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Understanding dementia

Dementia, from the Latin demens, is a persistent disorder of the mental processes marked by memory disorders, personality changes, and impaired reasoning. It affects 47.5 million people worldwide, and there are 7.7 million new cases annually. This year’s Dementia Awareness Week (15-21 May 2016) aims to bring recognition and awareness to this neurological illness. To mark this significant event, led by Alzheimer’s Society UK, we have created a reading list of journal articles, books, and other online resources that explore the causes, treatments, and contributing factors of this debilitating disease.

Journal articles featured in this article will be free to access until 30 June 2016.

Oxford Textbook of Cognitive Neurology and Dementia, edited by Masud Husain and Jonathan M. Schott

Addressing the staggering developments in neurological practice and dementia care over recent years, this latest addition to the Oxford Textbooks in Clinical Neurology series provides an integrated overview of the latest research, with a focus on the clinical approach to the patient.

“The risk of overweight/obesity in mid-life and late life for the development of dementia: a systematic review and meta-analysis of longitudinal studies”, by Emilio Pedditizi et al.

This systematic review of studies explores whether there is a link between obesity and dementia in mid-life and later life. Intriguingly, there appears to be a positive association between obesity younger in life and later dementia – but the opposite is true in late life.

Image Credit: ‘Dementia, Woman, Talk.’ CC0 Public Domain via Pixabay.

“Parkinson’s disease dementia: a neural networks perspective”by James Gratwicke et al.

The number of people suffering from Parkinson’s disease dementia is on the rise, but the mechanisms underlying this form of dementia are unclear. This article suggests implications for therapeutic approaches based on the discovery that the condition reflects dysfunction in seven distinct brain networks.

Alzheimer’s Disease, edited by Gunhild Waldemar and Alistair Burns

Covering the core aspects of Alzheimer’s Disease in a concise, easy to read format, the latest edition of this book has seen all fourteen chapters updated, from understanding the causes of the disease, as well as pharmacological treatments and end-of-life treatments.

“Mutual gaze in Alzheimer’s disease, frontotemporal and semantic dementia couples”, by Virginia E. Sturm et al.

Mutual gaze (i.e. when two individuals make eye contact) is a building block of social behavior that may be differentially affected by these diseases. This paper studied 13 Alzheimer’s disease patients, 11 frontotemporal dementia patients, nine semantic dementia patients, and 22 normal controls as they engaged in conversations with partners about relationship conflicts.

Introduction to Clinical Neurology, by Douglas J. Gelb

This highly informative and accessible text covers a broad range of neurologic conditions, enhancing the understanding of why patients are managed in particular ways dependent on their condition, with details on the approach, examination, and interpretation of the findings in the clinical setting.

“Improving response inhibition systems in frontotemporal dementia with citalopram”, by Laura E. Hughes et al.

This study shows that boosting serotonergic transmission may help to manage disinhibition, which is a feature of behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia.

Practical Dementia Care, edited by Peter V Rabins, Constantine G Lyketsos, and Cynthia D Steele

Now in its third edition, this book continues to be an essential title for all caregivers, from nurses to psychologists, responsible for the care of individuals with dementia. Updated with the latest research, Practical Dementia Care provides a patient-centric approach to dementia care providing a wide overview of treatments, with a focus on enhancing quality of life.

“Observational cohort study: deprivation and access to anti-dementia drugs in the UK”, by Claudia Cooper et al.

In this study, Cooper, et al. investigate whether four years after the English National Dementia Strategy was created if access to anti-dementia drugs in the UK has improved. Has the strategies’ key objective of reducing treatment inequalities been achieved?

Mental Health in Older Age – Infographic

Population growth and change pose new challenges for ensuring that people have healthy and happy lives in older age. Mental health involves different issues at different life-stages, but contrary to popular opinion, research has shown that older people are generally as satisfied with their lives as younger people.

Featured image credit: ‘Photo, Photographer, Old’ by jarmoluk. CC0 Public Domain via Pixabay.

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