Tag Archives: Patients

Memory apps help people with dementia to share their life story with family and carers

New apps which help people with dementia to reminisce about their life have been launched with the hope of transforming their care and quality of life.

The app, RemindMeCare, uses reminiscence therapy to encourage people with dementia to talk about their memories.

The software automatically creates content that matches the life story of the person with dementia. In addition to photos, the system uses music, films and images of events and places, taken from the web, to create a detailed multimedia profile of the person.

This profile is then used to help stimulate conversation between the person with dementia and their carers in order to build a better relationship.

For group activities, the software will pick up on shared interests and help several residents to take part. Family members can upload relevant information to their relative’s profile and be more actively involved in their care.

An advantage of ReMindMeCare is that it creates a digital record of activities and interventions so carers do not necessarily have to record all of this information separately.

The apps Book of You and Playlist for Life, also use photos, words and music to facilitate reminisences. These two apps are part of a dementia citizens project run by the innovation charity Nesta.

For further information, read this article in The Guardian.

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


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.”




Twiddlemitts provide sensory stimulation for people with dementia


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.



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/

The community nurse role in family-centred care of people with dementia

Community nurse dementia

The British Journal of Community Nursing has just published a peer-reviewed article which explores the role of the community nurse in family-centred care for patients with dementia.

The authors argue that national policy and strategy have helped to raise awareness of dementia however families living with dementia still struggle to find information and support.

The paper uses case studies to discuss three scenarios commonly raised by family carers and people with dementia:

  • seeking help and support at the point of seeking diagnosis
  • knowing the ‘right time’ to seek help and advice
  • when symptomatic changes affect well-being and relationships

The article indicates how the community nurse can be central to supporting people with dementia and their families to live well in their own communities.

Also provided is a list of  charities and other sources that help carers of people with dementia.


Dening, K, & Hibberd, P (2016), ‘Exploring the community nurse role in family-centred care for patients with dementia’, British Journal Of Community Nursing, 21, 4, pp. 198-202 5p, CINAHL with Full Text, EBSCOhost

New test could predict dementia risk


Researchers, from University College London (UCL), have developed an algorithm that uses information routinely collected by GPs to predict the risk of dementia.

The study, funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), identified 930,395 patients with no previous records of dementia, cognitive impairment or memory problems. These patients’ records were used by researchers to build a simple computer algorithm which predicts the likelihood of dementia being diagnosed within five years.

Lead researcher, Dr Kate Walters (UCL Primary Care & Population Health), said the score could be used for identifying people at a very low risk of dementia.


University College London (2016) New test could predict dementia risk during routine GP visits. Available at: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/news/news-articles/0116/210116-dementia-risk-test#sthash.lG1ehzRj.dpuf 

Image (courtesy of Ann Gordon via Flickr)