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Let’s work towards a better understanding of dementia
September 21 is World Alzheimer’s Day, part of the month-long awareness campaign that is organized annually by Alzheimer’s Disease International to challenge the stigma that surrounds dementia. A global survey by the organization indicated that over 60% of people feel there is little or no understanding of dementia in their countries, so this type of awareness is crucial.
Dementia is a collective term for progressive syndromes that affect various expressions of cognitive function, such as memory and emotional expression. Around 50 million people are affected by one of the 100+ forms of dementia. Alzheimer’s disease accounts for the majority of cases (50 to 70%, varying by country, based on Alzheimer’s Disease International and World Health Organization figures). For those directly affected and their loved ones, dementia can be a frightening experience, particularly as it is so poorly understood.
To support researchers, clinicians and other interested parties focusing on dementia, Elsevier has curated a collection of 25 book chapters and articles freely available on ScienceDirect. The collection is devoted to basic and clinical research in dementia, including important content on addressing the stigma that surrounds dementia. We hope that providing this content will not only help researchers working on prevention and cure, but also serve as a source of information for non-scientists and take away some of the fear and stigma around dementia.
Below are some key dementia chapters included in our Special Issue:
Albert Aboseif, Benjami K.P. Woo
As the global population ages, increased demand is being placed on healthcare systems to effectively manage and treat dementia. Negative cultural attitudes, coupled with misinformation regarding the condition, have created major barriers to proper care. Those diagnosed early are often left feeling ashamed and misunderstood by friends and family. Among the general population, a lack of educational awareness has contributed to patient mistreatment, caregiver burnout, and inadequate research funding. While these issues are well documented in the literature, they remain routinely overlooked. Now more than ever, it’s important that these issues be appropriately acknowledged in an effort to create tangible solutions. Only then can an ever-growing population of patients with dementia receive the care they rightly deserve.
Chapter 12: Transforming Dementia Care
Laura N. Gitlin, Nancy Hodgson
This chapter consider the transformative actions that need to occur at each level of our social ecological model to support or result in comprehensive dementia care. The authors discuss meaningful actions required that are independent, in concert with, and in an integrated fashion in order to transform dementia care for individuals, families, communities and societies.
Environmental Psychology and Human Well-Being
Chapter 14: Memory Care and Alzheimer’s Units
The designed environment can have significant negative, or positive, impact on the well-being of individuals who are living with dementia. Complex, highly-stimulating settings with noxious and nonrelevant stimulation create excess disabilities, stress, and dysfunction, whereas settings that are familiar, with prosthetic supports that help compensate for changing abilities, better support independence, use of residual abilities, and well-being. In this chapter, a model of the ecology of human development is used to create a nested hierarchy of contextual factors that provide a more encompassing perspective of shared residential settings for people living with dementia.
Physical exercise has frequently been the target of research studies related to the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. The level and routine of physical exercise can influence the progression of the disease, as well as influence the intensity of the deleterious effects from Alzheimer’s disease. This chapter discusses exercise programs currently used as well as blood markers and other techniques for future studies with this population.
Neuroprotection in Autism, Schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease
Chapter 10: Tau-based therapies for Alzheimer’s disease: Promising novel neuroprotective approaches
Carmen Laura Sayas
For decades, the development of potential therapies for AD has been centered in counteracting the formation of amyloid-β plaques, with complete failure in clinical trials. As a consequence, the focus of AD drug discovery has been switched toward tau. In this chapter, current tau-targeting therapies for AD are summarized, from tau-kinase inhibitors to acetylation inhibitors, microtubule stabilizers, aggregation inhibitors, monoclonal anti-tau antibodies or active tau vaccines. Special emphasis has been placed on the most promising therapeutic agents that have reached clinical trials.
Handbook of Sleep Disorders in Medical Conditions
Chapter 11: Mild Cognitive Impairment and Dementia
Chenlu Gao, Michael K. Scullin, Donald L. Bliwise
The World Health Organization has estimated that the number of people living with dementia will double by 2030 and triple by 2050. In this chapter, the authors provide an overview of mild cognitive impairment and dementia, with a focus on how sleep and cognition interact in these conditions. They discuss the role of sleep disordered breathing in understanding dementia in older adults and the potential of treating sleep disorders to benefit cognition and quality of life in patients with mild cognitive disorder or dementia. Last, they outline several future research directions still necessary to understand how sleep disturbances might precede or exacerbate dementia and which sleep treatments are likely to be feasible, acceptable, and efficacious in patients with cognitive impairment.
Chapter 4: Disorders of music processing in dementia
Elia Benhamou, Jason D.Warren
The musical brain is both highly susceptible and remarkably resilient to the effects of dementia. This apparent paradox reflects the complex and modular architecture of music cognition, the diversity of music processing disorders, and the characteristics of the diseases that cause dementia. In this chapter, the authors the rationale for studying music processing in the dementias, and the challenges this poses. They highlight future avenues toward improved understanding of the musical brain in dementia, and how this may inform the development of musical therapies.