Dealing with a diagnosis of dementia: putting a systematic review into context

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Last July I wrote a blog (Helping patients and carers deal with a diagnosis of dementia: one size doesn’t fit all) about a systematic review of qualitative evidence (Bunn, 2012) relating to patients and carers experiences of reaching and adapting to a diagnosis of dementia.  That blog was heavily influenced by personal experience of my [read the full story...]

New Cochrane review says that vitamin E should not be used to treat dementia

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It was relatively recently that every Tom, Dick and Harry in the scientific community was popping vitamin E supplements in the hope that this antioxidant would help protect them from the damaging effects of free radicals. Us elves get our vitamin E from the vegetables, fruits and whole grains that make up our naturally healthy diet. Many single [read the full story...]

Cholinesterase inhibitors are an effective treatment for patients with Parkinson’s disease with dementia

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People with Alzheimer’s disease experience a loss of nerve cells that use a chemical called acetylcholine as a chemical messenger. Dementia symptoms become more severe as more nerve cells are lost. Cholinesterase inhibitors are a group of drugs (including donepezil, rivastigmine and galantamine) that prevent the enzyme acetylcholinesterase from breaking down acetylcholine in the brain. [read the full story...]

When is it appropriate to prescribe antipsychotics to treat the behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia?

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This topic has been well publicised in recent years and for good reason. We know that there is a huge disparity between the number of people with dementia who are prescribed antipsychotics (180,000 in England each year) and the number who may derive some benefit from the treatment (36,000). We also know that dangerous side [read the full story...]

No evidence for the use of aspirin, steroids or NSAIDs for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease

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Alzheimer’s disease affects 1-2% of people aged 65-70 and approximately 20% of those over 80 years. As our population ages, the condition is on the increase and it’s estimated that 2030, an estimated 7.7 million Americans aged 65 and older will have Alzheimer’s disease. We do not yet know exactly how and why Alzheimer’s disease [read the full story...]

Statins do not slow down the decline of Alzheimer’s disease, says randomised controlled trial

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Previous studies have suggested that statin therapy might be a useful treatment for Alzheimer’s disease. This randomised controlled trial conducted by a team of researchers from Mount Sinai School of Medicine set out to determine if the lipid-lowering agent simvastatin slows the progression of symptoms in Alzheimer’s disease. They recruited 406 people with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s [read the full story...]

Stimulating group psychosocial activities improve cognition in lonely older people

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It’s a sad fact of life that as people get older they sometimes find themselves living a lonely lifestyle; cut off from stimulating social networks and all of the activities and benefits that friendships entail. Social exclusion and a lack of frequent interaction may predict impaired cognition in the older members of the population. Researchers [read the full story...]

World Alzheimer’s report highlights the importance of early diagnosis and intervention for dementia

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This new 70-page report from Alzheimer’s Disease International warns that in countries such as England, 50-80% of dementia cases are not being recognised in primary care. It highlights the fallacy that as people get older they naturally have problems with their memory, and goes on to recommend that primary care staff who see people with [read the full story...]

Melissa aromatherapy only as good as placebo in treating agitation in people with Alzheimer’s disease

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It has been widely reported that antipsychotics have been frequently used to treat the behavioural and psychological symptoms that affect people with dementia and that this course of action has resulted in an estimated 1,800 excess strokes and 1,600 excess deaths in the UK alone.  This double-blind, parallel-group, placebo-controlled randomised trial looks at one of the [read the full story...]

Commitment to review care for people with dementia on antipsychotic medication

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The Dementia Action Alliance has launched a call to action on the use of antipsychotic drugs for people with dementia: All people with dementia who are receiving antipsychotic drugs should receive a clinical review from their doctor to ensure that their care is compliant with current best practice and guidelines and that alternatives to medication have been [read the full story...]