Alzheimer’s Disease

Brain donation at OHSU

If a patient has a brain disease, usually the family will donate the brain for study after death for a couple of reasons. The first is to find out the final diagnosis. The second is to understand what this means for other family members, usually children or siblings. They want to know what are the chances that others in the family will get this or a similar brain disease? Contrary to common belief, Alzheimer’s and … Read More

Caregiver Corner: Holiday travel tips

As the holidays approach, many of us look forward to traveling to visit friends and family. Many families ask me about traveling with family members with dementia. Here are my top tips. Plan your trip carefully. If flying, give yourself extra time at the airport to avoid stress. The airports can be busy and overwhelming over the holidays, so pace yourselves. Give yourself a cushion of time for extra bathroom and meal breaks. Consider asking … Read More

Caregiver Corner: 8 ways to reduce the stress of holiday meals

Holiday meals can be very stressful for caregivers for persons with dementia. Here are some tips to keep the meals pleasant. 1. Tell your guests about the dementia diagnosis ahead of time. It can be very confusing for all if the diagnosis is kept as a secret. 2. Consider the timing of the main meal. If your family member with dementia typically is anxious or agitated in the afternoon or evening, consider having a brunch … Read More

Understanding frontotemporal dementia

For the past 10 years, I have had the privilege of leading a support group for family caregivers of persons with frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and related disorders. The group’s creation was based on an observation among our clinicians at the OHSU Aging and Alzheimer’s Clinic that the typical Alzheimer’s Disease support group did not always meet the needs of families dealing with FTD. A closer look at the hallmark symptoms of frontotemporal degeneration will help … Read More

Caregiver corner: Pleasant Events tool can aid overtaxed caregivers

A demoralizing effect of Alzheimer’s disease and similar dementias is the gradual loss of ability to engage in enjoyable and meaningful activities. This loss affects the whole family and can lead to depressive symptoms in the care recipient with dementia. Overtaxed family caregivers know that activity engagement is important, but they often tell me they are exhausted and can’t think of another activity. To address this concern, Teri and Logsdon (1991) developed the Pleasant Events … Read More

A strong neuroscience program is about to get stronger—meet leaders and researchers at the forefront

Today, neuroscience at OHSU is poised for dramatic growth, driven by emerging areas of research strength in the fields of neurodevelopment and neurodegeneration and a planned investment of at least $100 million. Led by long-time campus leaders and new luminaries, the university is doubling down on its quest: contribute in a major way to understanding the mystery between our ears and, above all, improve brain health. Leadership On the faculty since 1982, Dennis Bourdette, M.D., F.A.A.N., chairs neurology in the … Read More

Researcher and neurologist grateful for early-career grant

The Oregon Charitable Tax Checkoff grant was the first research grant I ever received. I was a neurology resident at the time, and with guidance from Dr. Jeff Kaye, the OHSU Layton Aging and Alzheimer’s Disease Center director, I applied for funds to complete a clinical study of a commonly used “outcome measure” in clinical trials with Alzheimer’s disease. That was also my first clinical research study.  We were able to publish the results in an … Read More

How the Oregon Charitable Tax Checkoff Program boosted one researcher’s career

Like many aspiring young clinical researchers, my journey began with an NIH funded post-doctoral fellowship with a goal to eventually develop my own independent research program. As a neuropsychologist with specialty training in smart home technologies and aging, I am interested exploring how we can develop new innovative assessment tools to improve the early detection and diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease. With these interests and background, I was fortunate to obtain a fellowship position in the … Read More

Alzheimer’s and the brain game challenge

The efficacy of brain games has come under scrutiny in the wake of a recent two million dollar settlement between the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Lumos Labs, parent company of the “Lumosity” program. While the brain game industry makes billions in revenue, substantive evidence to validate these games’ effectiveness for preventing dementia remains to be seen. Lumos Labs’ heavily promoted claims that individuals who used its software could delay age-related cognitive decline and protect … Read More

Teaching the next generation of doctors about community care for people with dementia

Delivering quality medical care for persons with Alzheimer’s disease is, and will increasingly be, one of the most challenging responsibilities for physicians. An estimated 5.3 million Americans currently suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. By the year 2050, this number is estimated to be 13.8 million (2016 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts & Figures, published by the Alzheimer’s Association). In communities across the U.S., services available to persons with dementia and their families may include a confusing array of … Read More

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