and 120s.

Although it might seem like science fiction, researchers have already proven that the diabetes drug metformin extends the life of animals, and the Food and Drug Administration in the US has now given the go ahead for a trial to see if the same effects can be replicated in humans.

“This would be the most important medical intervention in the modern era, an ability to slow ageing”
Dr Jay Olshansky, University of Illinois Chicago

If successful it will mean that a person in their 70s would be as biologically healthy as a 50 year old. It could usher in a new era of ‘geroscience’ where doctors would no longer fight individual conditions like cancer, diabetes and dementia, but instead treat the underlying mechanism – ageing.

Scottish ageing expert Professor Gordon Lithgow of the Buck Institute for Research on Ageing in California, is one of the study advisors.

“If you target an ageing process and you slow down ageing then you slow down all the diseases and pathology of ageing as well,” he said “That’s revolutionary. That’s never happened before.

“I have been doing research into ageing for 25 years and the idea that we would be talking about a clinical trial in humans for an anti-ageing drug would have been though inconceivable.

“But there is every reason to believe it’s possible. The future is taking the biology that we’ve now developed and applying it to humans. 20 years ago ageing was a biological mystery. Now we are starting to understand what is going on.”

Ageing is not an inevitable part of life because all cells contain a DNA blueprint which could keep a body functioning correctly forever. Some marine creatures do not age at all.

However over our lifetime billions of cell divisions must occur to keep our bodies functioning correctly and the more times cells divide the more errors creep into the process.

As cell problems grow, the body can no longer repaid damage. In the case of cancer, cells no longer have the ability to get rid of mutations, and tumours grow. In Alzheimer’s the brain stops clearing out sticky plaques, and dementia develops.

Scientists think the best candidate for an anti-ageing drug is metformin, the world’s most widely used diabetes drug which costs just 10p a day. Metformin increases the number of oxygen molecules released into a cell, which appears to boost robustness and longevity.

When Belgian researchers tested metformin on the tiny roundworm C.elegans the worms not only aged slower, but they also stayed healthier longer.

They did not slow down or develop wrinkles. Mice treated with metformin increased their lifespan by nearly 40 per cent and their bones were also stronger.

Last year Cardiff University found that when patients with diabetes were given the drug metformin they in fact lived longer than others without the condition, even though they should have died eight years earlier on average.

The new clinical trial called Targeting Aging with Metformin, or TAME, is scheduled to begin in the US next winter.

Scientists from a range of institutions are currently raising funds and recruiting 3,000 70 to 80 year olds who have, or are risk of, cancer, heart disease and dementia.

They are hoping to show that drug slows the ageing process and stops disease.

Outlining the new study on the National Geographic documentary Breakthrough: The Age of Ageing, Dr Jay Olshansky, of the University of Illinois Chicago, said: “If we can slow ageing in humans, even by just a little bit it would be monumental. People could be older, and feel young.

“Enough advancements in ageing science have been made to lead us to believe it’s plausible, it’s possible, it’s been done for other species and there is every reason to believe it could be done in us.

“This would be the most important medical intervention in the modern era, an ability to slow ageing.”

A baby girl born today is now expected to life to an average age of 82.8 years and a boy to 78.8 years, according to the Office for National Statistics.

But if the results seen in animals are reproduced in humans, lifespan could increase by nearly 50 per cent.

Professor Lithgow believes that, in the future, young people may be given a type of ageing ‘vaccine’ to slow down ageing. He believes it could have a far bigger impact on extending population lifespan that finding a cure for cancer.

“It we were to cure all cancers it would only raise life expectancy by around three years, because something else is coming behind the cancer, but if we could slow down the ageing process you could dramatically improve how long people can live,” he said.

“We know that it is possible for handfuls of people to live to very old age and still be physically and socially active, so clearly they carry some kind of protection in their bodies. They are essentially not ageing as quickly. If we can harness that, then everyone can achieve those lifespans.”

Yet scientists have faced an uphill battle to get trial approval because there are so many spurious claims of ‘anti-ageing’ technologies and therapies on the market.

Stephanie Lederman, executive director of the American Federation for Aging Research in New York, who is also involved in the trial added: “The perception is that we are all looking for a fountain of youth.

“We want to avoid that; what we’re trying to do is increase health span, not look for eternal life.”

However if their trial performs as promised, experts say slowing ageing would be a ‘public health revolution.’

Dr Robert Temple, deputy director of the FDA said: “Their hope is that a wide variety of age related problems, loss of muscle tone, dizziness, falls, dementia, loss of eyesight, all of those things.

“That would be something never done before. If you really are doing something to alter ageing the population of interest is everybody. It surely would be revolutionary if they can bring it off.”

Dr Simon Melov of the Buck Institute for Ageing Research added: “You’re talking about developing a therapy for a biological phenomenon which is universal and gives rise to all of these diseases. And if you’ve got a therapy for this thing, these diseases just go away.”

