Thursday, 31 January 2013

New drug hope for common form of dementia: review


A new drug made from pigs' brain cells 'significantly' improves symptoms of a form of dementia that affects more than 100,000 people, a respected review of research has found.

New drug hope for common form of dementia: review: The drug Cerebrolysin is not currently licensed in the UK and is made from proteins found in pigs brains
The drug Cerebrolysin is not currently licensed in the UK and is made from proteins found in pigs brains Photo: ALAMY

Patients with vascular dementia, the second most common form of the disease, showed significant improvements in their thinking and memory after being given Cerebrolysin, a review of research trials has found.
It would be the first treatment specifically for vascular dementia that is caused by narrowing and hardening of the blood vessels in the brain.
Around 136,000 people have this form of dementia which is second only to Alzheimer's.
Symptoms are similar and include particular difficulty with thinking quicmly, concentrating and communicating and can be accompanied by fits and severe confusion.
The drug Cerebrolysin is not currently licensed in the UK and is made from proteins found in pigs brains.
They found it significantly improved thinking abilities on memory, arithmetic and other scores.
It is thought the longer patients take it the greater the improvement, however there were only two long-term trials.
Researcher, Li He, of the Department of Neurology at Sichuan University in Sichuan, China, said: "Our review suggests that Cerebrolysin can help improve cognitive and global function in patients with mild to moderate severity vascular dementia.
"The results are promising but due to low numbers of trials, inconsistencies between trials, risk of bias in the way some of the trials were conducted and lack of long-term follow-up, we cannot yet recommend Cerebrolysin as a routine treatment for vascular dementia."
There were no serious side effects reported in the trials, indicating the drug was safe.
However Dr He said: "The fact that it has to be given in regular intravenous infusions means it could be impractical for use on a large scale."
The findings were published in the Cochrane Library.
Dr Eric Karran, director of research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “Cochrane systematic reviews are an incredibly valuable tool, as they pull together the best available evidence on a particular treatment or intervention.
"This review found that Cerebrolysin does appear to have some cognitive benefits for people with vascular dementia, although it is not clear how these might translate into day-to-day improvements in people’s lives.
"It is positive to see potential new treatments tested in people, but larger clinical trials are needed before we could know whether Cerebrolysin could be a feasible treatment option for people with the condition.
“Vascular dementia affects thousands of people in the UK, but sadly there are no specific treatments available for people with the condition.
"Research into new treatments is absolutely vital, but without continued investment, promising findings cannot be taken forward. We must ensure that research into dementia remains a national priority.”

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Different problems in dementia

I struggle with things like writing this blog, as I don't always remember what I had set out to write, and that causes a lot of stress.

This then means that it takes a while to write it, or I have to keep saving it and coming back in the hope that I remember the subject.

It also causes problems because using the wrong words throws a different slant on what I was trying to get across in the first place. I say that because finding the correct word is not as easy as it used to be, when I was working.

I also have to use spell check quite a lot, which is good on the days when my spelling is good or not so bad, on other days, there is no way spell check stands a chance, as I can not always work out just how a word is spelt in my brain.

I sometimes use voice activated software to write these things out, but if my voice is quieter or weaker than normal, it does not pick up what I am saying or just writes what it thinks I have said.

Similar things happen at meetings

I confess that when I go to meetings I end up with similar problems, because I have to try to understand what is being said before I can find the answer I want. This sometimes ends up with me thinking of an answer when the subject has changed, and this can be embarrassing to myself as well as others who don't understand my problems.

I have met many people at meetings who can volley answers off as well as questions, where I need to think about it very slowly, which sometimes makes me wonder why I bother to go to these events when my thoughts are so much slower than others.

I suppose it all comes down to how I am feeling on the day, as some days I feel fine and question my diagnosis, yet other times I know that there is something wrong with me.

Whether this is the medication working I am not sure, but when some people can quote gospel and verse at events without looking at papers to revise their memories I start to ask what is going on in my brain.

I suppose I should be grateful that I can still do my blog and do my own thing when I want, and perhaps Ii should forget meetings and just enjoy my past times instead. I know that I used to be very active as a engineer working 24 hours a day, I guess that I have to accept change and get on with life in the slower lane.

