Friday September 21, 2018

Reducing Alzheimer’s stigma crucial for prevention research

Almost half expected the person's health insurance would be limited due to data in the medical record (47 percent), a brain imaging result (46 percent) or genetic test result (45 percent)

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A lady suffering from Alzheimer's. Flickr
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  • Alzheimer’s is a serious disease
  • To prevent it, it is important to remove the stigma attached to it
  • It was found in a recent survey

Reducing stigma attributed to Alzheimer’s disease is vital for prevention research, a new study suggests, adding that the stigma associated with the disease may be an obstacle for individuals to seek information about their risk of developing it.

The survey focused on what beliefs, attitudes and expectations are most often associated with the disease. “We found that concerns about discrimination and overly harsh judgments about the severity of symptoms were most prevalent,” said co-author of the study, Shana Stites from the University of Pennsylvania. “By understanding what the biggest concerns are about the disease, we can help develop programmes and policies to reduce the stigma about Alzheimer’s disease,” Stites added.

Diabetes drug could now treat Alzheimer's disease
To treat Alzheimer’s disease, it is important to remove stigma attached to it. IANS

For the study, published in the journal Alzheimer’s and Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association, a random sample of 317 adults was asked to react to a fictional description of a person with mild stage Alzheimer’s disease dementia.

The study asked respondents to read a vignette and then complete the survey. Three different assessments were presented for the fictional person’s condition. Respondents were told the person’s condition would worsen, improve or remain unchanged. Over half of the respondents (55 percent) expected the person with mild cognitive impairment or dementia due to Alzheimer’s to be discriminated against by employers and to be excluded from medical decision-making.

Also Read: Beetroot compound may prevent Alzheimer’s

Almost half expected the person’s health insurance would be limited due to data in the medical record (47 percent), a brain imaging result (46 percent) or genetic test result (45 percent). Those numbers increased when the participants were informed that the condition of the person with Alzheimer’s would worsen over time, the researcher said. IANS

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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

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.

dementia
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)