There is a way stop the progression of Alzheimer's by preventing the inflammation of the capillaries in the brain by creating a 1:1 ratio of omega-6 and omega-3 essential fatty acids. What is preventing doctors from using this strategy? [ 11/13/12 ]
Omega-3 fatty acids, such as those that are present in fish oil, have indeed been investigated as a prevention or treatment for Alzheimer's disease. Some scientists who conducted recent clinical studies suggest that when older adults with normal cognitive function take omega-3 fatty acids they may show less cognitive decline. Fish oil has not, however, been definitively shown to stop the progression of Alzheimer's disease once it is established. Further studies are required. The scientific advisors of the BrightFocus Foundation do not currently recommend or endorse any commercial nutritional supplement, exercise program, or cognitive training exercises for the purposes of preventing Alzheimer's disease. In spite of this, BrightFocus encourages people to evaluate the role of these interventions with their doctors on the overall health and spirits of both the patient and caregivers.
My wife has advanced Alzheimer's disease. She often refuses to eat, and if given solid food she chews it, but does not swallow. She chews anything she can get in her mouth, which might include soft toys, her fingers, or her clothes. We got her a baby teething ring and she spent at least 30 minutes chewing it. Is this a normal behavior at this stage of the disease? Is she using this as a way of relaxing or relieving some tension? Should I be concerned about this behavior? [ 11/13/12 ]
People can develop problems with eating in the advanced stage of Alzheimer's. They may lose interest in food, refuse to eat, or they may have difficulty chewing or swallowing. A speech and language pathologist may be able to help your wife with swallowing. You could ask her physician for a referral.
As far as your wife's chewing on objects, it is not uncommon to see this type of behavior. Your wife is using her other senses to experience the world. Since she does not remember the past or consider the future, and is living each day in the present, similar to a child. She is probably not using the chewing as a way of releasing some tension; she is probably just enjoying the sensation. You could let her chew objects as long as the objects are safe and there is no risk of her choking.
My nan has Alzheimer's disease and has been unable to speak "real" words for a few years. She has recently been ill and was taken into a hospital for an infection. My mum rang her care home to let them know what the hospital had said, and they told her that my nan had spoken and told them that she was not well. Can she speak if she wants or needs to? Was it just a coincidence and does she understand when we are speaking to her? My granddad recently died and when my nan was told about his passing she appeared to show concern for a split second; she usually just has a blank expression on her face. [ 11/13/12 ]
In the later stage of Alzheimer's, language decreases, but language can vary greatly from one person to another. Some people don't speak at all, others have some meaningful sentences. The amount a person speaks can also vary. It sounds like this may be the case with your grandmother, in that she is speaking a little recently after a long period of being silent. It is difficult to say what may be the reason the language has broken through or how long it will last, but it is not a matter of her speaking when she wants to speak. Whether she is speaking or not, you should always assume she understands what you are saying to her. As language diminishes, other non-verbal means of communication can be powerful, such as touching the hand, giving a hug, or giving a light massage, if the person suffering from Alzheimer's disease seems to like it.
My dad has had eight injections for wet macular degeneration and has become extremely agitated during the visit, especially after the injection. He doesn't understand that he can't touch his eye. This seems to be making his disease progress and it isn't really helping his vision. Should we stop the injections? [ 11/12/12 ]
You don't say whether your father has dementia, and if so, how progressed it is. If he does suffer from dementia or Alzheimer's disease, remembering to not touch his eye will be difficult, if not impossible. Something clearly bothers him. By all means, discuss this problem with his physician, as this will help you determine how to proceed.
My grandmother has Alzheimer's disease and has begun to scratch constantly to the point of causing sores. She has been given medication to stop this behavior, but it causes her to sleep all day. Without medication she sleeps 15 or more hours a night and my dad has great trouble waking her. When she takes the medication she sleeps the entire day and night. The scratching seems to be a habit. For example, one day when my dad was helping her out of a chair she started scratching his back. Is her symptom simply “excess movement” and is there another way to handle this without medication? [ 11/09/12 ]
Scratching can represent an adverse response to a medication that she is taking. It can also be a reaction to an environmental allergen, such as the detergent used to wash her bedclothes or clothes. Sometimes, scratching is a response to itchiness caused by dry skin. Unfortunately, your grandmother's impaired memory will not remind her that she has just scratched. She will feel the trace of itchiness that prompted the initial scratching, relieve the sensation again, and perhaps even induce secondary itchiness as a consequence of the repetitive scratching. You may wish to try massaging her skin with a soothing lotion to see whether that reduces the scratching. As an alternative, there are anti-itch creams like topical diphenhydramine. The oral medications that relieve skin itchiness can be sedating and potentially can impair memory, so they are not the best solution. Please discuss these possibilities with your grandmother's doctor. A dermatologist is likely to provide additional advice.
Can hypocalcemia cause Alzheimer's disease? [ 11/09/12 ]
There is no evidence that hypocalcemia causes Alzheimer's disease. Hypocalcemia, however, might indicate malnutrition. Furthermore, whatever the cause, when calcium is very low, it can cause confusion that resembles dementia without it being Alzheimer's disease.
We have noticed that when my mother gets agitated or tired she cannot hear. Her nurse feels that her ability to dress herself, reason, solve problems, read, write, and use written communication when she is having difficulty hearing are all atypical. Her neurologist says her short-term memory is now gone but that is just not true. She does lose words and misplaces things; however, she does not wander and knows her way around the gated community. What other conditions might cause her symptoms? [ 11/09/12 ]
An atypical presentation such as this would require a thorough medical/neurological assessment. Apparent loss of hearing during agitation might reflect your mother's inability to concentrate on more than one matter at a time. Alzheimer's disease does not typically cause loss of hearing during agitation.
My father is in the mid-stages of Alzheimer’s disease/dementia. He has been experiencing a terrible “heat feeling” on the top of his head. He does not run a fever when this happens. He just kind of stares off into space and then he grabs his head and starts crying. He says it feels like his head is going to explode. He has been to the hospital for this issue; however, because of a pacemaker he cannot have an MRI. Does this sensation sound normal for an Alzheimer’s patient? [ 11/09/12 ]
First, I would look at his medications. If he is taking niacin, or another medication that increases blood flow to the skin, the heat sensation could be related to that medication. Next, consider whether he could be anxious. See when the heat feeling occurs and whether it follows particular stresses or frustrations. Finally, there is a small chance this would represent a focal seizure or other neurological problem that can be addressed by a neurologist.