Monday, 28 January 2013

Two bad nights in a row

This has been a very bad weekend as far as sleep is concerned, because of my very graphic nightmares and bad dreams.

I have had two bad nights in a row, and am feeling very tired. When this happens I get to the stage where I really don't want to go to bed on a night, as these things scare me to death.(The terrors of the night I call them). As they can be described in great detail the next day, unlike normal dreams which simply disappear when we wake up
Yet if I have a 20 min nap in my chair after lunch, I can go dead to the world and never hear anything including the telephone. After this I feel more refreshed that I do after a night in bed

I am on medication for this, but as I found out a few months ago, I can not have these tablets increased as I simply don't wake up, and this is very distressing to me.

I often wonder how many people have heart attacks during the night when they have these nasty dreams and nightmares because they simply can not wake up from them

Study links dementia to sleep loss

Study links dementia to sleep loss

A link between sleep deprivation and dementia in older people has been found by a new study.
The behaviour of research participants was found to vary according to how much sleep they had received.
In older volunteers, a shortage of good quality, or slow-wave sleep, was found to be linked to future memory problems.
This was subsequently linked to disappearance of neurons in the brain’s medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) area, which often occurs with age.
The study, which has been featured in the journal Nature Neuroscience, asked participants to memorise a list of words and recall them after having slept through the night.
Dr Matthew Walker, from the University of California at Berkeley, US, and his co-researchers said in the report: “These data support a model in which age-related mPFC atrophy diminishes SWA (slow-wave activity), the functional consequence of which is impaired long-term memory.”
He added that a lack of sleep in older people, with changes to the structure of the brain, could increase the risk of dementia in future years.
Dr Simon Ridley, from the charity Alzheimer’s Research UK, added that while the research had linked sleep loss to dementia, more studies should be carried out to draw a solid conclusion.
“Increasing evidence has linked changes in sleep to memory problems and dementia, but it’s not clear whether these changes might be a cause or consequence,” he said.
He also said that while the participants in the research did not have dementia, increased knowledge of how the brain alters as we get older could help medics find new ways to treat the condition.

Friday, 25 January 2013

The weather is rubbish here

The weather is horrible outside, its started to snow again and the forecasters say its minus 6, so its not a day to go very far.

The heating was off when I got downstairs, so I had to try to start it to warm the house up, but in the end I succeeded and then had some hot breakfast to get me going.

Where has the sun gone when you need it the most.

Well done to the people of Bath

Public meeting to make Bath dementia-friendly

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Friday, January 25, 2013
A public meeting to challenge Bath to do more to help dementia sufferers and their carers is to be held next month.
The event on February 21 will look at ways of training people from bus drivers to bank clerks to respond to the needs of people with dementia.
Meeting organisers at not-for-profit training group See Change in Dementia (corr) have posed the question: Can Bath become a dementia-friendly community?
The group says all are welcome to the meeting at 7.30pm at St Michael’s Church in Broad Street, which is being arranged at a time when more than 2,500 people in Bath have dementia.
See Change in Dementia director Anne Challenor-Wood said: “The fear and stigma associated with dementia prevents many people from seeking the support which they need. As a community we need to tackle our own fears and find ways of supporting people with dementia in a positive way.
“Whether we are family, friends, neighbours, in a service role such as shop assistants, bank clerks, bus drivers, or in a caring role such as doctors and nurses, we all need to have an idea of what it might be like to be a person with dementia, so that we can respond appropriately with compassion and understanding.”
Speakers at the meeting, which has been organised in conjunction with Bath Churches Together, will include the chief executive of local community health care provider Sirona, Janet Rowse, as well as representatives of the city charity Research Institute for the Care of the Older Person, and the Alzheimer’s Society. There will also be short performance by Arabella Tresillian of the Therapeutic Media Company aimed at conveying the voices of people with dementia.
Ms Challenor-Wood, whose own mother had vascular dementia for 16 years, will be involved in a series of community workshops in the Bath area in March.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Better day

Its been a better day today as the snow and ice are starting to melt, which is good. I will be pleased to see the back of it all as it makes life very hard trying to walk and concentrate at the same time.

