Dementia Evidence Toolkit is launched

The Personal Social Services Research Unit (PSSRU) at the London School of Economics (LSE) has developed a web tool for accessing scientific evidence on dementia care and treatment.

Recently launched, the Dementia Evidence Toolkit is a unique resource bringing together over 3,000 empirical journal articles and 700 systematic reviews. Each of these articles and reviews is coded according to type of dementia, care setting, outcome measured, type of intervention and country of study or authors.

The Toolkit was developed as part of the MODEM (Modelling the Outcome and Cost Impacts of Interventions for Dementia) project. It provides clear, evidence-based information in the public domain with plain-language summaries of scientific evidence relating to dementia care and treatment interventions.

The summaries of interventions cover: advance care planning; staff training in assisted living residences (STAR); maintenance cognitive stimulation therapy; cognitive stimulation therapy; music therapy; and START: Strategies for Relatives. Each summary gives a rating for the intervention, focusing on the following: whether or not it worked, was cost-effective, and the strength of evidence. The Toolkit also suggests future research.

See here for further information from LSE: http://www.lse.ac.uk/newsAndMedia/news/archives/2016/08/Dementia-toolkit.aspx

 

Study of the outlook on life of people with early dementia diagnosis

Silver lining final

Researchers, from the University of Kentucky’s Sanders-Brown Center on Aging, asked 48 men and women with early dementia or mild cognitive impairment (MCI) questions about their quality of life and personal outlook following diagnosis.

The so-called ‘Silver Lining Questionnaire’ was used to measure the degree to which people with an early dementia diagnosis felt their illness had a positive impact on their lives.

Almost half the respondents returned positive scores for the questions which covered issues such as their appreciation and acceptance of life.

For more on this study, which was presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Toronto, go to the University of Kentucky News

 

 

How accurate are informant tools when used to diagnose dementia in hospitalised older people with delirium?

Dementia test

A recently published study has investigated the diagnostic test accuracy of two informant tools when used to diagnose dementia in patients with delirium.

It is common for older hospital patients to have both dementia and delirium; the latter is often undiagnosed as the delirium interferes with the use of cognitive testing for diagnosing dementia.

The study cites the need for new tests given the confounding effect of delirium.
The tools tested were the IQCODE-SF and the AD8 (when used for diagnosing DSM-IV dementia).

As part of the study, on admission to hospital, people aged over 70 were assessed for the presence of dementia using the short form of the Informant Questionnaire of Cognitive Decline in the Elderly (IQCODE-SF) and Alzheimer’s Disease 8 (AD8).

The conclusions drawn from the results were that the IQCODE-SF and AD8 are sensitive and specific tools, able to detect prior dementia in older people with delirium. The authors suggest that the routine use of either tool in practice could improve the recognition and subsequent management of those with dementia.
Jackson, T. A., MacLullich, A. M. J., Gladman, J. R. F., Lord, J. M., and Sheehan, B. (2016) ‘Diagnostic test accuracy of informant-based tools to diagnose dementia in older hospital patients with delirium: a prospective cohort study’, Age and Ageing, pp. 45: 505-511.

Eating Behaviour Disturbance in Frontotemporal Dementia

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The JAMA Neurology journal published an article and the studies objective was to understand the exact prevalence, severity, and underlying biological mechanisms of abnormal eating behaviors that are common in patients with frontotemporal dementia.

Forty-nine patients with dementia were recruited, and their eating behaviour was compared with that of 25 healthy controls. The study was conducted from November 1, 2013, through May 31, 2015, and data analysed from June 1 to August 31, 2015. The mean ages of patients involved ranged from 62 (8.3) to 66 (8.4) years.

Voxel-based morphometry analysis of whole-brain 3-T high-resolution brain magnetic resonance imaging was used to determine the gray matter density changes across groups and their relations to eating behaviors.

Concluding that delineating the neural networks involved in mediating these changes in eating behavior may enable treatment of these features in patients with complex medical needs and aid in our understanding of structures that control eating behavior in patients with FTD and healthy individuals.

Ahmed, R. M., Irish, M., Henning, E., Dermody, N., Bartley, L., Kiernan, M. C., … Hodges, J. R. (2016). Assessment of eating behavior disturbance and associated neural networks in Frontotemporal dementia. JAMA Neurology, 73(3), 282. doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2015.4478

 

 

Research links high blood pressure to vascular dementia

Blood pressure

Research conducted by the George Institute for Global Health suggests that high blood pressure could significantly raise the risk of developing vascular dementia.

The medical records of 4.28 million people in the UK were analysed in this 7 year study. Heightened blood pressure was linked to a 62 per cent higher risk of vascular dementia between the ages of 30-50. There was a 26 per cent higher risk at age 51-70.

Blood vessels in the brain are damaged and narrowed over time due to high blood pressure.

Professor Rahimi, deputy director of The George Institute UK, said: “Our results suggest that lowering blood pressure, either by exercise, diet or blood pressure lowering drugs, could reduce the risk of vascular dementia.”

http://www.georgeinstitute.org.uk/media-releases/high-blood-pressure-linked-to-vascular-dementia 

 

 

New website launched providing products and advice for people with dementia

Following his mother’s early onset dementia, James Ashwell has set up the website  Unforgettable.org.

‘Unforgettable’ provides products, advice and a community for people with dementia and memory loss. Products offered for sale include personalised jigsaws, GPS insoles and even the first dementia specific power of attorney (POA) service.

Unforgettable will launch its first pop-up shop in Bournemouth this year and is currently fundraising  for a national advertising campaign.

 

http://www.theguardian.com/small-business-network/2016/may/17/unforgettable-improve-lives-dementia-sufferers

Twiddlemitts provide sensory stimulation for people with dementia

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Twiddlemitts are being used to provide sensory stimulation to patients who are experiencing the more advanced stages of dementia.

The benefits of providing sensory stimulation at this point can be enormous. The patients’ mood is improved and positive behaviours are encouraged.

The twiddlemitts can help individuals with dementia to relax and achieve or maintain a state of well-being.

Twiddlemitts, or twiddlemuffs, are handknitted tubes decorated with zips, pendants, beads etc.

Volunteers have set up social groups to make twiddlemitts so they not only provide stimulation for those with dementia, they provide social interaction for a wider range of people.

 

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/may/07/twiddlemitts-improving-life-for-patients

Picture courtesy of Jane Dickson:  https://www.flickr.com/photos/cluttercup/25666441942/in/photolist-EQcbV3-Ek2CTJ-F74ZXb-FfrvNh-EknzH4-F74dZ5-Ek2FNS-Ekomrx-Ek3hgj-F9m7GZ-EknG2M-bthRaT-bthR9a-bthRat-bthR4v-bthShv-bthRbT-bthR7p-bthS1n-bthReV-bs8bN6-bthR4D-F9kXJt-F9m54H-F757oh-bthSir-bs8bmp-bthRd4-bthR5k-bthRci-bthR5P-bs8e2D-bs8e24-bs8e3n/

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