Breakthrough: The Age of Ageing airs on Sunday 10pm on the National Geographic Channel.

Source The Telegraph

Dehydration in The Elderly

Dehydration

Older people are at increased risk of dehydration for a variety of reasons. Unfortunately, however, it can be especially difficult to spot the signs of dehydration in the elderly.

Click here for the dehydration Care Plan.

Symptoms of dehydration may overlap with those of other conditions or be shrugged off simply as old age, leading to late diagnosis and risk of serious complications.

Our bodies are made up of about 70% water and this fluid is essential for controlling body temperature, flushing out toxins, and keeping the blood flowing freely.

Without adequate water people are at a higher risk of urinary tract infections, heart problems due to increased blood viscosity, heat stroke, and even joint aches and pains caused by toxic build-up and increased inflammation.

As many older people are already living with heart disease, bladder problems, and weakened immune systems, the risks posed by dehydration are even greater.

A significant loss of total body water content can prove fatal but it may be hard to spot the signs of dehydration in the elderly, requiring careful monitoring and effective communication.

There is no single, declarative sign of dehydration, especially in the elderly, because a loss of total body water content affects a great many organs and systems.

It appears that older adults are more sensitive to the effects of stress on fluid homeostasis, particularly because of poorer function of the renal system, gastrointestinal function and so forth.

Elderly also suffer more severe effects of dehydration in many cases because of existing age-related weaknesses in certain systems.

Signs of Dehydration

One of the first things to look out for that might suggest dehydration is discoloration of the urine.

Some medications can affect urine colour but for most people it should be clear or pale yellow.

Dark urine can be a sign of urinary tract infection and/or dehydration causing waste products to become concentrated in urine.

Decreased urine output is also a sign of dehydration and so nursing staff, relatives, friends, or the patient themselves should monitor catheter output or record the frequency of bathroom visits as well as fluid intake.

One major sign of dehydration is a dry mouth with reduced saliva production and subsequent problems swallowing tablets or food.

The elderly may also develop a dry cough or tickly throat, with visibly parched lips.

Elderly who are dehydrated may become more demanding and any urgent and uncharacteristic demands for specific foods or beverages should be carefully assessed as this may be a sign that the body is making every attempt to increase fluid intake.

Elderly people may also become confused, fatigued, and sluggish when dehydrated, which can be mistaken for symptoms of dementia or general old age.

Because dehydration means that the heart has to work harder to pump a reduced volume of thicker blood around, they may become out of breath and tired more quickly than usual.

A reduced volume of blood also means that blood is directed towards essential organs and away from the skin and muscles.

This can cause confusion, a bluish discoloration to the skin, increased body temperature as sweating is reduced and the body is unable to cool down, and even muscle cramps and joint pain as joint lubrication is reduced.  

Headaches are another symptom of dehydration in the elderly, caused by an inability to cope with high temperatures, as well as by reduced ability to flush out toxic metabolites and to deliver adequate oxygen and nutrients to the brain.

Simple decisions may become difficult, which can lead to the person taking risks and having accidents.

There may be short-term memory loss, confusion, mental fogginess, and even mood disturbances.

Preventing Dehydration

The traditional recommendations are to drink the equivalent of eight or more large glasses of water every day to stay adequately hydrated. 

Thirst is usually the best way to determine necessary fluid intake, but extremely hot temperatures, diuretic medications, and certain medical conditions may increase a person’s need for water, and some people may not be able to address their thirst.

Tea and coffee are now considered as effective at maintaining hydration as water itself, but the majority of water intake still comes from the food we eat. 

As such, dehydration is more of an issue for older people who take in fewer calories and, therefore, less fluid through their diet. 
Water found in food is usually accompanied by beneficial nutrients, including electrolytes, which are essential for the maintenance of proper water balance and cellular signalling. 
Simply drinking a lot of water may not be sufficient to correct dehydration, especially if potassium, magnesium, and sodium have been lost through sweat and/or urine.

The elderly should have easy access to water throughout the day and carers should encourage hydration through recording fluid intake.

Meals should not be rushed, to give the elderly time to drink water at leisure and eat at their own pace. 

Treating Dehydration

Elderly who are dehydrated require lost fluids to be replaced.

It is important that with all elderly there is an assessment of their fluid and dietary intake, but it is absolutely vital that all elderly with dementia have an assessment for fluid and dietary intake.
All risks for dehydration should be considered and addressed where possible and a monthly review of risk should be carried out.
Dehydration can be rectified very easily and in a care setting either Care Home or Hospital setting dehydration should be prevented by good nursing care.
Too many elderly people are having to experience the upset of a preventable hospital admission. 
For an elderly person with dementia the experience can be really frightening.
We have recently developed a dehydration risk assessment tool to ensure carers and nurses address the issue in an evidence based professional manner.