I don't think this weather goes well with any form of brain illness.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Snowdrops can fight dementia and lavender may treat hair loss:

Snowdrops can fight dementia and lavender may treat hair loss: How medicine's getting a dose of flower power

By Roger Dobson

Alzheimer's is associated with a drop in acetylcholine levels
Alzheimer's is associated with a drop in acetylcholine levels
Flowers have long been used as traditional remedies, but they’re now being used to treat a conditions from depression and insomnia to cancer.
A third of new pharmaceuticals since 2008 originated or were inspired by natural products including flowers, says the Society of Chemical Industry.
What makes the chemicals in flowers so potent — even on something as complex as brain functions — is not clear.
But it could be due to the sophisticated processes they’ve evolved to deter predators or attract pollinators.
Here, we identify the flowers that are finding their way into mainstream medicine . . .

Snowdrop: Used to treat mild to moderate dementia
Snowdrop: Used to treat mild to moderate dementia


This small, white flower blooms in the late winter.
Traditional uses: Rub-on treatment for headaches, painkiller and poison antidote.
Modern uses: Reminyl, one of the main type of drugs used to treat mild to moderate dementia, is derived from galantamine, a compound found in snowdrop bulbs.
It helps increase levels of acetylcholine, a brain chemical involved in the transmission of messages from nerve cells.
Alzheimer’s is associated with a drop in acetylcholine levels — galantamine stops or delays the decline, helping to maintain memory.
‘Galantamine was originally tested for use in conditions such as eye, gastric and heart disorders.
'It wasn’t until the Eighties that it was explored for potential benefits in dementia,’ says Dr Melanie-Jayne Howes of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.


A member of the iris family, the crocus — and saffron, a spice derived from its flower — are used in traditional medicine.
Traditional uses: Remedy for indigestion, low libido, pain, poor concentration, depression, asthma and rheumatism.
Modern uses: Saffron is being tested for toothache and the eye condition age-related macular degeneration.
When it comes to the eyes, saffron affects the amount of fat stored by the eye, making vision cells tougher and more resilient, according to Sydney University researchers.
In separate trials, Alzheimer’s patients treated with saffron showed improvements in mental functioning comparable to patients who were given the drug donepezil.

Saffron and crocus petal extracts also reduced mild depression in clinical trials.
Crocin, the compound that gives saffron its vibrant colour, has been shown to boost memory and improve mental functioning in a study at the University of Tokyo.
Meanwhile, an Iranian study found saffron may increase libido.
Extracts from the autumn crocus, or meadow saffron, contain a compound called colchicine. This works as an anti-inflammatory and could be used to prevent or treat attacks of gout, according to the Mayo Clinic in the U.S.
It is also thought to have anti-cancer effects, and researchers at the Institute for Cancer Therapeutics at the University of Bradford have shown it can attack a number of cancers.
‘Saffron is expensive and research is needed to see if it has advantages over cheaper plants that have similar effects,’ says Dr Howes.


Lavender: It has helped with insomnia, alopecia, anxiety and stress
Lavender: It has helped with insomnia, alopecia, anxiety and stress
A native of the western Mediterranean, the word lavender comes from the Latin lavare, which means ‘to wash’.
It may have acquired its name because it was used in baths to purify body and mind.
Traditional uses: Used since Roman times as a sedative, relaxant and antidepressant
Modern uses: Oil from the fresh plants has been shown to help with insomnia, alopecia, anxiety, stress and post-operative pain, according to a review of studies by the University of Maryland.
Trials have shown lavender oil improves mood, and is a possible antidepressant, which might help explain its pain-killing effects.
When given to adults with anxiety disorder, it was as effective as the drug lorazepam, according to a German study in Phytomedicine. It’s thought to act on the brain chemical gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA).
Rubbing on lavender oil has been shown to improve well-being and sleep, increase alertness and reduce aggression and anxiety in dementia patients in studies at the University of Oodate in Japan.
It is also being studied for antibacterial and anti-viral properties.


A plant with rose pink flowers, its Latin name polygala means ‘much milk’.
Folklore had it that dairy cows who ate the plant would produce a lot of milk.
Traditional uses: Widely used in the Middle Ages as an infusion to increase a nursing mother’s milk. Other uses include remedies for anxiety, forgetfulness, insomnia and restlessness
Modern uses: Research by psychiatrists in Seoul found it has a protective effect on brain cells.
Men and women who took a plant extract three times a day for four weeks showed more significant increases in recall and made fewer mistakes than those given a placebo.
Root extracts have also shown promising effects on memory in humans in two trials. It is not yet known how it works.


