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May 28, 2014
American Journal of Alzheimer's Disease and Other Dementias February 2014
The Impact of Volunteer Mentoring Schemes on
Carers of People With Dementia and Volunteer Mentors
A Systematic Review
This systematic review
aims to examine the differences and similarities between the various types of
volunteer mentoring (befriending, mentoring and peer support) and to identify
the benefits for carers and volunteers. Literature searching was performed
using 8 electronic databases, gray literature, and reference list searching of
relevant systematic reviews. Searches were carried out in January 2013. Four
studies fitted the inclusion criteria, with 3 investigating peer support and 1
befriending for carers. Quantitative findings highlighted a weak but
statistically significant (P
=.04) reduction in depression after 6 months of befriending. Qualitative
findings highlighted the value carers placed on the volunteer mentors’
experiential similarity. Matching was not essential for the development of
successful volunteer mentoring relationships. In conclusion, the lack of need
for matching and the importance of experiential similarity deserve further
investigation. However, this review highlights a lack of demonstrated efficacy
of volunteer mentoring for carers of people with dementia.
Registration of Alzheimer’s Disease in Taiwan
Patient and Informant
Background: To obtain updated data of patients with
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and their informants in Taiwan with the aim of
fostering and supporting collaborative research.
Conclusion: We have reported the updated status of AD
in Taiwan through a UDS that will foster future collaboration among countries
using UDS. The updated information of patients with AD and their informants
will direct the future care of AD in Taiwan.
Change and Predictors of Change in Social Skills of
Nursing Home Residents With Dementia
Background Social skills are of primary importance
for those with dementia and their care providers, yet we know little about the
extent to which basic social skills can be maintained over time and the
predictors of change.
Conclusions Social skills appear to present an
opportunity to maintain interaction with these residents. The findings also
suggest that a focus on the present orientation before and following admission
and on staff-to-resident communication may be beneficial.
A Pilot of an Intervention Delivered to Chinese- and
Spanish-Speaking Carers of People With Dementia in Australia
There are limited
language- and culture-specific support programs for carers of people with
dementia living in Australia. A group intervention for use with Chinese and
Spanish speakers in the United States was adapted to the Australian context,
and a pilot study was undertaken with these 2 communities. The intervention is
based on a cognitive behavioral therapy approach and was delivered by bilingual
health professionals. The adapted material comprised 7 sessions, spanning 2
hours in duration. All 22 participants completed the Depression Anxiety and Stress
Scale—Short form (DASS-21) pre- and postintervention. A significant
decrease in depression, anxiety, and stress was observed among Spanish
speakers; a significant decrease in depression and anxiety was present among
the Chinese speakers. The implications are considered in the context of
Australia’s changing aged care service system.
Serum Folic Acid and RFC
A80G Polymorphism in Alzheimer’s Disease and Vascular Dementia
Low level of vitamin B12
and folic acid has been reported to play an important role in the pathogenesis
of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and vascular dementia (VaD). Serum folic acid and
vitamin B12 were assayed in 80 AD and 50 VaD cases and in 120
healthy controls. The reduced folate carrier (RFC1) gene, rs1051266, which encodes the RFC
1, protein was analyzed for polymorphism by polymerase chain
reaction–restriction fragment length polymorphism. It was observed that the
patients having folic acid <8.45 ng/mL had 2.4 (95% confidence interval [CI]:
1.4-4.5) times higher odds of having AD and 2.1 (95% CI: 1.1-4.2) times higher
odds of having VaD than patients having folic acid ≥8.45
ng/mL. Serum vitamin B12 level did not show any such statistically
significant effect in altering the odds. No direct association was found
between variant (G) allele or genotype of rs1051266 with AD and VaD cases. On
serum folate level no association was observed with gene polymorphism.
Hippocampal and Mesial Temporal Sclerosis in Early-Onset
Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration Versus Alzheimer’s Disease
(HS) and mesial temporal sclerosis (MTS) may occur with frontotemporal lobar
degeneration (FTLD) and Alzheimer’s disease (AD) as well as with normal aging.
Prior studies suggest that HS/MTS may be more closely associated with FTLD but
have not directly compared the prevalence and clinical characteristics of
HS/MTS between neuropathologically confirmed early-onset (age ≤ 65) cohorts of
FTLD and AD. We identified patients with early-onset FTLD (n = 136) and AD (n =
267) from National Alzheimer’s Center Consortium databases and compared
neuropathological and clinical data between these 2 groups. The FTLD group had
a significantly higher prevalence of HS/MTS than that of the AD group. However,
HS/MTS was associated with increasing age and memory impairment in the AD group
but not in the FTLD group. These findings are consistent with the hypothesis
that HS/MTS in FTLD occurs as part of the primary pathological process, rather
than as a secondary, nonspecific effect of aging on memory and hippocampal
Global Long Interspersed Nuclear Element 1 DNA
Methylation in a Colombian Sample of Patients With Late-Onset Alzheimer’s
Alterations in DNA
methylation have implicated as an epigenetic event in the pathogenesis of
late-onset Alzheimer’s disease (LOAD). The objective of this work was to
evaluate global DNA methylation levels for long interspersed nuclear element 1
(LINE-1) repetitive sequences in Colombian patients with LOAD and controls. The
LINE-1 DNA methylation levels in peripheral blood samples from 28 Colombian
patients with LOAD and 30 healthy participants were assessed using a
methylation-sensitive high-resolution melting (MS-HRM) quantitative assay. We
did not find differences in LINE-1 methylation levels between patients with
Alzheimer’s disease (AD; median 76.2%, interquartile range [IQR]: 69.8-81.9)
and control participants (median 79.8%, IQR: 73.2-83.8; P = .3). Additional
stratified analyses did not show differences in LINE-1 methylation levels for
male or female patients versus controls nor for apolipoprotein E4 carriers and
noncarriers. This is the first report of LINE-1 methylation levels in patients
with LOAD using the cost-effective MS-HRM technique, and this is the first
global DNA methylation study in Latin American patients with AD.
