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As caregivers of loved ones dealing with dementia, we as a brother/sisterhood have our own dementia-related health concerns.

I regard myself as reasonably healthy for my age, although I do take an acid suppressing drug for acid reflux, which I developed several years ago.

Co-incidentally, I have very recently discovered an online resource, a self-help navigation resource, for people with little or no resources available to find personalized recommendations for medical conditions.  XpertDox.com was founded by a team of doctors, IT specialists, and business professionals based in Birmingham, Alabama, Scottsdale, Arizona, and San Jose, California for patients with serious medical concerns to empower them with information specific  to their condition, guiding them to seek the best possible care for their condition, and finally providing support by helping them connect with peers suffering from a similar condition.  Use of this service is free of charge.

Although at the time I did not regard myself as having a serious medical condition, I decided to check out the site, http://www.XpertDox.com, to gain advice about my acid reflux condition.  After visiting their homepage, my first stop on the XpertDox website was to check out their blogs.  Scrolling down, this heading stopped me dead in my tracks:  “Drugs for Acid Reflux and Heartburn Can Cause Dementia– Dr. Garima Agarwol, M.D.

The essence of this article for me was that the use of acid suppressant drugs (proton pump inhibitors known as PPIs) inhibit the body’s absorption of Vitamin B-12.  Vitamin B-12 actually aids in keeping at bay the buildup of beta-amyloid plaques that are known to be present in the brains of persons with dementia.

Increasing my concern is the knowledge that I have pernicious anemia, which my mother had.  Pernicious anemia is caused by my body not absorbing Vitamin B-12 naturally.  I found that indeed I do have a potentially serious problem.

With all this in mind, I set about using the XpertDox site for my own medical need.  The first step was establishing a login with my email and a secure password.

I then keyed in my condition, Acid Reflux.  The next screen gave me a choice of an Xpert Doctor, Xpert Hospital, or Support.  I clicked Xpert Doctor.

I then learned that XpertDox through a unique system of algorithms or steps in processing has pulled together over 7,000-plus diseases/conditions and evaluated over a million doctors and 4,500 hospitals to provide unbiased, objective, well-rounded and personalized recommendations for patients without the influence of industry or hospital/physician groups.  Results are personalized for each disease or condition.

The XpertDox search in no way depends on patient reviews.  In fact I learned that patients who see doctors with high satisfaction ratings may have a higher chance of dying!

My search for Xpert Doctors produced a list of doctors for my condition, beginning with 100% for an expert match and a list of successive profiles in decreasing order.  My search came up with a doctor in New York City as a 100% match for my condition acid reflux.

I then noticed I could further refine my search by checking a box for my particular state/zip code.  For my state of Ohio I found two doctors with a 75% match in my home city of Columbus.  I could have come up with a higher percentage match with doctors in Dayton and Cleveland.

A bonus to each doctor profile is a listing of their research papers related to a specific disease or condition.  By clicking on the paper title, a summary or abstract of the paper pops up.  (Of course, the content is specific for medical professionals and a bit difficult for a lay person like me to comprehend.  But at the same time, the research paper summary is readily accessible.)

Another offering of this site is the provision for family support peer to peer with tips and advice.

With the information obtained from XpertDox.com, I feel empowered with contact information for experts in my city Columbus, Ohio to obtain their recommendations about my acid reflux condition in view of my family history of dementia.

You may have your own questions or concerns related to dementia.  To access a section of the XpertDox.com site devoted specifically to dementia, click here.

Again, use of this site is free of charge.  Go to:  http://www.XpertDox.com.

Our trip to select a Christmas tree had become a tradition, as we made our way to the same lot year after year.  My husband John would start reminding me about the tree soon after Thanksgiving!

Now I had standards about the tree to be picked – it must be tall enough not to need placement on a table top and it must be fresh.  I remember the Christmas before my brother was born in January 1947 and my disappointment in our family’s little table-top tree.  Little did I realize my parents were doing well to have a tree at all that year.  Of course, in my four-year-old mind’s eye I wanted the tallest one possible.

My mother would let me assist with the icicles.  They were not to be thrown on but carefully placed one by one so most of the icicle fell straight and free.

My mom rarely missed a year putting up a live tree, even into her ’80s.  Fast forward to this day in 2016, I knew the tree selection was going to be different, as I would be doing it alone.  And this year I would also be selecting a wreath for my husband’s grave site.