Also known as narcissi.
Traditional uses: Daffodils have been used to induce vomiting, and as a poultice for burns and wounds.
Modern uses: As with crocuses, the bulbs are a source of galantamine, used to treat Alzheimer’s disease.
Daffodils contain compounds that can get through the blood-brain barrier (a semi-permeable barrier that prevents many drugs from entering the brain).
These are being investigated as depression treatments at the University of Copenhagen. Daffodil compounds are being used to piggyback antidepressants into the brain to make the drugs more effective.
A Chinese study also suggests daffodil compounds can kill off certain cancer cells (such as leukaemia).

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Monday, 21 January 2013

Enjoy life while you can and seize the moment


When I was diagnosed, it felt like the end of the world, and I suppose in some respects it was. Because,  it was the end of my working life as an engineer, and the start of a new life living with dementia.

However no one had ever told me that it was possible to live well with dementia and enjoy life in any way possible.

Since my diagnosis I have lost the ability to do many of my hobbies, but I have started doing one or two other things, so in many ways I have not lost anything.

I do think we should strive to do as much as we can while we can, because life is too short.  I was brought up to think that anything was possible, and you should never say that you can not do anything, because if you set your mind to it you can achieve many things.

But my consultant told me to stop trying to do things that were slipping out of my grasp, because if you keep trying to do things that are getting more and more difficult through the dementia, you will only get very upset distressed or perhaps depressed and that would do nothing for me.

So since that time I have agreed to carry on doing what I can, and if things get difficult that I stop doing it, and try something different.

I spend time doing things like writing my life story, which can be very interesting when I remember the right bits.

So we should all try to remain independent while we can and enjoy life living well with dementia

Friday, 18 January 2013

Secondhand smoke linked to dementia

Secondhand smoke linked to dementia

“Passive smoking can dramatically increase the risk of developing severe dementia,” is the Daily Mail’s headline. The newspaper reports that a study has been the first to show a significant link between exposure to secondhand smoke and dementia.
This news is based on a large Chinese study that looked at the “mental state” of over-60s and their lifetime exposure to secondhand smoke.
Researchers used a computer program to see whether the participants had problems with memory, thinking and changes in personality that were consistent with “moderate or severe dementia syndromes”. They then looked to see whether there was a link between secondhand smoke exposure and dementia symptoms and found that people reporting any secondhand smoke exposure had a 29% increased risk of a “severe dementia syndrome” compared with those with no exposure to smoke.
The harms of passive smoking (such as increased risk of heart disease) are well-established and there could be a case to add dementia to the list in the future. However, this study cannot prove that this is the case, due to a number of limitations, including the uncertain reliability of both the dementia diagnoses and the recall of exposure to secondhand smoke.
Also, while the researchers accounted for various potential confounders such as age and socio-economic factors, there is the possibility that other unmeasured factors are influencing the association. The results in this Chinese population may also not be applicable to people in the UK.
A definite link between dementia as a whole (not a specific type such as Alzheimer’s or vascular dementia) and passive smoking cannot be reliably concluded from this study. Further research is required on this topic.

Where did the story come from?

The study was carried out by researchers from the University of Liverpool, the University of Oxford, the University of Wolverhampton, King’s College London and the University of Texas in the USA. The research was funded by the Alzheimer’s Research Trust and BUPA Foundation, and an individual researcher received support from the University of Wolverhampton Strategic Research Development Fund.
The study was published in the open access peer-reviewed medical journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine.
Passive smoking is known to be bad for health in general, so the Mail can perhaps be forgiven for its sensationalist headlines. However, due to the numerous limitations of this study it does not prove that secondhand smoking directly, and dramatically, increases risk of severe dementia.

What kind of research was this?

This was a cohort study that assessed almost 6,000 older adults in China, examining their mental state to see if they had dementia and questioning their exposure to secondhand smoke during their lifetime.
Secondhand or passive smoking has been associated with increased risk of cancer and cardiovascular diseases.
The researchers say that previous studies have also shown that smoking increases the risk of Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia, leading to speculation that passive smoking may carry a similar risk. However, no studies have yet tried to see how the level of exposure to secondhand smoke (what researchers would call the dose) may be linked to risk of dementia, and this is what they aimed to investigate.
There are several different types of dementia. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common, followed by vascular dementia. While vascular dementia is associated with cardiovascular disease (and therefore links to smoke exposure are quite plausible), the causes of Alzheimer’s - aside from increased age and possible genetic links - remain largely unknown.

