Halting Alzheimer’s Disease: How Controlling Inflammation Could Be the Key

Alzheimer's Disease

The Alzheimer’s Association estimates that approximately 5.3 million Americans are afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease. Currently, one in three seniors will die from Alzheimer’s or some other form of dementia. Such staggering statistics may seem dismal, but there is hope on the horizon with recent research findings.

Researchers from the University of Southampton in England have been working with a chemical that reduces neuroinflammation in the brain. This chemical may help protect against the memory and behavioral changes associated with Alzheimer’s.

How Inflammation Plays a Part in Alzheimer’s

It is theorized that an overactive immune system causes chronic inflammation in the brain. Though researchers are not sure, they suspect that the inflammation is a catalyst for the disease rather than the other way around.  Scientists have linked that inflammation to Alzheimer’s in several clinical studies where they have looked at the tissue of a healthy brain versus one afflicted by Alzheimer’s. The brains that suffered from Alzheimer’s showed high levels of immune cells (microglia) and the concentration of these cells were greater as the disease increased in severity thereby suggesting chronic brain inflammation in Alzheimer’s sufferers. The molecules that regulate the number of immune cells clearly became more active as the severity of Alzheimer’s in the brains increased clustering around the amyloid plaques in the brain associated with the disease. The inflammation is believed to not be a result of the Alzheimer’s disease but a key driver of the disease, states a report done by the Huffington Post.

The National Health Service (NHS) reports that mice suffering from symptoms similar to Alzheimer’s experienced improvement when given a drug with the chemical GW2580, which blocked the production of the microglial immune cells that caused brain inflammation. However, the prevalence of amyloid plaques was not diminished.  Research in the mice showed an improvement in the cognitive and behavioral symptoms relating to Alzheimer’s when fed GW2580 thereby inhibiting immune cell production and reducing the inflammation within the brain.

Currently, researchers are very hopeful that controlling inflammation in the brain of Alzheimer’s sufferers, through the use of medication, diet and lifestyle changes, has the potential to significantly reduce memory loss caused by the disease, along with a variety of other Alzheimer’s symptoms.

At David York Agency, we understand the fears and challenges that Alzheimer’s disease can bring, not just for the person diagnosed, but for everyone in their life. We hope to provide families with the support and care they need during this particularly difficult time.

For more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, contact us at 718.376.7755. A free consultation can help you decide what services might be best to provide you and your loved one with the assistance they need. If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, Google+ or LinkedIn.

New Hope in Early Detection of Alzheimer’s Disease

When it comes to Alzheimer’s disease, we really can’t overstate the importance of early detection. However, despite the need for and value of diagnosing this disease before symptoms actually start to appear, researchers have struggled to find a reliable method of doing so — until now.

Thanks to Henrik Zetterberg and Kaj Blennow of Gothenburg University’s Sahlgrenska Academy, there is now hope in a test that measures beta-amyloid proteins in cerebrospinal fluid for early detection of Alzheimer’s. The two scientists recently developed a way to detect Alzheimer’s up to thirty years before any symptoms start to show by measuring this specific protein in the spinal fluid.

Alzheimer's Disease

“If the concentration of beta-amyloid in the spinal fluid is abnormally low, it indicates that the protein is sticking in the brain, which is the earliest sign of Alzheimer’s disease,” says Henrik Zetterberg.

In a healthy person, beta amyloid collects in the brain and immediately goes into the blood and spinal fluid. But with Alzheimer’s patients, a protein called GPR3 is believed to be the reason that beta amyloid plaques develop and stick to the brain. These plaques cause brain and nerve cells to die. This beta amyloid buildup can happen as early as middle age and can easily go unnoticed for years before the first symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease start to appear. At this point, the disease is too advanced to respond to any type of treatment.

With advanced degrees in gerontological administration, our director, along with our team of medical professionals who have extensive hands-on patient care experience, is fully able to understand and assist with every aspect of care faced by the aged and infirmed.

At David York Agency, we consider every one of our clients family. We understand how life-changing and scary an Alzheimer’s Disease diagnosis can be, not just for the person diagnosed, but for everyone in their life. We hope to provide families with the support and care they need during this particularly difficult time.

For more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, contact us at 718.376.7755. A free consultation can help you decide what services might be best to provide you and your loved one with the assistance they need. If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, Google+ or LinkedIn.

A Compassionate Caregiver Provides the Help You Need to Keep Your Loved One With Alzheimer’s Safe

“Where’s Dad?” Panic sets in when you realize your loved one with Alzheimer’s disease has wandered off alone.  Dealing with a loved one with this dreaded disease can be very challenging at times, if not downright terrifying.  

compassionate caregiverAn Alzheimer’s or dementia diagnosis can put a lot of stress on a family. While at first it may seem manageable, unsafe situations can arise, such as the loved one getting lost and not being able to recall where he lives or what his name is, or leaving the fire on the stove lit for hours after forgetting they were simply boiling an egg. These events are alarming for family members who feel helpless in the face of this disease. Furthermore, having to make decisions about that loved one’s ongoing care can catapult the family into uncharted territory. The decreased function and changed behavior of the Alzheimer’s patient is a huge adjustment that must be accounted for.