Cerebrospinal Fluid Apolipoprotein E Concentration and
Severity of Cognitive Impairment in Patients With Newly Diagnosed Alzheimer’s
Background/Objective: Apolipoprotein E (apoE) plays an important
role in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Altered cerebrospinal
fluid (CSF) and plasma levels have been previously reported in patients with
AD. We hypothesized that CSF apoE levels of patients with newly diagnosed AD
might be associated with their cognitive performance.
Conclusion: The CSF apoE appears not to be suitable as
a biochemical surrogate of cognitive function in AD under the given
circumstances. By means of longitudinal analyses, potential associations with
the velocity of decline will be investigated in the near future.
Importance of Hypertension and Social Isolation in
Causing Sleep Disruption in Dementia
This study aimed to
determine the effects of diabetes mellitus (DM), hypertension (HT), heart
disease, social isolation, and sociodemographic factors on sleep in the elderly
patients with dementia. Samples included 1210 noninstitutionalized, Malaysian
elderly patients with dementia. The multiple logistic regression analysis was
applied to estimate the risk of sleep disturbances among respondents.
Approximately 41% of the patients experienced sleep problems. The results
showed that age (odds ratio [OR] = 1.02), social isolation (OR = 1.33), and HT
(OR = 1.53) significantly increased sleep disruption in respondents (P <.05). Furthermore,
education (OR =.63) and non-Malay ethnicity (OR = 0.63) significantly decreased
sleep problems (P
<.05). It was found that DM, heart disease, sex differences, and marital
status were not significant predictors of sleep disturbances (P >.05). It was
concluded that age, social isolation, and HT increased sleep disruption but
education and ethnic non-Malay reduced the risk of sleep problems. Moreover, HT
was the most important variable to increase sleep disturbances in the elderly
patients with dementia.
Linking Family Dynamics and the Mental Health of
Colombian Dementia Caregivers
quantitative, self-report study examined the relationship between family
dynamics (cohesion, flexibility, pathology/ functioning, communication, family
satisfaction, and empathy) and mental health (depression, burden, stress, and
satisfaction with life [SWL]) in 90 dementia caregivers from Colombia.
Hierarchical multiple regressions controlling for caregiver demographics found
that family dynamics were significantly associated with caregiver depression,
stress, and SWL and marginally associated with burden. Within these
regressions, empathy was uniquely associated with stress; flexibility with
depression and marginally with SWL; and family communication marginally with
burden and stress. Nearly all family dynamic variables were bivariately
associated with caregiver mental health variables, such that caregivers had
stronger mental health when their family dynamics were healthy. Family-systems
interventions in global regions with high levels of familism like that in the
current study may improve family empathy, flexibility, and communication,
thereby producing better caregiver mental health and better informal care for
people with dementia.
Serum Trace Metal Levels in Alzheimer’s Disease and Normal
Objective: To determine whether serum trace metals
are related to abnormal cognition in Alzheimer’s disease (AD).
Conclusions: In this study, serum Pb, Cd, Hg, and As
levels were not directly related to abnormal cognition in AD. Serum Pb levels
were significantly negatively correlated with verbal memory scores.
The Bedford Alzheimer Nursing-Severity Scale to
Assess Dementia Severity in Advanced Dementia
A Nonparametric Item Response Analysis and a Study of Its Psychometric
The Bedford Alzheimer
Nursing-Severity Scale (BANS-S) assesses disease severity in patients with
advanced Alzheimer's disease. Since Alzheimer is a progressive disease,
studying the hierarchy of the items in the scale can be useful to evaluate the
progression of the disease. Data from 164 Alzheimer's patients and 186 patients
with other dementia were analyzed using the Mokken Scaling Methodology to
determine whether respondents can be ordered in the trait dementia severity,
and to study whether an ordering between the items exist. The scalability of
the scale was evaluated by the H coefficient. Results showed that the BANS-S is
a reliable and medium scale (0.4≤H<0.5) for the Alzheimer group. All items
with the exception of the item about mobility could be ordered. When later item
was eliminated from the scale, the H coefficient decreased indicating that the
scalability of the scale in the original form is more accurate than in the
shorter version. For the other dementia group, the BANS-S did not fit any of the
Mokken Scaling models because the scale was not unidimensional. In this group,
a shorter version of the scale without the sleeping cycle item and the mobility
item has better reliability and scalability properties than the original scale.
Related Genes and Potential Biomarkers for Early
Diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease
A Preliminary Study Based on DNA Microarray
Aim: The aim of this study is to extend our
understanding of the molecular mechanism of Alzheimer’s disease (AD).
Conclusion: The DEGs including CCKAR might be used as
biomarkers for early diagnosis of AD. However, further experimental studies are
needed to confirm our results.