What did the research involve?

During 2007-9 the researchers chose one urban and one rural community from four different provinces in China and randomly selected roughly 500 individuals from each community.
Eligible adults had to be at least 60 years old and have lived in the area for five years.
Participants were interviewed at home using a general health and risk factors questionnaire and the Geriatric Mental State Examination (GMS). A computer program was used to identify the mental conditions affecting participants.
GMS symptoms were grouped into 150 “symptom components”, which helped the researchers group people into different diagnostic groups:
  • depression
  • schizophrenia
  • obsession
  • phobia
  • hypochondria
  • general anxiety
  • ‘organic’ disorders (organic generally means that there is a definite disease process going on in the brain which is responsible for symptoms - the most common type of organic brain disorder is dementia)
The program gives a number representing the level of confidence that a certain person has a particular diagnosis (0-5). They defined a person with 1-2 confidence level organic disorder as having a “moderate dementia syndrome” and levels 3-5 as “severe dementia syndromes”.
They used a questionnaire to assess the participants’ smoking history and secondhand smoke exposure. Current smokers were those who gave a positive answer to the question “Do you smoke cigarettes now?” and gave extra information about the duration of their habit and how many cigarettes they smoked each day. They also defined past smokers and those who had never smoked. All participants were also required to provide the answers “yes” or “no” relating to secondhand smoke exposure.
Respondents were asked about whether they experienced no, some or lots of secondhand exposure at home, in the workplace and in other places. All participants were asked how many years they were exposed to each of three sources of secondhand smoke.
When looking at links between secondhand smoke and dementia syndromes researchers adjusted their analysis for various potential confounders, including:
  • age
  • sex
  • smoking status
  • urban or rural location
  • educational level
  • occupational class
  • annual income
  • marital status
  • religion
  • current alcohol drinking
  • visiting children or relatives - which would suggest a good level of social support
  • hypertension
  • stroke
  • depressive syndromes

What were the basic results?

The study included 5,921 participants, 36% of whom had been exposed to secondhand smoke at some time (31% of never smokers and 46% of ex- or current smokers). Those previously exposed to secondhand smoke tended to be younger, have previously smoked themselves, live in rural areas, be of lower education or occupational class and drink alcohol.
Moderate dementia syndromes (level 1-2) affected 14.1% of those with no secondhand smoke exposure and 15.7% with exposure. Severe dementia syndromes (level 3-5) affected 8.9% of those with no secondhand smoke exposure and 13.6% of those with exposure.
The researchers carried out numerous calculations according to location of exposure and duration of exposure. No significant associations were found for moderate dementia syndromes. For severe dementia syndromes they found that any secondhand smoke exposure increased the risk of severe dementia syndrome by 29% (relative risk 1.29, 95% confidence interval 1.05 to 1.59).
They found a general trend for a dose-dependent relationship, where increasing levels of exposure, ranging from 0-25 years to 100 or more years, increased the risk of severe dementia syndromes, though not all of these individual associations were significant.

How did the researchers interpret the results?

The researchers conclude that secondhand smoke exposure “should be considered an important risk factor for severe dementia syndromes”, and that avoidance of secondhand smoke “may reduce the rates of severe dementia syndromes worldwide”.


Secondhand or passive smoking is known to be detrimental to health and has been associated with increased risk of cardiovascular diseases and cancer. However, it is not yet certain whether it is linked to dementia.
Though this large study finds a significant link between secondhand smoke exposure and severe dementia syndromes there are several important limitations to be aware of.

