Tuesday, March 27, 2012

New Pacemaker-Like Devices Help Alzheimer's Patients Slow the Disease's Progression

There's never been a whole lot that medical science could do for Alzheimer's patients. Certain medications might give these folks a brief respite in the progression of the disease, but over time they all knew that they would continue to to deteriorate to the point of total incapacitation. Naturally, no one wants to see this happening to themselves, and everyone who is stricken is looking for that one innovation in treatment that will help them delay the disease the most. While there isn't yet a cure for this type of dementia, a new gadget is offering hope of slowing the progression even more.

Scientists and medical personnel at Johns Hopkins have been experiencing some success by testing the effects of implanting a device similar to a pacemaker in the brain of patients who are actively suffering from the disease which increases brain glucose levels. It has been known for some time that increases in glucose metabolism do lead to brain function improvements. Therefore, patients who have the highest increases in glucose levels do the best at stopping the progression for longer periods of time. Electrodes in the new device stimulate areas of the brain which increases glucose levels. One of the things that Alzheimer's does to the brain is cause a decrease in brain glucose thus inducing the symptoms we all associate with the disease.

Approximately 5.1 million people in the United States are suffering from some level of Alzheimer's, and the numbers continue to rise. Studies into the effects of the pacemaker-like device are promising, and scientists are cautiously optimistic that the new technology will make a real difference in the lives of dementia patients in the future. At the present time, many different research studies are being conducted in an attempt to prevent the advanced symptoms of Alzheimer's. Four new drugs to slow the progression have been approved by the FDA.

The device is still a long way from conclusive testing and FDA approval, but at least there is some hope on the horizon from those who have been viewing Alzheimer's as a tunnel closing in on them. This gadget, when approved, should give patients more options and control of their own lives and help them live more quality years.

It's a scary thought to think about Alzheimer's taking control of your life for you and wondering how or where you're going to get the care you'll need when the time comes. Thank goodness for modern technology and the dedicated researchers who continue to forge into the unknown in order to help those in need.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

ADHD In Women - Why Are Women Less Likely To Be Diagnosed With ADHD

Astonishingly enough, I have spoken to several people who had absolutely no idea that women can also be affected by ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). Many believe this is a mental health problem only affecting males, but they really couldn't be any further from the truth. To the contrary, many women have ended up having to suffer in silence as a result of this type of misinformation.

Admittedly, males do seem to be more at risk, but the divide is getting smaller as our understanding of the disorder increases. One of the most important things we've discovered so far is that the signs and symptoms of the disorder are not always the same as they are in males. There's also a wider acceptance that girls are less likely to display typical ADHD behavior, since such behavior in a girl is less acceptable in a girl than it is in a boy.

Boys may be allowed to run riot for a number of years, until such time that their behavior becomes seriously problematic. Girls on the other hand, are generally expected to behave like girls. In essence, even if a girl has ADHD, she will be taught from a very young age to control her emotions and behaviors. In a way, one could even compare this to Behavioral Modification Therapy, although it is of course taking place unknowingly.

Still, a girl with ADHD will be at a disadvantage. If a girl is inattentive in class, she'll more often than not be labeled as being lazy in terms of her school work. Girls with ADHD also don't tend to exhibit signs of hyperactivity in the same way boys do. Unlike boys, girls will often withdraw, and they might even come across as being introverts.

Despite the external difference, girls with ADHD encounter the same emotional difficulties. They too wish to be just like all their peers, and they too would like to excel with their schoolwork, but ADHD invariably makes this impossible, and especially if left untreated. Alarmingly enough, ADHD often not diagnosed until girls reach adulthood, and even then, it's often diagnosed unintentionally.

Regularly, parents might be advised to take their child for screening, and it's during this screening process that many women first begin to suspect that they themselves might have the disorder. Sadly, many adult women are immediately placed on regular ADHD prescription drugs, despite the fact that there's strong evidence to suggest adults are able to manage/control ADHD without the use of prescription meds.

ADHD in women is certainly not as uncommon as was once believed, but even so, there is still so much we don't know, simply because the focus has primarily been on males in the past. Now that our knowledge base is expanding, hopefully fewer women will be left to suffer in silence.