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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Meditation Helps Memory Loss Patients

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Medical News Today

The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine reports that researchers from the Thomas Jefferson University Hospital have discovered that adults with memory impairment and memory loss may benefit from mantra-based meditation, which has a positive effect on people's emotional responses to stress,fatigue and anxiety

For their study, the researchers enrolled 15 older adults with memory problems that ranged from mild age-associated memory impairment to mild impairment, with Alzheimer's disease on a Kirtan Kriya (KK) mantra-based meditation course, that involved 12 minutes of meditation, per day, for a period of eight weeks, and a control group to listen to classical music for the same amount of time over 8 weeks. 

Preliminary findings revealed a substantial increase in cerebral blood flow in the patients' prefrontal, superior frontal, and superior parietal cortices, and also better cognitive function. 

Andrew Newberg, M.D., director of Research at the Jefferson Myrna Brind Center of Integrative Medicine explained: 

"We sought to build on this research to determine if changes in cerebral blood flow (CBF) had any correlation with changes in patients' emotional state, feelings of spirituality and improvements in memory. Age-associated cognitive impairment can be accompanied by depression and changes in mood. There is data suggesting that mood disorders can aggravate the processes of cognitive decline."


The findings demonstrated that participants in the meditation group showed some improvement in fatigue, tension, anger, confusion and depression, and whilst the researchers noted a substantial improvement in tension and fatigue, compared with the control group, they did not observe significant changes with regard to spirituality scores. 

They examined the participants' brains and other regions of interest (ROI) by using single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) scans at baseline and at 8-weeks. The location of the scans was based on regions that the researchers earlier found were affected during the meditation tasks, and that are involved in various cognitive and affective responses. 

The results showed an important relationship between the change in CBF and the change of the patients' reported mood states. For instance, whilst regions like the amygdala, which impact memory formation and storage linked to emotional events, as well as the caudate, which is thought to be strongly involved in learning and memory related to depression scores, areas like the prefrontal cortex, inferior frontal lobe, parietal region, and cingulate cortex were related with tension. 

The fact that researchers observed substantial associations between improved scores for confusion, depression and change in verbal memory indicates that improvements of depression and confusion are linked to cognitive improvement. 

Dr. Newberg concludes: 

"This study is one of a growing body of neuroimaging studies to illustrate the neurological and biological impact of meditation, highlighting brain regions that regulate attention control, emotional states, and memory. It is a first step in understanding the neurophysiologic impact of this and similar meditative practices."


Written by Petra Rattue 
Copyright: Medical News Today 


Friday, March 2, 2012

Guide dogs for the mind: The retrievers being trained to give dementia sufferers a new life Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2103137/Guide-dogs-mind-The-retrievers-trained-dementia-sufferers-new-life.

Activities directors, caregivers, and healthcare professionals,here is some great information


Here is a great dementia resource for caregivers and healthcare professinals,


Your residents will love the Amazon Kindle Fire




Here is information on being the best caregiver you can be


Here is a way for nurses administrators, social workers and other health care  professionals to get an easyceu or two


Follow alzheimersideas on twitter

The Dementia Caregiver's Little Book of Hope [Kindle Edition]


Mail online


By GEORGE ARBUTHNOTT


First there were guide dogs for the blind, then hearing dogs for the deaf. Now man’s best friend could help to care for people suffering from dementia.
Golden retrievers and labradors are being taught to remind people to take their tablets, raise the alarm in an emergency, assist with undressing and help out around the home.
Under the ‘Dementia Dog’ project the animals are trained to respond to an  alarm that goes off whenever a person who is struggling with memory loss needs to take medication.




The dog then clenches its mouth around the medicine, stored in a bite-proof bag, and carries it to the sufferer.
Animals can also be taught to recognise a specific movement that their owner would make when in distress.
The dog would then either press an emergency button on a telephone or bark loudly to raise the alarm.
And dogs can learn to open cupboards, drawers, fridges and washing machines, flick light switches, and even help people suffering from dementia to undress.
Experts say the animals can be trained to carry out any task that requires a pulling motion. So if a short rope is attached to a cupboard door, the dog can open it.
When it comes to helping with undressing, the dogs are trained to pull at the sleeve of a coat or tug off socks.
So far the project has been given £52,000 of Government funding, but needs to raise a further £130,000 to launch a pilot scheme later this year.
Eventually, it is hoped the initiative will allow many more of the 750,000 Britons who suffer from dementia to retain their independence for longer.
The dogs will undergo a six-month training programme using ‘positive reinforcement’, which means that whenever they complete a task correctly, they get a treat.
If the scheme, developed by voluntary organisation Alzheimer Scotland, gains funding, it will be the first time that dogs have been used to assist those with dementia.


The organisation’s deputy director, Joyce Gray, said: ‘We are really hopeful the dogs will not only be a huge practical help but also provide great emotional support.
‘People with the condition can easily become isolated and the dog will be a constant companion, which will help them to keep social.’
Sufferers of early-stage dementia are now being urged to suggest other ways the dogs could improve their lives.
The feedback will be incorporated into the pilot scheme once the funding is raised.
Four students at Glasgow School of Art came up with the idea after Alzheimer Scotland challenged the college to suggest an innovative way to improve the lives of dementia sufferers.
The concept was pitched to the Design Council, which in partnership with the Department of  Health was offering funding for projects that helped those with early-stage dementia.
The Dementia Dogs scheme has now gained the backing of charities Dogs For The Disabled and Guide Dogs, which already provide dogs with similar skills to help those with physical disabilities.
The number of people with dementia is set to hit one million by 2021 and 1.7 million by 2050. It is believed that six out of ten of those with the condition are undiagnosed.
Sufferers of dementia and their relatives are urged to suggest ways that dogs could help them 


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