I made it to the checkout without breaking down.  But when the cashier willingly assisted me with carrying my purchase to the car, I took her up on it.  Driving around to the back for pickup, I had my live tree placed in the car trunk.

Remembering the joy and contentment of years past as my husband and I would leave the lot together, I silently sobbed on the drive home.  So much was different.  Since March the year has been filled with many firsts.

I remember the first time I voted after his passing, my meltdown right there in the middle of everything, and the kind worker who left her post to give me a hug.

Fortunately for me today I had a place to be in the afternoon, my part time job at a local business.  Upon getting into my car to drive home that evening, I didn’t feel like facing an empty house, so I made a detour to a local cafe.

Given a choice of seating I requested a booth in the back, ordering coffee and my favorite dish – fresh fruit with chicken salad on the side along with a warm blueberry muffin.  As I sat down I noticed a couple sitting to my left, who appeared to be a bit younger than my husband and me.  I guess I must have mused about their happiness.

The time arrived for me to request a check.  But as she came over, my waiter was muttering something that sounded a bit strange, like “Your bill has been taken care of…”

The waiter then explained that the couple who had been sitting to my left had paid my bill.  What an amazing thing – my meal had been paid for by strangers.  And I had done nothing to deserve it!

This kind and caring act as I processed it in my head, told me that I had been the recipient of what a real Christmas is about.  As I drove home I felt a peacefulness hard to describe, realizing what that couple had done.

I then began remembering a few of the many kindnesses that I have received from caring friends and neighbors over past months.  And I began to realize perhaps there are opportunities waiting for me to make a difference, just as it had been done for me.  Rather than my earlier focus on what I have lost, I know I now have a choice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recognizing Caregivers

As I reflect on my own caregiving, both when my mother was with us and in more recent years for my husband, meal preparation became at times a chore.  I guess the part of it that was such a challenge were the restricted choices.  Am sure you know what I mean.  Depending on a loved one’s flexibility, many times dietary needs and mobility issues limit what you can do.

A contest for caregivers recently caught my eye, and I want to share it with you!  How does some deliciious meals delivered to your door sound!  Here goes:

Seniorlink, Inc. Announces Call for Entries to “Thank You Caregiver Nation” Contest

Family Caregivers to Receive Free Meals Monthly Throughout 2017

Contest Goal is to Spotlight the Value and Selfless Commitment of Caregivers

BOSTON, Nov. 16, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — Seniorlink, Inc., a leading caregiver solutions company, announced a call for entries for “Thank You Caregiver Nation” – a new contest focused on raising awareness of family caregivers – the many silent heroes who provide care and comfort to a loved one.

The contest will feature twelve winners, with one winner selected for each month of 2017. Each winner will receive a credit to purchase meal options from PeachDish, a nutritious meal kit delivery company. The winners can use their PeachDish credit to order fresh, farm-to-table ingredients to cook meals for their families, and reduce the stress of food shopping and meal planning.

There are an estimated 44 million caregivers in the United States today.i They are the partners, spouses, sons, daughters, friends and loved ones who carry out a daily mission of compassion, hope and assistance. Through their commitment they provide dignity and comfort to a family member or loved one in need of care.

“Seniorlink stands alongside family caregivers as they fulfill their vital role in their loved ones lives,” said Thomas P. Riley, CEO of Seniorlink, Inc. “Caregiving can take a physical, financial and emotional toll. This contest is our way of saying thank you – and showing our unwavering commitment to provide the highest quality resources, advocacy and insights for caregivers and their families.”

Individuals wishing to nominate a caregiver, or themselves if they are a caregiver, have until midnight on December 31, 2016 to register at www.tycaregivers.com. All that is required is an email address and a short written entry outlining why the nominated caregiver should be recognized. Winners will be randomly selected from a pool of applicants and notified via email.

See www.tycaregivers.com for complete contest terms and conditions.

About Seniorlink, Inc.

For more than 16 years, Seniorlink has pioneered solutions for caregivers across the nation, helping them provide their loved ones with the highest quality care. Seniorlink’s unique in-home care solution, Caregiver Homes, dedicates experienced care teams to work alongside caregivers and their families, offering coaching and support at every step. This model, known as Structured Family Caregiving, was the first home and community-based service in the nation to receive the National Committee for Quality Assurance’s (NCQA) highest level of Accreditation for Case Management.

