Saturday, 28 November 2015

Letting this blog go now

I am letting this blog go now.

This is for various reasons, one of which is that I am being transferred to another larger hospital for the diagnosis to be completed, after problems with one of the doctors who could not be bothered to go through her reasons for her rediagognisis, and would not answer my wife's questions.

I am now under a top specialist at a different hospital, but I am prepared for the diagnosis to be changed to mild cognitive impairment, if it goes that way, because they are taking the time to explain things properly and that means a lot these days.
They treat people with dignity and respect.

I may not have a dementia, but I know that my short term memory is rubbish, and I just have to move on.

However since my chest infections kicked in again 8 weeks ago, I have since been diagnosed with COPD, Chronic Pulmonary Obstructive Disease, and have therefore decided to take things easy and try to get myself sorted out

This has also caused extra problems with my thinking. planning and memory, but I just have to try to do what I can to remain active.

This will allow me to slow down and enjoy my family, rather than being involved in dementia projects etc which have taken up most of my time over the last few years.

Besides which the constant coughing is a distraction at times, and can be upsetting when people keep looking at you. 

I will also wait for the hospital tests to be completed, so that I can get the correct diagnosis about my memory. This will be sorted out sometime after Christmas but at least I know that something is happening.
I am leaving this blog on line so that earlier pages can still be looked at, but I would like to thank you all for your support over the years.

I will also keep in touch once the final diagnosis comes through after Christmas 

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

RIP Peter Ashley Dear Friend and Mentor

Yesterday I heard the very sad news, that my old friend and mentor Peter Ashley had passed away.

Peter was a loving father, husband mad friend to hundreds of people, and I was honoured to meet him, and call him a friend.

I knew Peter had been ill, but I guess that my attention had been on my continuous chest infection problems over the last few months, and then being diagnosed with COPD.

I first met Peter around 2005 after my diagnosis of Lewy body Dementia. I had been in the local Alzheimer's Society Office and the manager had spoken to me about an event which was being run in Newcastle upon Tyne.

This was the first UK Convention for people with Dementia. I confess that at first I thought it was going to be run for and by professionals, but was very surprised to see people like Peter, Trevor Jarvis and James McKillop on stage talking about living well with Dementia.

I confess that it was a shock to hear so many people with the illness standing up and talking about their lives and hobbies, but then this was my first dementia conference. 
From that day on I was hooked, and became a volunteer and campaigner with the Alzheimer's Society.

From then on I met Peter at many events including the Living with dementia working group, and got to know him very well.

Although Peter was a dedicated speaker and advocate for those with dementia, he did not take prisoners, when it came to professionals trying to speak down to those living with the illness.

How he managed to store and remember all of the information I will never know, because I always had problems fully understanding questions, before I could answer them, but he just carried on regardless.

Over the years I saw the different sides of Peter, and found that he had a very funny side which some people never saw. 

Like many people I will miss him quite a lot, and meetings and conferences  will never be the same without him.

My thoughts are with His wife Ann and his family

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Alzheimer's disease: Online brain training 'improves daily lives of over-60s'

From the Daily Telegraph

Alzheimer's disease: Online brain training 'improves daily lives of over-60s'

Researchers discover that cognitive training can help with tasks such as using public transport, shopping, cooking and managing finances

After six months the over-60s who took part in the brain training were found to have significant improvements in carrying out daily tasks 

Playing online games that exercise reasoning and memory skills could have major benefits for older people, a wide-scale study has found.

Researchers at King's College London discovered that mental exercises, or"brain training", can improve people's everyday lives, helping with tasks such as using public transport, shopping, cooking and managing personal finances.

Almost 7,000 people over the age of 50 were recruited from the public through the BBC, Alzheimer's Society and the Medical Research Council to take part in the six-month experiment.

Some participants were encouraged to play a 10-minute brain-training package as often as they wished.

The package comprised three reasoning tasks, such as balancing weights on a see-saw, and three problem-solving tasks, such as putting numbered tiles in numerical order.

Volunteers completed cognitive tests, including assessments of grammatical reasoning and memory, before the study began and again after six weeks, three months and six months.
Those over 60 also carried out tests of daily living skills, such as using the telephone or doing shopping.