Problems with measuring dementia diagnoses

The method for diagnosis of dementia used by this study was unusual. Though the researchers assessed each individual using a mental state examination, they went on to diagnose them using a computer program which assigned symptoms into different diagnostic groups or “syndromes”. They then attached a level of confidence that this syndrome was the correct diagnosis, from 0-5. Those who fell into the syndrome of “organic disorders” where classed as having dementia. An organic brain disorder usually means a condition where there is a definite disease process going on in the brain which is responsible for symptoms.
While types of dementia are the most common and largest group of organic brain disorders, this group would normally be expected to include other conditions caused by brain disease, damage or dysfunction. Therefore, it is difficult to say how accurate it would be to categorise all people in this syndrome group as having dementia.
Also, how well the 1-2 level confidence can directly apply to moderate dementia, and 3-5 applies to severe dementia, is difficult to say. Mental state examination and cognitive tests often pick up more minor degrees of memory loss and it is not reasonable to assume that all memory changes are dementia or will inevitably lead to it. The most effective way to diagnose organic disorders would be to carry out a thorough clinical assessment, including the use of brain scans, but this option may not have been available to the researchers.
Overall, it is difficult to say whether the diagnoses of dementia made were entirely accurate.

Reliability of smoke exposure reporting

Similarly there may be questionable reliability over the responses on exposure to secondhand smoke, particularly when participants were being asked to specify where they had been exposed and for how long.

Unaccounted confounding factors

Though the researchers have adjusted their analyses for several potential confounders, it is still difficult to conclude for certain that smoke exposure is directly responsible for any link seen, and that other unmeasured factors are not involved.

Population demographics

The study has only assessed a Chinese population. It may be difficult to apply these results to people of different cultures and ethnicities who have different exposure to secondhand smoke, and who are affected by other factors that could influence the risk of dementia.
The harms of passive smoking are well-established. However, whether there is a definite link between dementia as a whole (rather than a specific type of dementia) and passive smoking cannot be reliably concluded from this study.
As the researchers point out, currently 93% of the world’s population live in countries that do not have public smoking bans. Further research highlighting the potential dangers of passive smoking would be useful.

Strange week

Its been a very strange week,  being back home again, and trying to find things we have not seen since the flood in June.

Its also been difficult to sleep properly during the night as the house is so cold, as its been empty for so long without any heating.

The next door house is still a building site, as they have not even started to rebuild the house as this is possibly making our own home colder, and to make matters worse they don't seem in any hurry to start the building work.

One good thing is that I have now got my computer up and working again so I have reclaimed part of my life and I can do things like my blog which I have missed for so long.

I can also catch up with reading about dementia around the world, and would be interested to hear other peoples stories.

Thank goodness for spell check

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Rock Star's Dementia Cured

Rock Star's Dementia Cured: Dick Wagner Is Back In The Music Business

Dick Wagner, the rock star’s dementia was a mystery to him, until doctors managed to find a cure for it and get him back in tune with his guitar playing. Dick Wagner is best known as a close cohort of Alice Cooper (he co-wrote most of Cooper’s biggest hits, including ‘Welcome To My Nightmare’) and has also played lead guitar for the likes of Aerosmith and Kiss.
In 2007, however, his career hit the rocks when he suffered a stroke and a heart attack, Yahoo news reveals. “I woke up from a coma after two weeks with a paralyzed left arm,” says Wagner. Although he worked hard at rehabilitation, there was something stopping him making a full recovery. He suffered from a “mental fuzziness” as well as balance issues, which created further problems, when they caused him to fall and injure himself. In 2011, though, he was finally diagnosed with NPH (normal pressure hydrocephalus), a build up of spinal fluid in the brain’s ventricles.
NPH often mimics the symptoms of other illnesses, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. Doctor’s determined that it wasn’t the stroke that had removed his ability to play guitar, but the NPH. Now, aged 70 and living in Arizona, the effects of NOH have been reversed, with the aid of a spinal tap, to drain fluid from the brain. Doctors placed a ‘shunt’ in his head to redirect the fluid, via a tube, under the skin to his abdominal cavity, removing a small amount of fluid every day for the rest of his life. Finally, Wagner has regained the ability to play guitar and do what he loves the most. “I am like a new man almost overnight,” said the rocker.

