Friday August 17, 2018

Common Painkillers Triple Harmful Side Effects in Dementia

Previous studies have recognized that pain is often under-diagnosed and poorly managed in people with dementia, impacting the quality of life

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Painkillers may triple side effects risk in dementia patients. Pixabay
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Consuming common opioid-based painkillers may triple the risk of side effects including personality changes, confusion and sedation among people with dementia, a study has warned.

It is because people with dementia produce increased amounts of endorphins — body’s natural endogenous opioids — which interacts with brain to reduce our perception of pain, explained researchers from Britain’s University of Exeter.

Previous studies have recognized that pain is often under-diagnosed and poorly managed in people with dementia, impacting the quality of life.

While the opioid-based painkillers ease pain effectively, current prescribing guidance does not consider the fact that people with dementia get effective pain relief from smaller doses than are commonly prescribed, and are particularly sensitive to adverse effects.

“Pain is a symptom that can cause huge distress and it’s important that we can provide relief to people with dementia. Sadly at the moment we’re harming people when we’re trying to ease their pain,” said Clive Ballard from the varsity.

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In Alzheimer’s disease, patients start losing memory, Pixabay

For the study, presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference 2018 in Chicago, the team analysed data from 162 people who had advanced dementia and significant depression.

The analysis showed buprenorphine — opioid used to treat acute and chronic pain — tripled the harmful effects on people who received the medication as part of their treatment. These patients were also found to be significantly less active during the day.

The experiment done on mice model showed increased sensitivity to the opioid-based painkiller morphine upon treating arthritis in mice with Alzheimer’s disease.

Also Read: Sound Waves May Help Treat Dementia

The mice with Alzheimer’s responded to a much lower dose to ease pain, and experienced more adverse effects when the dose was increased to a normal level.

“We urgently need more research in this area, and we must get this dosing right. We need to establish the best treatment pathway and examine appropriate dosing for people with dementia,” Ballard explained. (IANS)

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Sound Waves May Help Treat Dementia

Presently no curative treatments are available for vascular dementia or Alzheimer's disease which are the most common causes of dementia

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The researchers believe that this type of low intensity sound therapy may benefit humans. (IANS)

Low-intensity ultrasound waves may improve cognitive dysfunction in patients with dementia and/or Alzheimer’s disease, scientists suggest.

Applying low-intensity pulsed ultrasound (LIPUS) to the whole brain of the mice improved blood vessel formation and nerve cell regeneration without having obvious side effects.

The researchers believe that this type of therapy may also benefit humans.

“The LIPUS therapy is a non-invasive physiotherapy that could apply to high-risk elderly patients without the need for surgery or anaesthesia, and could be used repeatedly,” said lead author Hiroaki Shimokawa from Tohoku University in Japan.

The team treated mice with vascular dementia on three alternative days, followed by a surgical procedure that limited the brain’s blood supply.

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A woman suffering from Dementia. Pixabay

The mice with a condition simulating Alzheimer’s disease in humans received 11 LIPUS treatments over a period of three months.

The results, published in the journal Brain Stimulation, showed that cognitive impairment markedly improved in mice from both the groups when LIPUS was applied to the whole brain three times a day for 20 minutes each.

Also Read: Scientists Develop Potential Approach to Treat Dementia, Stroke

Further, genes related to the cells lining blood vessels were turned on. The team also found increased expression of an enzyme involved in blood vessel formation and a protein involved in nerve cell survival and growth.

Presently no curative treatments are available for vascular dementia or Alzheimer’s disease which are the most common causes of dementia. (IANS)