Click here for the dehydration Risk Assessment.

Dementia -What Every Carer Should Experience to Give Them Understanding

What do people with dementia hear, see and feel?

Every person is unique and the way dementia affects them is different.


Physical Changes

A recent training session delivered by the nursing department of the West of Scotland University, gave me a real insight as to what it was like. Absolutely terrifying, frustrating, and exhausting!


Difficulty with dexterity, clumsy, arthritic

We had to put on latex gloves and had our fingers taped together to give us an idea of what it can be like to have arthritis and changes in dexterity.


Visual changes, macular degeneration, glaucoma, cataracts

We had to put on goggles which really changed the way you could see.


Auditory noise, incessant jabbering

We had to put on earphones which had a constant jabbering noise sound resonating through them.

It was impossible to function with all the noise and difficulties. The noise was particularly distracting.

The noise was so irritating and annoying and it was totally impossible to concentrate.

All the staff who took part in the training were upset by how little they understood what living with dementia was like.


This video shows how difficult it can be to live with dementia.  

 

All carers would care differently and much more sympathetically if they had this training.

It would give them a real understanding of exactly what a person with dementia experiences.

Click here for  our Nursing Care Plans for a person with Dementia

Music

We have always been tried to be innovative in our approach to caring for the elderly.

Music for everyone can be extremely therapeutic whether it be calming, or uplifting.

YouTube has a wonderful video showing the effect listening to music on an ipod has on a person with dementia.

With the help of families and relatives we have uploaded music personal to individual residents and we have seen incredible improvements in people with dementia.

It actually can be miraculous for some people, and can really improve their quality of life in a way you would not think possible.

What effect does music have on a person with dementia?

  • It can quieten the incessant noise 
  • It can bring back memories of happy times and feelings 
  • It can take up a persons attention for a time
  • It can stop for a time anxiety and worry 
Whatever it actually does, it really helps some people.



Aromatherapy

Massage has been used for centuries to heal, relax, revitalise and comfort. 

Aromatherapy is the practice of using the natural oils extracted from flowers, bark, stems, leaves, roots or other parts of a plant to enhance psychological and physical well-being.

The inhaled aroma from these “essential” oils is widely believed to stimulate brain function. Aromatherapy can provide pain relief, mood enhancement, and increased cognitive function.

Aromatherapy is one of the most successful alternative therapies for some elderly people with dementia.  
 
What is remarkable is that all of the treatments resulted in significant benefit, including, in most instances, reductions in agitation, sleeplessness, wandering, and unsociable behaviour.

For many elderly people the physical touch during massage, and the one to one attention is comforting and calming.

Click here to read the full report published by Alzheimer’s Society Research on Aromatherapy for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.

How Terry Pratchett changed the way we think about Alzheimer’s disease

When Terry Pratchett died in March this year at the age of 66, he was celebrated globally not only for his colossally popular Discworld novels but also his fight against the stigma of dementia, of which he had a rare form.
Speaking at the Cheltenham Literature Festival, Tim Parry from British charity Alzheimer’s Research UK said that the late author had transformed attitudes towards the disease.
“Terry Pratchett has played a huge role in just bringing it to people’s attention and beginning to change the language towards the idea that we actually may be able to fight these diseases,” he said. “He was the first person to say he wanted to kick it in the arse.”
Parry, who is head of communications for the organisation, also spoke about how crucial it was to remove the stigma and shame around the disease, and that Pratchett’s frank and very public discussion of his condition had helped.
He was joined on stage by author Lisa Genova, whose 2007 novel Still Alice was made into a film (released in the UK earlier this year) which won Julianne Moore an Oscar for her portrayal of a Columbia University linguistics professor diagnosed with the rare, early-onset strain of Alzheimer’s.
Genova, who is an American neuroscientist as well as a writer, said she was “thrilled” by Hollywood’s interpretation of her novel. “It could have been a total train wreck of a film and I could have been cringing throughout it and telling everyone I knew not to see it, but it was the opposite of that.
“It required a lot of trust. Julianne spent four months doing research prior to the role and spent time with people living with Alzheimer’s. She went through neuro-psychology testing too. She really did her homework.”
But while the portrayal of Alzheimer’s was true to the book, Moore’s busy schedule meant that there were some key differences between the novel and film.
“Julianne was in the middle of filming Hunger Games when she agreed to do this little four-week film,” said Genova. 
“She had been away from her teenagers for almost a year filming that movie and said she’d do it only if she could do it in New York instead of Boston [where the novel is set]. So Alice had to become a Columbia University professor instead and other scenes had to change too.
“The constraints that go along with filmmaking were fascinating to observe and I think they did a phenomenal job.”
Source The Radio Times