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Intouch : In Touch Spring 2014
IN TOUCH SPRING 2014 17 RESEARCH LATEST STUDIES TRIALLING INFRARED LASER TREATMENT, LINKS BETWEEN LYME DISEASE AND DEMENTIA AND THE DIFFICULTIES CARERS FACE MANAGING MEDICINE. INFRARED LASER TREATMENT Researchers at the University of Sydney have shown that exposing mice to 'low level light therapy' (or photobiomodulation) reduced the levels of Alzheimer's disease biomarkers in their brains. Photobiomodulation uses a low-level infrared laser to amplify light energy into radiant energy, which is absorbed into tissues to enhance wound healing. Previous animal studies have shown that regular treatment with infrared laser light can lessen some of the brain pathology associated with stroke, traumatic brain injury, Parkinson's disease and even Alzheimer's disease. What is unknown from this study is whether this reduction in brain pathology translates into a reduction in symptoms, such as improvements in memory and behaviour. Dr Purushothuman from the University of Sydney plans to assess this in future trials. CAN TICK BITES CAUSE ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE? There have been reports of a potential link between Lyme disease (transferred via a tick bite) and Alzheimer's disease. In 2011, a review by Dr MiKlossy, published in the Journal of Neuroinfammation, found that spirochetes (a family of bacteria, some of which cause Lyme disease) were observed in the brain in more than 90 per cent of Alzheimer's disease cases. It is important to note that there is little evidence that Lyme disease actually occurs in Australia. Professor O'Day and Dr Catalano, authors of a recent article published in the Journal of Alzheimer's disease, hypothesised that if Lyme disease does in fact cause Alzheimer's disease, then areas with a high prevalence of Lyme disease should also have a high prevalence of Alzheimer's disease. In their paper, they compared the 13 US states with the highest prevalence of Lyme disease to the 13 US states with the highest prevalence of Alzheimer's disease. They found no statistical correlation between deaths from Alzheimer's disease and people who had/have Lyme disease. In fact, they found the complete opposite. Many of the states with a high prevalence of Alzheimer's disease, had a low prevalence of Lyme disease. The current available data reveals that there is no evidence to suggest that these two diseases are linked in any way. Lyme disease imitates many of the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease, but the two diseases are very much separate. Lyme disease is treatable and can be cured, while Alzheimer's disease currently has no cure and only a handful of treatments available that can alleviate some of the symptoms. CARERS HAVE DIFFICULTY MANAGING MEDICINE Findings from a UK workshop involving carers of people with dementia has found that many of the carers have diffculty managing medication for the person with dementia and also lack the knowledge to weigh up the risks and benefts of different drugs prescribed. These fndings were collated by researchers in the UK and recently published in the Journal BMC Research Notes. Specifcally, it was noted that carers feel impacted with the responsibility of administering certain medicines and think health professionals fail to understand the problems around managing medicines when caring for someone with dementia. The next step for the research group is to assess the role of community pharmacists in assisting and providing support to carers and people with dementia with medicine management. MORE INFO To stay up-to-date with the latest dementia research, visit: dementiaresearchfoundation.org.au
In Touch Summer 2014
In Touch Winter 2014