If the thought of a residential facility doesn’t sit well with you, a compassionate caregiver might be the solution. While many nursing homes are more than capable of caring for an Alzheimer’s patient, keeping your loved one at home has many advantages. A familiar setting often keeps their precious long-term memories close at hand, possibly slowing the rapid progression of the disease. Additionally, moving a patient out of their home can sometimes cause great anxiety which, in and of itself, can speed the progression of dementia.

If you’ve decided you want to keep your loved one home, but you can’t be there 24 hours a day, you will need to set up a situation where they can be both safe and happy. Elderproofing, much as you would for a baby, will be necessary. You will have to keep doors locked with elder-proof devices. You will need kitchen safety knobs on the stove and latches on the ovens. You will need to make sure the bathroom is safe from fall hazards and that the temperature on the hot water tank is set low enough not to burn. You may also want to put a GPS tracking device on your loved one, in case they get out unescorted. The National Institute of Aging has a comprehensive home safety booklet for Alzheimer’s patients that you might find extremely useful.  

In terms of their day to day care, it might be prudent for you to turn to an in-home caregiver, such as a certified home health aide, to help with tasks you cannot manage.  An experienced, compassionate person can come in to help your family member with meals, hygiene assistance, household tasks or simply to offer a little companionship. When your loved one lives far away, this becomes especially essential. However, even when they are close by, a professional caregiver can ensure that family members are not too taxed and that everyone can go on with their normal routine as much as possible.  

If you think an in-home caregiver is financially unfeasible, it’s important to know your options. If your loved one had the foresight to purchase long-term care insurance, then many of our services are covered under those policies. Also, some of the elderly qualify for Medicaid after their assets have declined.

If you live in the New York City area, the David York Agency offers highly-personalized home health care services so that your family member can stay in the comfort and familiarity of their own home, while all of you deal with the stress of an Alzheimer’s diagnosis. Our health care professionals are highly-trained and capable of handling not only medical situations but also the day-to-day running of the home. Many of the families we serve come to see our providers as family members, as they become integrated into the everyday lives of the household.

For more information on David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, contact us at 718.376.7755. A free consultation can help you decide what services might help you and your loved ones. To hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, Google+ or LinkedIn. For any of your questions concerning elder care, contact us.

The Types and Causes of Incontinence

Incontinence is a tricky disorder to manage.  Unlike many other conditions whose effects can go undetected, the inability to control one’s bladder function can become public knowledge very quickly, both by the appearance of moisture on clothing, and by the presence of urine’s distinct odor.  In the US, nearly 3.5 million Americans deal with incontinence – almost ten percent of the population – and can be caused by a number of factors: as a result of recent surgery, or as an involuntary reaction to pressure-exerting movements.

According to the Mayo Clinic, the most common types are stress, urge, and overflow incontinence.

  • Stress incontinence.183170863 Unrelated to emotional or psychological stress, this type of incontinence results from a weakened sphincter – the area of the bladder that controls flow.  This reduced control can be caused by bodily changes (as in pregnancy in women) or a side effect from a recent surgery.  By exerting pressure on the bladder through specific movements – both voluntary, like lifting or running, and involuntary, as with laughing, sneezing, and coughing – urine is forced out of the bladder, and with little resistance from the weakened muscle, easily bypasses the sphincter.
  • Urge incontinence. Characterized by an immediate and intense urge to urinate, urge incontinence may also be referred to as overactive bladder.  This type of incontinence allows only limited forewarning – rarely more than a minute – before involuntary emission occurs.  This type of incontinence causes the bladder muscle to contract, and is often a side effect of urinary tract infections, certain diseases including Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, stroke, and traumatic injury, among others.
  • Overflow incontinence. This type of incontinence causes a constant or near-constant dribble, which reflects an inability to completely empty the bladder. Sufferers of overflow incontinence may sense this when urinating, or may produce only a weak stream of urine. Overflow incontinence is often seen in patients with a damaged bladder, or a blocked urethra. Nerve damage related to diabetes, multiple sclerosis or spinal cord injury may also be a cause; specifically in men, overflow incontinence can be related to prostate gland problems.

While it’s obvious when incontinence becomes a problem, it is imperative nonetheless to consult with a doctor, as it may be a symptom of another, more serious, condition. If the problem is more serious, an home health aide who provides in-home care can assist loved ones with undergarment changing and assist with diaper changing.

At David York Agency, we provide a Free Nursing Assessment for all of our clients.  All of our home health aides undergo comprehensive training and are up-to-date with their certification and techniques.  We take special care to match your needs with the aide’s skills and abilities so you can be assured that the caregiver we send to your home is the very best for your situation.  For more information about home health aides, please contact us at 718.376.7755 or www.davidyorkagency.com and visit our Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter pages.