After six months, the over-60s who took part in the brain training were found to have significant improvements in carrying out daily tasks, while those over the age of 50 recorded better reasoning and verbal learning.

The improvements were most effective when people played brain-training games at least five times a week.

Some participants were encouraged to play a 10-minute brain-training package as often as they wished  An earlier study by the same researchers suggested that such exercises offered no benefits for those younger than 50.

Last month, scientists in California and Berlin spoke out against the brain-training industry, saying there is "little evidence that playing brain games improves underlying broad cognitive abilities, or that it enables one to better navigate a complex realm of everyday life".
But other research has shown some promise for brain training in improving memory, though these small-scale studies have been inconclusive.
Scientists have also shown that people who have complex occupations or stimulate their brains with activities such as crosswords, puzzles and learning new skills throughout life tend to have lower rates of dementia.

"The online package could be accessible to large numbers of people, which could also have considerable benefits for public health across the UK"
Dr Anne Corbett

The research team believe the new study could be important for preserving mental functions in older people and help reduce the risk of decline of cognitive functions in later life.
Dr Anne Corbett, from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience at King's College London, said: "The impact of a brain training package such as this one could be extremely significant for older adults who are looking for a way to proactively maintain their cognitive health as they age.
"The online package could be accessible to large numbers of people, which could also have considerable benefits for public health across the UK.
"Our research adds to growing evidence that lifestyle interventions may provide a more realistic opportunity to maintain cognitive function, and potentially reduce the risk of cognitive decline later in life, particularly in the absence of any drug treatments to prevent dementia."
The research team believe the new study could be important for preserving mental functions in older people  Photo: Alamy
Dr Doug Brown, from the Alzheimer's Society, said: "Online brain training is rapidly growing into a multimillion-pound industry and studies like this are vital to help us understand what these games can and cannot do.
"While this study wasn't long enough to test whether the brain-training package can prevent cognitive decline or dementia, we're excited to see that it can have a positive impact on how well older people perform essential everyday tasks."

Further studies of the impact of long-term brain training are now beginning.

The research was published in the Journal of the American Medical Directors Association.

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Weather changes again

I guess the weather has changed again, because the chest infections have started all over again.

It all started three weeks ago and up till earlier this week I was on my second course of antibiotics, but it did not clear.
I had sent to sputum test in, and had an X-ray to see if there was a deep seated problem as this keeps getting worse every year.

Even the asthma test was well down, compared to where it should be, but that's been dropping every year.

Today I returned to see our new family doctor after the last chest X-ray, and was told that it was COPD, Chronic Obstructive Pulmanary Disease.
I knew that after years of working in industry my lungs were not working as they should have been, but you never really think of things like this when you are young, and regulations have changed quite a lot over the last 20 years. 

But after struggling with chest problems since being a child, it now explains most of my problems.

I have had quite a few chest X-rays over the last few years, but now I have been told that most of my chest pain is from a cracked  rib that must have gone undiagnosed over the years. 

I  am confused as to when this happened, but none of the previous X-rays have shown this up before, and I know that I have not had a serious fall for years. 

It's amazing as this new doctor is only part time, because he also works in a hospital, but he obviously knew more about this condition than we had realised. 

Thinking back to our last holiday, I remembered that I had to use my inhalers on the flight out to Turkey and back, but never put two and two together until we spoke about it at home today.

So this may mean changes to future holidays, but I am not worried about that, I will take things as they come. 

My medication has now changed to support the COPD, and I have another set of antibiotics and steroids to get me through the next 12 days. Then I have a review with my family doctor again, so he can see if the chest infection has cleared.

I then return to see the chest consultant at Sunderland general hospital in ten days. My wife had a telephone call from the speech therapist at the same department to the specialist, and she confirmed that they thought I either had or was heading for COPD, when I saw them earlier in June. 
So perhaps I will get told how to change my life stile when I see him.

I am feeling a lot better today, but I know that  it's going to take time and things will have to change. But I am positive  

Does the NHS really understand Dementia

Many people struggle with daily problems, while trying to manage the ever changing, things in life like technology which they may or may no...