This week Oct, 21st my guest was Dr.Jonathon Woodcock from the Rocky Mountain Alzheimer’s Disease Center. We had a great chat about listener’s questions such as when is it time to see a physician about memory loss? What is normal aging, and how can we keep from overreacting when it runs in our families and we are hypersensitive to symptoms? How does DR. Woodcock break the news when the diagnosis isn’t what we want to hear? He also works in the clinic with Dr.Huntington Potter on his Leukine Study, and shares with us what his role is in this epic study.
My guest on October 15th is the awesome researcher Dr. Brianne Bettcher, PhD, Assistant Professor, Director of Neuropsychology Research at Rocky Mountain Alzheimer’s Disease Center and the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. We had a lovely conversation about some exciting research she is working on, and is looking for participants to join a clinical study she has created. Dr. Bri Bettcher would like people who are NOT SHOWING signs of memory loss to help her study aging habits of healthy adults 60 or older. She feels she can learn as much about memory loss from people who do not have Alzheimer’s as she does from people who do have Alzheimer’s. Below, Bri tells us about exactly what her study entails:
What I am working on:
- Building a healthy aging program (happy to discuss any aspect of why it is important to study aging adults with no memory symptoms)
- focused on identifying earliest changes in the brain and body that might portend future decline
- determining what individual factors offer protection against decline (e.g., what makes us resilient to decline)
- major focus on the immune system
- why it is important in normal aging and early Alzheimer’s
- how it becomes dysregulated
- at what stage it might be a focus for targeted therapeutics
- the immune system has become a very hot topic in research- one of the more highly covered areas at the recent international Alzheimer’s Conference
- New R01 study (Funded by the National Institute on Aging)
- This is a 5-year study that aims to look at the role of inflammation in the body (measured in blood) and the brain (measured in spinal fluid) on Alzheimer’s disease biology and memory function in healthy older adults.
- By looking at both blood and spinal fluid in tandem, we will be better able to understand how the immune system is changing and possibly communicating between the brain and body
- We will be recruiting 180 healthy older adults, age 60 and over to come in for an initial evaluation and a subsequent evaluation 2-years later.
- We will also be tracking immune health history factors, such as infections, surgical procedures, autoimmune conditions, etc.
- If we meet our recruitment goals, we should be able to start seeing initial results in 3-4 years.
The first study involves two research visits over the course of two years at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. Compensation provided. Procedures Include: Set of tests that assess memory, attention, behavior, and the other thinking skills. It also includes a questionnaire about your health history. A blood sample, spinal fluid sample and an MRI of your brain will also be given during the process. You may qualify if you are 60 years or older are in good health and have NOT been diagnosed with a memory disorder.
If you are interested in joining the study please contact Neurology Research Partners at 303-724-4644 or email NeurologyResearchPartners@ucdenver.edu to learn more and see if you qualify. Tell them you heard about this study on the Podcast Dementia Resilience with Jill Lorenz!
On October 14th the Strategy Show was about hypersexuality and inappropriate sexual behavior when a person is displaying dementia symptoms. How do we address these issues in a calm manner while keeping everyone safe? I have some ideas for you!
My Guest this week of October 7th is Dr. Timothy Boyd, PHD, who works at the Rocky Mountain Alzheimer’s Disease Center in Colorado. Dr. Boyd shared astonishing and hopeful findings of an exciting research trial, designed to end Alzheimer’s, this week on my show. Explaining their Leukine Trial, Boyd told my listeners that preliminary results on the first human trials of the drug “Leukine” as a treatment for Alzheimer’s have met with unexpected success. Dr. Boyd, who works with the team headed by renowned researcher Dr. Huntington Potter, shared the news with a detailing of their initial results. Essentially, the first safety trials for Leukine involved 32 people with the disease. 13 were injected with the drug itself. 19 others received a placebo, or, just plain salt water. The results were surprisingly positive. Compared to their starting place, the people who received Leukine actually improved in their cognition, as measured by the MMSE, which is the Mini Mental State Exam. And the people who received the salt water placebo stayed the same. So that means that at the end of treatment there was a big difference between the people who received Leukine and the people who received placebo. Further, the patients who did improve did so quickly. They were showing results in just a matter of three weeks, after only some 15 injections. “Alzheimer’s disease takes probably decades before it even starts to present the first signs of having any cognitive impairment,” said researcher Dr. Timothy Boyd. “So to improve cognition within only 15 days of an injection of a treatment–that is very astonishing.” And even more remarkable is that within that same period of time, the Leukine patients actually began to show some improvement in day to day activity, able to once again do things that the disease had taken from them. Listen to my interview to learn more!
On this show September 24, 2019 This was a dig deep strategy show about Hallucinations and troubling behaviors like destroying property and more. I also added ideas for enjoying Fall and different options for creating activities with our friends with diagnosis.
September 15, 2019 At the Denver Walk to End Alzheimer’s I took my producer and engineer Hank Bradshaw with me and we recorded the show at the Walk. We spoke to many families, new to the disease, seasoned caregivers, people who just recently lost a loved one and people who had family members with younger onset. I also spoke with representatives of the Denver Broncos about their involvement with the Alzheimer’s Association, specifically the CEO & President Joe Ellis and Alli Pisching from the Community Relations Department. Moving, emotional and inspiring conversations. You must Listen!
Hi Friends – Today, September 10, 2019 is a show to think about memory loss and cognitive impairment in a new way. So often we just see what the person has lost, and how we are going to work with the symptoms we see on a daily basis. What if you looked at this from the perspective of – how would you see the disease if you were looking at it through your own lenses? I have a thought provoking show to day to help enlighten us to see this world in a new light!
