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Intouch : In Touch Winter 2012
IN TOUCH WINTER 2012 13 YOGA REDUCES STRESS A US study of the impact of daily yogic meditation on the stress levels of family carers of people with dementia who experience depressive symptoms has found that the activity could signifcantly lower depressive symptoms and improve mental health and cognitive function. For 12 minutes each day for eight weeks, half of the carers practised Kirtan Kriya meditation and the other half listened to relaxation music. Just over 65 per cent of the meditation group showed a 50 per cent improvement on the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale, compared to just over 31 per cent of the relaxation music group. This research involved a group of 39 carers, and the results are yet to be confrmed on a larger scale. Source: International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry. doi: 10.1002/ gps.3790 RESEARCH LATEST RESULTS REVIEW THE LATEST RESEARCH ON STRESS- BUSTERS FOR CARERS AND NEW TESTS FOR ALZHEIMER'S, DISCUSS THE SCIENCE BEHIND PHARMACOLOGICAL TREATMENTS AND LEND A HAND AS A RESEARCH VOLUNTEER. DISCUSS THE SCIENCE PHARMACOLOGICAL TREATMENT OPTIONS Pharmacological treatments for memory loss approved by the Australian Government Pharmaceuticals Benefts Scheme fall into two main categories: cholinergic and memantine. Cholinergic treatments offer some relief from the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease for some people for a limited time. They include acetylcholinesterase inhibitors. These block enzymes that break down excess acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter involved in memory. Cholinergic treatments are approved for use by people with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease. Memantine is the frst in a new class of drugs that targets a neurotransmitter called glutamate, which is involved in learning and memory. Glutamate can be present in high levels when someone has Alzheimer's disease. Memantine blocks glutamate and prevents too much calcium moving into the brain cells and causing damage. Memantine is currently approved for use for people with moderately-severe to severe Alzheimer's disease. There are currently no medications available that slow the progression of dementia. Cholinesterase inhibitors or memantine may help to alleviate some symptoms but they do not alter the course of the disease. EYE TEST FOR ALZHEIMER'S Researchers have developed a simple eye test that may be able to detect changes in the brain related to degenerative neurological diseases including Alzheimer's. The test enables observance of the death of a single nerve cell in a living eye over hours, days, weeks and months. This direct observation of retinal nerve cell death is useful to help refne diagnoses and track disease progression. Source: Cell Death and Disease (2010) 1, e3; doi:10.1038/cddis.2009.3 PARTICIPANTS WANTED: HEALTHY VOLUNTEERS The Neuroscience Research Unit at the University of Technology, Sydney, needs needs healthy males aged 36-65 for a study that will assess the association between cardiovascular and brain cognitive functions to identify predictive markers of mild cognitive impairment. All procedures are non- invasive and will take approximately one hour. Contact Louisa Giblin for more information. E: Louisa.Giblin@uts.edu.au T: 0449 175 613 PARTICIPANTS WANTED: CARERS Griffth University-based research into the health and wellbeing of carers of people with dementia will help increase community awareness of the experiences of carers and be used to support carers. If you are a current or former carer of a family member, spouse or friend with dementia, visit the website or contact Dr Siobhan O'Dwyer to complete an anonymous survey or fnd out more. W: prodsurvey.rcs.griffth.edu.au/ dementiacaresurvey E: firstname.lastname@example.org T: (07) 3735 6619
In Touch Autumn 2012
In Touch Autumn 2013