I am amazed at this and found the article very interesting to read. I do wonder just how many people are diagnosed with dementia and then find themselves, with anther disease or illness altogether.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Nearly time to return

It seems  long time since i last posted on my blog, but i am hopeful that our telephone  and broadband will be restored again tomorrow all being well.
I have been lost without my blog as its the only thing keeping me going.

attitudes towards dementia need to change

Jeremy Hunt: attitudes towards dementia need to change

Health secretary says doctors are refusing to carry out tests because they believe it is pointless
Jeremy Hunt
Jeremy Hunt: 'It’s disgraceful that more than half of all people with dementia are not receiving a diagnosis.' Photograph: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
Doctors are refusing to carry out tests for dementia because they believe it is pointless as there is no effective cure available, health secretary Jeremy Hunt has said.
Hunt said the country should be "ashamed" that so many people were being denied treatment that could stave off the condition for years.
His comments came as the Alzheimer's Society warned dementia sufferers were facing a postcode lottery of diagnosis rates.
It released data suggesting that in some areas of the UK, as few as one in three people suffering from the condition will receive a formal diagnosis, while in other areas three quarters of sufferers will be told by a doctor about their condition.
Across the UK just 46% of sufferers were diagnosed in 2012, the society said.
Hunt said that attitudes in the NHS and in wider society had to change.
"As with cancer in the past, too many health and care professionals are not aware of the symptoms," he wrote in an article for
"Some even believe that without effective cure there's no point putting people through the anxiety of a memory test – even though drugs can help stave off the condition for several years.
"It is this grim fatalism that we need to shake off. Not just within our health service but across society as a whole.
"It can be a total nightmare getting a diagnosis – and the result is that, shockingly, only 46% of all dementia cases are identified.
"Yet with access to the right drugs and support for a partner, someone can live happily and healthily at home for much longer. We should be ashamed that we deny this to so many people in today's NHS."
The charity said that while the latest figure is an improvement on the previous year, there are still thought to be 428,500 people in the UK who have the condition but have not been diagnosed.
This means they are going without the support, benefits and the medical treatments that can help them live with the condition, charity chief executive Jeremy Hughes said.
Diagnosis rates were best in Scotland, where 64.4% of suffers were told about their condition. In Wales, just 38.5% of sufferers formally received a diagnosis in 2012.
And 44.2% of people with the condition in England were diagnosed compared with 63% in Northern Ireland.
Belfast Health and Social Care Trust provided the best diagnosis rates in 2012, with 75.5% of patients being diagnosed.
But in the East Riding of Yorkshire Primary Care Trust, just 31.6% of patients received a formal diagnosis, according to figures produced from data generated by the government's qualities and outcomes framework.
The charity has produced an interactive map highlighting the variation in dementia diagnosis across the UK.
It said that the new data also suggests that the average waiting time for an appointment at a specialist memory clinic is 32.5 working days - more than the recommended four to six weeks. Some memory clinics reported waiting times of up to nine months.
Hughes said: "It's disgraceful that more than half of all people with dementia are not receiving a diagnosis, and disappointing to see such a disparity in diagnosis rates in different regions of the UK.
"This goes against best clinical practice and is preventing people with dementia from accessing the support, benefits and the medical treatments that can help them live well with the condition.
"Studies show that an early diagnosis can save the taxpayer thousands of pounds, because it can delay someone needing care outside of their own home.
"The NHS has already made a commitment to improving diagnosis rates but more needs to be done to ensure people with dementia are able to live as well as possible with the disease."
The Alzheimer's Society estimates that 800,000 people in the UK have a form of dementia and more than half have Alzheimer's disease. The figure is estimated to rise to a million by 2021.
Initial signs of the dementia, which is caused by diseases of the brain, may include short-term memory loss that affects every day life, problems with thinking or reasoning, or unexplained anxiety, anger or depression.

Friday, 11 January 2013

Hoping for a better year

This has been a long month due to moving back home again after 6 months living in a small flat since our home was damaged in the floods of last June.

We finally got back home on Wednesday, but our boiler broke down the day before, so it’s not a good start, but we have to try to be positive.

Every one of our neighbours we talk to, is worried about more floods and its times like this that you really understand what people have gone through, when you have lost possessions and had your home damaged by a flood. I think many have been struggling with depression which is very sad. My consultant told me that if I had problems with depression since my diagnosis, this period of my life could have been disastrous.

We are still waiting for British Telecoms to connect our telephone and Internet, next Wednesday, and then I can get back to using the blog again rather than updating my laptop in noisy Pubs where I cannot concentrate

 I am hoping that this year will be more positive than the last


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