March 18, 2020

Today's Top Alzheimer's News


A March 17, 2020 NY 1 Spectrum News article spoke with Alzheimer’s Foundation of America lead Charles Fuschillo, Jr. about the potential impacts of coronavirus on people living with Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia, and their family members. Fuschillo highlighted the dangers of isolation and the importance of virtual programs to keep people engaged, both in nursing homes and at home, and the continued availability of helplines. According to Fuschillo, responding to a question about staying in contact with loved ones in nursing homes, “We still have to understand that the best way to prevent the spread of this illness is to limit and avoid exposure. What we are telling them is to communicate by telephone or FaceTime or Skype.”


A March 18, 2020 Harvard Medical School article looked at best ways to treat depression and anxiety in people who are living with dementia. According to the article, “Although many doctors prescribe antidepressants as a first-line treatment, guidelines do not suggest the routine treatment of depression and anxiety with antidepressants in people living with dementia.” Weill Cornell Institute of Geriatric Psychiatry researchers employed a new home-delivered therapy called PATH (Problem Adaptation Therapy) to study participants with MCI or dementia and depression. The PATH intervention teaches problem solving to counteract sadness, helps to develop a plan to avoid negative situations and trigger positive emotions, and generates calendars and checklists to compensate for memory loss.

According to a March 17, 2020 Physicians Weekly article, a new survey of American Society of Anesthesiology members found that few US anesthesiologists report preoperative screening for dementia, or postoperative screening for delirium, among older adults. Respondents prioritized developing practice guidelines for geriatric anesthesia care, and expansion of web-based resources. “Patients with cognitive impairment and frailty can have better recovery and fewer complications if the condition is recognized and used to tailor their perioperative care,” said Stacie Deiner, MD of Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.


A February 26, 2020 Next Avenue article looked at applying the Montessori method of teaching to people with dementia both in residential and home-based settings. The method stresses self-directed, meaningful activities based on a person’s interests, as opposed to completing tasks. According to the article, “When people apply the Montessori principles, it’s not only the right thing to do but provides a better quality of life for everyone — residents, staff and managers. It’s a great business model, too. Aspen Ridge Memory Care in Bend, where residents make beer, has a waiting list.”