A New Hope For Alzheimer's Disease Treatment

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Alzheimer's disease occurs as a result of changes in the human brain. Although the causes are unclear as of today the levels of chemical messengers decreasing can bring on the signs of Alzheimer's …

Alzheimer's disease occurs as a result of changes in the human brain. Although the causes are unclear as of today the levels of chemical messengers decreasing can bring on the signs of Alzheimer's disease. Over time this can deteriorate the person's way of thinking and lead to all the stages of dementia.

Alzheimer's disease is a very destructive disease that not only affects the patient but also the family of the patient.

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  • 1. ==== ====Learn more information about Alzheimers disease, signs and symptoms, diagnosis and treatmentat:http://www.trackads.biz/link/alzheimerdisease==== ====Mr. Scott (not his real name) is a seventy year old retired postman who lives at home with his wife.After three years of noticeable cognitive decline, he is now moderately demented. He gets goodmedical care, and is otherwise healthy. His wife has become knowledgeable about his condition,and she has family members who visit and assist her.Mr. Scott has not been a major behavioral problem until recently. In the past month, he has hadoccasional angry outbursts. At these times, he stands up, paces, raises his voice to curse andshout commands or demands, grabs onto someones arm too tightly, and sometimes raises hishand menacingly. Usually he ceases after Mrs. Scott starts to cry and begs him to stop. Mrs. Scottis afraid he will injure her or someone else, or provoke others to hit him. She worries more thanbefore, and is becoming somewhat demoralized.To understand this difficult situation, we must realize that such behavior is not a pure or inevitableresult of progressive brain impairment. Rather, it results from certain combinations of (a) brainimpairment and (b) environmental stimuli and consequences.Because of his impaired brain function, Mr. Scott is much less able to make his needs known, tounderstand accurately social situations, to tell the difference between safe and dangeroussituations, and to inhibit his emotional responses. In an ideal environment, these limitations wouldbe no problem, because he would never encounter ambiguous situations or experienceunpleasant emotions. In the real world, however, new or unfamiliar social situations areunavoidable, and no caregiver can anticipate a dementia victims every need.While dementia predisposes victims to certain unpleasant behaviors, it is often actually theresponse of caregivers that determines whether the behavior will appear. Angry outbursts oftenappear to "suddenly come out of nowhere," though, in fact, they usually take from minutes tohours to develop. Early, appropriate intervention by an attentive caregiver can often nip anemerging problem in the bud.The key is to develop a good sense of which of the victims needs is going Unmet at the moment.Based on familiarity with the dementia sufferer, his habits, and his recent schedule, the caregivercan often make a good guess as to which need is being frustrated. Next, the caregiver takes stepsto satisfy the unmet need. She should talk reassuringly, gently but firmly separating him from thecurrent situation, and bringing him to wherever the unmet need can be quickly gratified. Surpriseand returned anger should be avoided.Armed with this knowledge, Mrs. Scott began to realize that Mr. Scotts "sudden rages" usually
  • 2. occurred during or soon after a visit by a male relative, during which he was excluded from, andunable to understand much of, the conversation. He was therefore bored and lonely. Mr. Scottsimpaired thinking allowed him to develop the self-esteem-protecting delusion that this interloperwas having an affair with his wife.Mrs. Scott decided to include her husband more in conversations with visitors. To assure herselfthe opportunity to have private conversations, she asked visitors to come in pairs. One visitor wastherefore always available to chat with Mr. Scott. After each visit, Mrs. Scott took care to showaffection to her husband. The result was that his outbursts became very infrequent, and Mrs.Scotts confidence returned.Example 2Mrs. Reynolds is a seventy-eight-year-old widow living alone in an apartment building for able-bodied elderly persons. Mild dementia has been present for one year. She is maintaining a goodlevel of social interaction, but recently those around her have noticed her body odor and that shelooks unwashed and unkempt. Yet Mrs. Reynoldss appetite, mood, orientation, and otherbehaviors are not deteriorating.This is a relatively straightforward example of a behavioral deficit resulting from inadequateenvironmental input. The staffs optimal approach is to assume that Mrs. Reynolds (a) has not lostthe ability to perform personal hygiene activities, but (b) has lost the ability, at least temporarily, toremember on her own to perform them. Intervention consists of building two elements into Mrs.Reynoldss day. First are stimuli that encourage washing, such as prompts, requests, reminders,opportunities, and offers of assistance. Second are positive consequences that reward her forwashing, such as praise, compliments, affection, and words of appreciation or admiration.Example 3Mrs. Hawthorne is a seventy-year-old, mildly demented female nursing home resident. Thoughoften observed walking around her room, she quickly sits down whenever staff enter her quarters,insists that she can not walk, and demands to be transported in a wheelchair. When staff try tohelp her to stand or walk, she acts lame, like "dead weight." When the maintenance man came tofix her sink, she slid from the bed to the floor three times, each time pleading with him until helifted her (again, like "dead weight") back onto her bed.As was true with Mrs. Reynolds, an explicit program of prompting and rewarding the deficient butdesired behavior (walking unassisted) is in order. It is often difficult, however, to find somethingthat is rewarding to people like Mrs. Hawthorne. Though her behavior communicates greatdependency, she often seems depressed and claims to have no interest in anything.In such cases, remember the Premeack principle which states that the privilege to engage inpreferred activities may be used to reinforce less preferred behaviors. Mrs. Hawthorne very muchenjoys her sons weekly visits. With his cooperation, the staff informed her that she could earnadditional brief visits by him if she resumed walking to the table at mealtime. This plan wassuccessful, and was extended to walking to activities, and so forth.
  • 3. -RANJEET-==== ====Learn more information about Alzheimers disease, signs and symptoms, diagnosis and treatmentat:http://www.trackads.biz/link/alzheimerdisease==== ====