Alzheimer’s in women: Could midlife stress play a role?

For reasons as yet unknown, Alzheimer’s disease is more likely to affect women. However, new research sheds light on the potential impact of stress on their cognitive functioning.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia.

Affecting millions of people in the United States, this progressive condition has no proven cause, treatment, or cure.

What researchers do know, however, is that women bear the brunt of the condition.

Almost two-thirds of U.S. individuals with Alzheimer’s are women, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.

Full story at Medical News Today

Lowering blood pressure may help cut risk of early dementia, study finds

Drastically lowering blood pressure may help protect memory and thinking skills later in life, researchers reported Monday — the first hopeful sign that it’s possible to lower rates of mental decline.

The large blood pressure study looked at more than 9,000 people over the age of 50 years old found that those who lowered their blood pressure to 120 — the top number, or systolic blood pressure — were 19 percent less likely to develop mild cognitive impairment, the loss of memory and brain processing power that usually precedes Alzheimer’s disease. The results of the study, called Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial, or SPRINT, were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

It has long been known that aggressively lowering blood pressure can benefit those at high risk for heart disease, but this is the first time that the intervention has been shown to also help brain health.

Full story at NBC News

Antiepileptic drugs increase risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia

The use of antiepileptic drugs is associated with an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, according to a new study from the University of Eastern Finland and the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases, DZNE. Continuous use of antiepileptic drugs for a period exceeding one year was associated with a 15 percent increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease in the Finnish dataset, and with a 30 percent increased risk of dementia in the German dataset.

Some antiepileptic drugs are known to impair cognitive function, which refers to all different aspects of information processing. When the researchers compared different antiepileptic drugs, they found that the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia was specifically associated with drugs that impair cognitive function. These drugs were associated with a 20 percent increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease and with a 60 percent increased risk of dementia.

The researchers also found that the higher the dose of a drug that impairs cognitive function, the higher the risk of dementia. However, other antiepileptic drugs, i.e. those which do not impair cognitive processing, were not associated with the risk.

Full story at Science Daily

Quantum Units Education: New CEU Courses

Supporting Service Providers in Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect

Focusing on protective factors is critical and sorely needed for the prevention of child maltreatment and promotion of child and family well-being.  This CEU course provides information to help service providers and others concerned about the health and well-being of children to understand child abuse and neglect, its effects, and what each person can do to address it when it occurs.

Environmental Design for People with Dementia Nearing End of Life

The design of environments in which people with dementia live should be understandable, reinforce personal identity, and maintain their ability.  This CEU course explores the view of people with dementia, family carers, and professionals on what aspects of the physical environment would be important to support good quality of life to the very end.

Promoting Best Practice and Safety Through Preprinted Physician Orders

This CEU course explores the potential of preprinted physician orders to improve interdisciplinary integration in care, promote accurate communication, and reduce variation by combining pertinent reminders, safety alerts, and “best practice” into a just-in-time process.

LGBTQ Youth, YMSM and YWSW Who Engage in Survival Sex

This CEU course describes and quantifies the sexual and physical health outcomes among LGBTQ youth, YMSM, and YWSW engaged in survival sex; assesses how many are using and abusing alcohol and drugs; and details youths’ access to and interactions with treatment and service providers.

Principles of Substance Abuse Prevention for Early Childhood

While substance use generally begins during the adolescent years, there are known biological, psychological, social, and environmental factors that contribute to the risks that begin accumulating as early as the prenatal period.  This CEU course provides the specific ways in which early interventions can have positive effects on development and gives an overview of child development from the prenatal period through age 8, along with the factors that either place a child at risk for later substance use or offer protection against that risk.

For more information on these new courses and many more, visit Quantum Units Education

Fewer Nursing Home Residents Taking Antipsychotic Drugs, Report Finds

Fewer long-term nursing home residents are taking antipsychotic medications, compared with 2011, according to a new government report. The decrease came after a campaign that targeted overprescribing, according to The Hill.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services report found 18.7 percent of long-stay nursing home residents received an antipsychotic medication in the first quarter of 2015, compared with 23.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011.

In March, a report by the Government Accountability Office found evidence of widespread overuse of antipsychotic drugs by the elderly with dementia. The report called on Medicare to take immediate steps to reduce unnecessary prescriptions.

Full story of nursing homes taking antipsychotic drugs at drugfree.org