To move from supporting thousands to millions of caregivers, Seniorlink has developed Vela, a caregiving platform that brings compassion to technology and assists caregivers as they navigate the complex and sometimes overwhelming world of caregiving. Vela transforms the caregiving experience by connecting care partners directly with caregivers to provide them with the coaching and insights they need along their journey, ultimately improving outcomes and lowering costs for their most complex, vulnerable members. To learn more, go to www.seniorlink.com and follow on Twitter @SeniorlinkInc.

About PeachDish

Celebrating the freshest ingredients with Southern-inspired food full of innovative flavor, PeachDish delivers a refrigerated box to your doorstep with ingredients and recipes to cook dinner at home. Customers choose from at least eight different menu options each week, including at least three vegetarian dishes. While purchasing produce at the season’s peak to achieve the most flavor and nutrition, the company works directly with farmers and purveyors to source ingredients local to the Southeast, which has an especially long growing season. Boxes are priced depending on number of servings ordered, and shipping location around the U.S. Order as often as you like, with free shipping for regular subscribers.

i AAPR & Public Policy Institute (June 2015). Executive Summary: Caregiving in the U.S. Retrieved from http://www.aarp.org/content/dam/aarp/ppi/2015/caregiving-in-the-united-states-2015-executive-summary-revised.pdf

Going Through a Loss

Dear reader, I am talking about adjustment to the death of someone close to us.  I thought I knew what loss meant, after experiencing the death of my parents and some dear friends.  But losing a life mate is in a whole category to itself.

We did not have a perfect marriage by any means, but we shared a lifetime together, almost 48 years.  It’s the little things.  We would often have oatmeal for breakfast.  This morning I was finally able to make a dish for myself.  We shared the love of classical music.  I have made a number of road trips out of state over the past several months to be with adult children and grandchildren.  I have driven in a quiet car.

My thoughts go out to you who have had to endure this life change while maintaining your employment or keeping a household together when there are dependent family members to be cared for.  Perhaps you may say it was easier, being forced to maintain some semblance of normalcy.

As I wrote back in March of this year, my husband suffered a severe spinal cord injury from falling off a treadmill at the health club he had recently joined.  He lived two weeks.

The pain of not having been with him when he did his workout that particular day has been almost more than I could bear.  Forgiving oneself I believe to be one of the most difficult challenges of life.

For me it has been a daily and many times an hourly struggle to keep it together.  Grief counseling initially was helpful.  Through the hospital I qualified for Hospice counseling.  The one-on-one  over four months was most helpful.

I also got out my notes for the grief recovery method that I described in an earlier blog, July 8, 2013.  I have done the major portions and am now attempting to finish up with support from my friend who is certified as a grief recovery method counselor.

Prayer has become more important to me than ever before.  Our niece early on sent me a Dayspring publication, “Jesus Is Calling” a collection of meditations by Sarah Young.  This can be accessed at http://www.dayspring.com.  I never miss a day.

I realize that the loss you may have experienced may have been quite different to what I have been describing.  That does not make any difference; the steps of grieving come out the same.

Friends have been a great comfort and strength.  And as much a cliche as it sounds, keeping busy does help.  A Dutch friend of mine, who was a teenager in Amsterdam during WWII, told me about the women of Holland.  She said to me, “Pat, they worked at it – focusing on what they could do with what they had to work with.”  I believe she was telling me to put one foot in front of the other and do what I can.

 

 

 

I am delighted to share with you a new read that you possibly won’t wish to put down, a gripping novel about a dysfunctional family and Alzheimer’s disease – seemingly a recipe for disaster.

The author of Brought to Our Senses, Kathleen H. Wheeler, in her debut as a novelist draws from her own personal experience, growing up in central Illinois as a child of divorce and later working with siblings at odds with each other as they are forced to deal with the Alzheimer’s disease of their mother.

This story invites the reader to meet 34-year-old Elizabeth Miller, a mama’s girl, whose life is upended as her mother receives a dementia diagnosis and becomes a volatile patient.  Elizabeth struggles to look after her mother alongside a brother and sisters who all hold a grudge about their upbringing.  The situation is further complicated by an attorney who derails a much-needed power of attorney agreement and the mom’s boyfriend who proposes marriage in a last-ditch attempt to skirt nursing home placement.

The antagonist is the mother of the family named Janice.  While causing all sorts of problems for her children, she deals with the heartbreaking reality of dementia.  She refuses to go down without a fight, and her denial and hostility stems from fear as much as cognitive impairment.

This book tackles the difficult journey through legal guardianship, why that’s necessary and how it is accomplished.

Forced into the role of caregiver, Elizabeth’s challenge is to care for her mother in the best way possible, which is difficult with siblings who don’t agree on what’s best.

