Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease can be emotionally challenging, especially when they experience agitation. Agitation is a common symptom of Alzheimer’s and can manifest as restlessness, pacing, aggression, or verbal outbursts. Witnessing your loved one in distress can be distressing for you as well. However, there are strategies and approaches you can employ to help manage and alleviate their agitation.
Here are some tips to assist you in supporting your loved one through this difficult time.
Identify triggers: Observe your loved one’s behavior and try to identify patterns or triggers that may lead to agitation. It could be certain activities, environments, or even specific times of the day. By recognizing these triggers, you can take steps to avoid or modify them, thereby reducing the likelihood of agitation.
Maintain a calm environment: Create a peaceful and soothing atmosphere for your loved one. Minimize noise, bright lights, and other sensory distractions that can contribute to agitation. Consider playing soft music or introducing familiar scents to promote relaxation.
Stick to a routine: Establishing a consistent daily routine can provide a sense of security and predictability for someone with Alzheimer’s. Help your loved one maintain regular sleep patterns, meals, and activities. Sudden changes or disruptions to their routine can increase agitation.
Practice effective communication: When interacting with your loved one, use simple and clear language. Speak slowly and calmly, maintaining eye contact. Avoid arguing or correcting them if they are confused or agitated. Instead, offer reassurance and validation of their feelings.
Engage in calming activities: Engaging your loved one in activities that they enjoy and find calming can help redirect their focus and reduce agitation. This could include listening to soothing music, doing puzzles, or going for a gentle walk together. Adjust the activities based on their abilities and interests.
Ensure physical comfort: Discomfort or pain can exacerbate agitation. Make sure your loved one is comfortable by addressing their physical needs. Check for hunger, thirst, or discomfort due to temperature. Regular exercise and massage can also promote relaxation and reduce restlessness.
Seek professional help: If agitation becomes persistent or unmanageable, it’s important to consult a healthcare professional. They can evaluate your loved one’s condition and suggest appropriate interventions or medications, if necessary. Additionally, support groups or counseling services can provide you with valuable guidance and emotional support throughout the caregiving journey.
Remember, caring for someone with Alzheimer’s requires patience and understanding. While you cannot eliminate agitation entirely, implementing these strategies can help alleviate your loved one’s distress and improve their quality of life. Don’t forget to prioritize self-care as well, as maintaining your own well-being is crucial in providing the best possible care for your loved one.
Recent advances in medical accessibility, technology, and treatment have increased the average human life expectancy, while at the same time, increasing the risk for neurodegenerative diseases and other disorders – including stroke.
According to the CDC, nearly 800,000 people in the United States suffer a stroke each year, with 87% of these strokes being ischemic strokes. An ischemic stroke is a medical emergency that occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is reduced or interrupted. Without the ability to deliver oxygen or nutrients, brain cells begin to die in a matter of minutes.
Even when identified and treated early, the lasting, long-term effects associated with stroke result in economic and social costs for patients, their families, and society in general. As an example, the CDC estimates that stroke-related costs, including those associated with healthcare and missed days of work, exceed $50 billion dollars in the U.S. each year.
While medical research continues to search for ways to prevent stroke by addressing underlying causes, primary stroke treatment continues to focus on managing stroke progression while also treating related symptoms.
Recently regenerative medicine, also known as stem cell therapy, along with rehabilitation therapy has been presented as an effective stroke treatment. In this review, Berlet, et al. explore the potential synergistic outcomes of stroke treatment observed when combining current advances in stem cell research with known stroke rehabilitation strategies. The authors also review research while considering the advantages and disadvantages of using the combination of stem cell transplantation and rehabilitation as a way to mitigate the devastating effects of stroke.
Combining stem cell treatment with rehabilitation therapy and outside strategies, such as an enriched environment (EE) may enhance functional stroke recovery and allow for an ideal long-term therapy for stroke patients. With the goal of enhanced brain plasticity, these therapies aim to introduce intrinsic or extrinsic stimuli to assist with the reorganization of the brain’s structure, functions, and connections.