Today I had a wonderful coffee chat with Mary O’Hara, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with the Rocky Mountain Neurobehavioral Associates. Her knowledge of FTD gives great insight into new ways to think about communicating with someone living with this difficult disease.
1. The Work We do
RMNBA is a small private practice where we focus on support and care for those with neurological conditions. We are a team of a speech therapist, 2 social workers and a neuropsychologist. I came to this work after seeing the need for greater support for people and families living with these conditions.
2. The experience of the Person with ADRD
A person with a new diagnosis of ADRD can experience a range of emotions. For those who are aware, Often they describe a feeling of losing their sense of self, their fears about the future, the changes in their relationships, their independence, and difficulty with accepting the diagnosis and accepting help in certain areas and finding a way forward living their best life with it.
Eventually, they can no longer participate in meaningful therapy but in the early stages for someone who is struggling with the changes, it can be a place to process the changes, their grief, and try new tools to manage their anxiety, and focus on their own strengths and what remains.
It’s important to note that Some people are not aware of the changes and it can sometimes be difficult for families to navigate this.
3. The experience of the Family
Families can also experience a range of emotions- Grief, Guilt, Loss, Anger, Shame, Frustration, Fear, Sometimes resentment, stress, anxiety, depression, being overwhelmed by what to do next and how to best help. They are often faced with making difficult choices that are for the person’s wellbeing and safety but are perceived as controlling or worse heartless and cruel. They constantly are challenged with Balancing safety with independence.
Caregivers are not recognized in our society but they are lifelines for people with ADRD. There is So much we can’t see that family caregivers experience: Ambiguous Loss & Unrecognized Grief, a Chronic State of Stress, Anxiety & Loss, Blame and Anger projected at them, Every change usually means CG take on more. We also do not see the energy and thought required to:¡Keep things “Normal”, Keeping someone Safe, Staying 5 steps ahead.
Caregiver Identity Theory- The point at which the family relationship gives way to a caregiver relationship and puts the CG at risk for burn out and person at risk for NH placement.
4. Helping Families Cope
It’s so important that families know that they are not alone. There are others who understand and there are resources that can help.
Since communication changes so much, they also have to learn to speak differently. And learn not to take words/behaviors personally. They have to learn not to engage in an argument. They also need to find new tools to help stay calm in difficult moments and increase their tolerance of uncertainty, and ambiguity.
5. We also have experience supporting people/families with the more rare forms of Non-Alz Dementia such as FTD and PPA
Some symptoms include Anosognosia – (lack of awareness), Disinhibition, Apathy, Loss of Executive Function (planning, judgment, reasoning), Loss of Empathy (self-centered), Utilization Behaviors, Hyperoral Behaviors, Hypersexual Behaviors, Obsessive-Compulsive or Ritualistic Activities, Perseveration.
6. The difficulty of and importance of planning
Even though we don’t know what will change when, it’s important to think about the next level of care today. Not only does it give you more choices, its minimizes the stress of having to make decisions in an emergency.
There is LEGAL and Financial planning that includes: Power of Attorney for Health and Finance, Advanced Directives, Guardianship.
There is planning for PRACTICAL SAFETY: that might include Carry “The person I am with has AD/FTD” cards, Enroll in Safe Return ID program, Have A letter written by the neurologist, be watchful of vulnerability financially, Remove Weapons & Power Tools,Driving, Be Aware of ¡Poor Financial Judgment, ¡Financial Scams, ¡Excessive Spending, Hyperorality, Sexual Disinhibition
There is the PLAN FOR when THE PLANS need to CHANGE: Have a back up plan for meals, gatherings, outings. Identify limitations/criteria for when you need more help. Think about the next level of care today so you can access it before a crisis.
7. Tools for moving forward living with ADRD:
Reconciliation of both/and, starting a Gratitude Journal, Practice the S.T.O.P. or G.L.A.D Mindfulness Exercises, Seek Support for yourself, Self- Compassion, Continue to stay connected to favorite memories and make new ones. Be willing to try different interventions. (Don’t assume something will not work)——
8. Optimizing Brain Health
Our practice also helps people diagnosed and families include the Brain health Suggestions into their goals of care/treatment. Research has shown that staying engaged, exercising, staying social, managing mood, getting good sleep and eating well have positive effects on the brain.
Mary O’Hara, LCSW
Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Rocky Mountain Neurobehavioral Associates
3333 S. Bannock St. Suite 435
Englewood, CO 80110720.907.0420http://www.mountainneuro.com
August 27, 2019, This show tackled the subject of how to prepare and conduct a Care Plan meeting with the provider who facilitates care for your loved one. This could include the doctor, care community, home care, group home and others. I will provide practical help on the questions to ask and a comprehensive process for a productive meeting.
August 19, 2019, My guest today is Dr. Samantha Holden from University of Colorado Hospital. She is an Assistant Professor of Neurology and a highly respected physician working with Lewy Body and Parkinson’s dementia’s. We have a wonderful coffee chat about these diseases, how they are related, diagnosed and new bio markers concerning both. A fascinating conversation with an extremely talented and caring doctor!
Assistant Professor of Neurology
Director, Memory Disorders Clinic
Associate Fellowship Director, Behavioral Neurology & Neuropsychiatry
Site Co-Principal Investigator, Lewy Body Dementia Association Research Center of Excellence
University of Colorado School of Medicine