Archive for the ‘ALZselftest’ Category

Alzheimer’s ABC’s: Cognitive Changes (Depression and AD)

Depression and Alzheimer’s
In the first three posts (1, 2, 3) of this series we explored how to identify and understand many symptoms of early Alzheimer’s disease (AD), as well as how to use them to build a historical timeline.  These posts provide a good foundation for moving forward in our basic understanding of AD.

In this post we move into the topic of cognitive changes associated with early AD, and include an exercise you can try with your loved ones at home. Read More

Alzheimer's ABC's: Start With Where We've Been

This is part of a blog series by Dr. John Dougherty, to simplify and demystify Alzheimer’s disease, and help you better recognize the signs and symptoms.

As the first in a series of posts I’d like to begin my telling you a bit about myself.  I’ve been a neurologist for 25 years, and an Alzheimer’s disease (AD) specialist for more than 10 years.  As the Director of the Cole Neuroscience Center in Knoxville, TN I currently follow over 2,000 patients with AD in my practice.

I lost my mother, my uncle and my grandmother to Alzheimer’s disease.  My mother died in her mid-eighties, and had AD symptoms for almost 15 years prior to her death. Read More

Introduction to ALZselftest by Dr. Dougherty

As a neurologist of 25 years, I have specialized in Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) for almost fifteen.  I currently follow over 2,000 AD patients in my practice and have personally experienced the immense toll that this disease takes on care givers. It was painful watching my own mother suffer with AD for more than 15 years.

When my mother was diagnosed our medical understanding of AD was very different, far more limited than what we know today. At the time (and still to a large extent today), physicians relied on a basic paper-based test called the Mini-Mental Status Evaluation (MMSE), to diagnose people with AD. The MMSE was developed over 30 years ago and has been shown to be less than 70% effective in diagnosing AD.

As our AD knowledge base expanded I began doing more research and in 2002, created the Self Test, an AD screening test which demonstrated 97% accuracy in clinical trials in differentiating between people with cognitive impairment or AD and otherwise healthy individuals. The success of the Self Test offered a much more effective means of screening for AD, but I was dismayed to know that 60% of people with AD are still going undiagnosed in a primary care setting.

There are many reasons for this, including a lack of sufficient health care coverage, difficulty getting primary care physicians to screen for AD before full onset of the disease, resistance by elders to be screened, and many others. This number is not only unacceptable, it is unnecessary. Read More

Give The Gift of Cognitive Health

I had a conversation last week with a trainer for a large Assisted Living Facility corporation. She has the daunting task of re-training the staff of all the facilities in that organization on their approach with residents. In particular, she is working to train them to understand that their approach has a great impact on whether a resident will comply or take part in activities geared towards stimulating their cognition.

We talked about how she struggles to help the staff understand that, while it may seem easier in the short run, doing tasks FOR the residents actually has a negative impact on them long term.  It may seem easier to just take a senior by the hand and lead them where they need to go, or to manage their time and take responsibility for when/where they need to be.  But doing this causes them to relinquish the responsibility and starts a slow process of atrophy in the cognitive domain associated with that task. Read More

Driving and Alzheimer's Disease

The caregivers of my patients frequently ask me about the safety of their loved ones getting behind the wheel after receiving a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). This is a sensitive topic for patients, but a very important one in terms of both safety and liability, as I will discuss here.

First, my own research has recently revealed that driving in moderate and late stage AD is a much larger problem than we first feared, and this is not attributable merely to aging. In fact, we have seen that 16 year old males have a higher incidence of accidents than healthy non-demented individuals over the age of 75. However, in mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and the early stages of AD, we do not see increased accident rates. But as early AD progresses into moderate AD accident rates rise sharply. Read More

Is Forgetting The New Normal?

I ran across an article from Time Magazine from 2008, which is packed with great information.  It’s a wonderful overview on how memory is stored, why we forget and what we can do to help our brains function better.

The article cites several studies showing the positive impact of regular aerobic exercise on increasing cerebral blood volume (CBV), as well as some excellent nutrition sources for brain health like blueberries and walnuts. Read More