The human brain has been demonstrated to be more plastic after experiencing an injury. With EE promoting improved stem cell survival and migration, and stem cell therapy creating the potential for an extended window of treatment, the combination is viewed as a potentially effective therapy when combined.
Preclinical experimentation has demonstrated stem cell therapies to be effective days after an ischemic stroke occurs, providing a very important window of time for critical stroke treatment to occur. While this is certainly promising information, the authors also point out that there has been a disappointing and frustrating disconnect between these preclinical findings and what is observed in clinical experimentation.
Considering this, the authors identify determining the optimal clinical stem cell route of administration, dosage, and timing as key areas of study to better understand – and maximize – the therapeutic potential of stem cells in the treatment of ischemic stroke.
While Berlet et al. calls for additional research into the ideal route of stem cell administration, type dosage, and timing to further confirm the efficacy of stem cell transplantation for the treatment of ischemic stroke, the authors conclude that the addition of stem cell therapy to rehabilitation has significant potential to create a conducive host microenvironment to facilitate the repair process.
Living an active lifestyle is important for individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS) as it can help manage symptoms, improve overall well-being, and maintain physical function.
Regular physical activity can help manage the symptoms associated with MS, such as fatigue, muscle weakness, spasticity, and balance issues. It has been shown to reduce fatigue and improve mood, leading to an overall enhanced sense of well-being. By engaging in regular exercise, individuals with MS can preserve and improve their physical function, including muscle strength, flexibility, and endurance.
What Are Some Activities?
Aerobic exercises, like walking or cycling, can improve cardiovascular fitness and reduce the risk of heart disease. Balance and coordination can be affected by MS, increasing the risk of falls. However, participating in activities that promote balance and coordination, such as yoga or tai chi, can enhance stability and reduce the risk of falls.
Regular physical activity also supports cognitive function, as it has been associated with improved memory, attention, and processing speed. Additionally, exercise can help manage weight, improve body composition, and promote a healthier overall body composition.
Include strength training exercises to improve muscle strength and tone. Work with a physical therapist or fitness professional to develop a safe and effective strength training program. Focus on major muscle groups, using resistance bands, free weights, or weight machines.
The social aspect of staying active is also beneficial, as it provides opportunities for social interaction, participation in group exercise classes, and joining support groups. This social connection can positively impact mental well-being and help individuals cope with the challenges of living with MS.
Be Sure to Stay Safe
Be adaptable as needed if certain exercises or movements are challenging due to MS symptoms. Adapt them to your abilities. For example, use assistive devices, modify the range of motion, or try seated exercises if necessary.
Start with realistic goals and gradually increase the intensity and duration of your activities. It is important that you listen to your body and know your limits. Pay attention to how your body feels during and after exercise. If you experience excessive fatigue, pain, or worsening of symptoms, adjust the intensity or take breaks as needed. It’s essential to strike a balance between staying active and allowing for proper rest and recovery.
Ultimately, staying active can increase resilience, enhance the quality of life, and empower individuals to feel in control of their health and well-being. Consult with a healthcare professional before starting any exercise regimen, preferably one experienced in working with MS patients. They can provide personalized guidance based on your specific condition and abilities.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a chronic inflammatory lung disease that causes obstructed airflow from the lungs. Affecting an estimated 15 million people in the United States alone, COPD is characterized by progressively worsening symptoms, including breathing difficulty, cough, mucus (sputum) production, and wheezing, and is most often the result of prolonged exposure to cigarette smoke.
Not just an issue for those in the U.S., COPD has been demonstrated to be a preventable and treatable global health challenge. With an estimated 3.5 million worldwide deaths attributed to COPD each year, the disease is currently the third leading cause of death.
While there have been medical advances in the treatment of COPD, these therapies focus primarily on symptomatic relief and not the reversal of lung function deterioration or improvement in patients’ quality of life.
Since stem cells are known to differentiate into a wide variety of cell types and have been previously used to regenerate lung parenchyma and airway structure, they are believed to be an evolving and promising therapeutic treatment option for those with COPD.
