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
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
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.
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.”
The University of Birmingham are offering a free online course aimed at carers looking after family members with dementia or professionals working with people with dementia.
The course aims to develop the skills needed to manage challenging behaviour such as restlessness, agitation and communication difficulties, which can cause carers high levels of stress and burden. The course uses case studies to explore challenging behaviours and find out how other carers manage them both at home and in care settings. Specific interventions and a person-centred approach is used, particularly focusing on de-escalation skills.
For more information please visit the University of Birmingham’s website
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)