Alzheimer's Therapies Unproven, but Patient Respect Goes a Long Way

May 19, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Therapies to prevent or slow Alzheimer's disease - including mental stimulation, exercise, and dietary supplements - have not been demonstrated to work, according to an independent panel of the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

"We wish we could tell people that taking a pill or doing a puzzle every day would prevent this terrible disease," panel chair Dr. Martha Daviglus of Northwestern University in Chicago said, "but current evidence doesn't support this."

While the cause of the disease is not known, certain have been associated with a higher risk, such as diabetes, depression, smoking, and certain .

Despite the uncertainty, the Health Care Council of Illinois recommends a few ways to connect with people who have Alzheimer's:

• Use short, simple sentences.

• Be patient. It may take up to 45 seconds for someone with Alzheimer's to process information and respond.

• Ask specific rather than open-ended questions. Instead of, "What do you want for lunch?" try "Would you like chicken or beef?"

• Minimize distractions. Turn off the TV or radio when the person has to concentrate.

• Don't quiz with questions like "Who am I?" or "What day is this?" and don't constantly remind them of unpleasant memories such as a spouse's death. This may only cause frustration and .

• Follow old, reassuring routines.

• Be respectful. Even people with can tell when they're talked down to.

• Plan activities that spark reminiscence. Use favorite subjects like sports or cooking.

Explore further: Ivory Coast closes borders with Ebola-hit neighbours

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Having a parent with dementia may affect memory in midlife

Feb 18, 2009

People who have parents diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease or dementia may be more likely to have memory loss themselves in middle age, according to a study released today that will be presented at the American Academy of ...

Statins may protect against memory loss

Jul 28, 2008

People at high risk for dementia who took cholesterol-lowering statins are half as likely to develop dementia as those who do not take statins, a new study shows.

Recommended for you

Ivory Coast closes borders with Ebola-hit neighbours

48 minutes ago

The Ivory Coast has closed its borders with Ebola-hit Guinea and Liberia in a bid to protect citizens against an epidemic that has killed 1,427 people across West Africa, the prime minister said Saturday.

How the world is underestimating Ebola: WHO

9 hours ago

The Ebola epidemic tearing through western Africa is by far the deadliest known outbreak of the disease, yet the magnitude of the spread is believed to be severely underestimated.

Last Ebola-free region of Liberia falls to virus

9 hours ago

Every region of Liberia has now been hit by Ebola, officials said Friday, as the World Health Organization warned the fight against the worst-ever outbreak of the killer disease would take months.

Ebola death toll rises to 1,427: WHO

20 hours ago

The death toll from the Ebola outbreak sweeping through west African countries has risen to 1,427 out of more than 2,600 cases, the World Health Organization said Friday.

User comments : 0