Supported by extensive studies exploring the mechanism of stem cells in the regulation of COPD, experts have demonstrated that stem cells possess multidirectional differentiation potential and are able to differentiate into specific forms of alveolar epithelial cells (type I and/or type II) and participate into the repair of lung tissue structure.
In this review, Chen et al. summarize the most relevant findings of eight clinical trials that explore the treatment of COPD with mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs).
Examining the different types of MSCs used for these clinical trials, the authors conclude that while all types of MSCs have benefits in this application, AD-MSCs and UC-MSCs are very promising, primarily because the source is easily available; additionally, the process of collecting UC-MSCs is non-invasive. Looking at trends in recent clinical trials, the authors find a general increase in the shift toward using AD-MSCS and UC-MSCs and away from BM-MSCs, primarily for the reasons mentioned previously.
Analyzing results of these clinical trials related to mode, schedule, and dosage of administration, the authors found that stem cells administered intravenously into the body concentrated in the lungs for thirty minutes before gradually migrating to the liver; the inability of stem cells to keep stem cells in the lungs for a longer period of time was noted as a potential barrier that could limit the effectiveness of stem cell therapy for this condition.
To address this concern, the authors recommend adjusting the schedule and/or mode of administration, indicating that prior research suggests multiple doses and administration via airway injection using a bronchoscope is a good way to deliver stem cells directly to the lungs.
Chen et al. found that regardless of what type of MSCs and what mode of administration was used, stem cell therapy for the management of COPD has been proven to be safe and without evidence of any adverse events. However, only 2 of the eight clinical trials evaluated for this review demonstrated that MSCs could improve pulmonary function. The results of the other six indicated that MSCs had no effect on pulmonary function.
Considering these findings, and in view of the small number of patients in the two clinical trials demonstrating therapeutic improvement on pulmonary function, the authors call for further research to better understand the effects of MSCs on improvements of pulmonary function.
In closing, Chen et al. indicate that stem cell therapy may have a significant role in the future treatment of COPD and other respiratory diseases and offer a number of suggestions for future clinical trials. The recommendations provided by the authors for future clinical trials examining the therapeutic effects of MSCs when treating COPD include expanding the sample size, extending the follow-up time to a minimum of 2 years, selecting patients with different grades of COPD, considering using AD-MSCs and UC-MSCs (rather than BM-MSCs); and further exploring the effects of MSC on change in other inflammatory, immune, and metabolic indicators.
Adding salt or minerals to your water for hydration can have certain benefits. Here are a few potential advantages:
Electrolyte balance: Electrolytes are minerals that carry an electric charge and play a crucial role in maintaining proper fluid balance, nerve function, and muscle contractions. By adding a small amount of salt or minerals like potassium, magnesium, and calcium to your water, you can help replenish electrolytes lost through sweat or excessive urination. This can be particularly beneficial during intense physical activity or in hot weather conditions.
Enhanced hydration: Adding a pinch of salt to your water can improve its absorption and promote better hydration. The presence of electrolytes in water can aid in fluid retention and prevent dehydration by facilitating the absorption of water in the body.
Improved taste and palatability: Some people find plain water to be bland or unappealing, which can lead to inadequate fluid intake. Adding a touch of salt or minerals can enhance the taste of water, making it more enjoyable and encouraging you to drink more.
Replenishing trace minerals: Certain minerals, such as magnesium and potassium, are essential for various bodily functions. If your diet is lacking in these minerals, adding them to your water can be a convenient way to supplement your intake.
Support for active lifestyles: For individuals engaged in prolonged or vigorous exercise, consuming electrolytes through water with added salt or minerals can help prevent muscle cramps, fatigue, and maintain optimal performance.
It’s important to note that while adding salt or minerals to your water can have benefits, moderation is key. Excessive intake of salt or minerals can have negative health effects, such as increased blood pressure or electrolyte imbalances. It’s recommended to consult with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian before making significant changes to your hydration routine or electrolyte supplementation.
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