She travels an unexpected path of reconciliation with a brother and sisters, who are called to put aside their differences as they come together to support their mother.

This novel is about coming to terms with a family in conflict and caring for aging parents.  Most importantly, it’s about finding the way back home to family when they’re needed most – when the going gets tough.

D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review, has this to say about Brought to Our Senses: “..one of the most true-to-life, gripping accounts on the complexities of interconnected family relationships that has appeared in recent years.. Very highly recommended as a striking jewel that is a glowing standout from the growing stack of dementia fiction sagas.”

To get the jump on a bonus offer of Brought to Our Senses ahead of the release date, November 1, click here.

Bringing up this subject is a bit depressing, for I know that more often than not our attention as caregivers is on the immediate needs of our loved ones.  We may not be considering ‘down the road’ how our own caregiving needs are going to be met.

Thanks to Nicole Lascurain, from the staff of Healthline.com for sharing some timely information that may impact many of us as caregivers in the future.  Click here to explore long term care options and how to fund the rising costs.

 

 

As we all know, the five FDA-approved medications for dementia with Alzheimer’s symptoms can only temporarily alleviate symptoms; they do not delay, stop, or reverse the disease progress.

I want you to know about a natural food supplement extracted from the sea scallop, which has been clinically proven to improve cognitive function, behavior, emotion, and life quality of Alzheimer’s and dementia patients!

I am pleased to share this promising news that comes to us from a research team  at Kyushu University in Japan led by Dr. Takehiko Fujino, Professor Emeritus of Kyushu University.

Our appreciation goes to Dr. Crystal Goh, Ph.D., Health Biotechnology, and Scientific Officer for Lifestream Group Pte Ltd., Singapore for contributing the article that we are about to enjoy.  Dr. Goh was a part of this research project.

I have reproduced the article in full as it contains much useful information and even some patient video interviews.  Here goes: 

Scallop-derived PLASMALOGEN – the most promising solution for Alzheimer’s and dementia

With a deep passion to find a solution for Alzheimer’s and dementia, Emeritus Professor Takehiko Fujino (M.D., Ph.D.) from Kyushu University in Japan recently discovered a most promising solution for Alzheimer’s and dementia – Scallop-derived PLASMALOGEN! This plasmalogen was clinically proven to improve cognitive function, behaviour, emotion and life quality of Alzheimer’s and dementia patients. Finally, a ray of hope is shining for these patients and their loved ones.

Plasmalogen – a vital component in the brain

Plasmalogens are a type of phospholipid present in almost all tissues of human beings and are most abundant in the brain. Plasmalogen level in the brain begins to increase from fetal stage and reach its peak by the 30s and start to decline thereafter.

Since 1995, researchers from Europe and US have found that Alzheimer’s patients have lower plasmalogen levels in the brain and blood serum compared to normal healthy persons. However, the research has made very little progress. In 2006, Professor Fujino and his team successfully developed a patented high-volume plasmalogen extraction method to extract 92% purity plasmalogens for animal testing and clinical trials on patients. Animal testing has shown that plasmalogens are critical for brain health and mental function. Through the animal testing, this team has discovered that plasmalogens:

  • Suppress accumulation of amyloid β proteins. These proteins will form amyloid plaque in the brain, which is one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s.

LPS activated accumulation of amyloid β proteins while simultaneous application of plasmalogens suppressed these proteins in the hippocampus of mice. Neurons were stained with NeuN which is shown in red (a – c). Control group treated with saline showed a slight fluorescent of amyloid β immunoreactivity (green) (d). LPS treatment increased the accumulation of amyloid β proteins (e) and these proteins were completely eradicated by plasmalogen treatment (f). Amyloid β and NeuN fluorescences were merged to show an intracellular location of amyloid β in the neurons (g and h) (Katafuchi et al., 2012).

Protect against neuronal (nerve) cell death in brain. Neuronal loss causes brain atrophy which is a prominent pathological characteristic of Alzheimer’s.

Plasmalogens inhibited hippocampal neuronal cell death in mice. Number of survived neuronal cells decreased to about 50% when cultured in nutrient-deprived medium. (A) These nutrient-deprived neuronal cells were then treated with plasmlogens for 72 hours. Survival rate significantly increased in these neuronal cells treated with plasmalogens compared with nutrient-deprived control neuronal cells. These neuronal cells were stained with Dil (red colour). Scale bar, 50 μm. (B) The bars show the number of primary hippocampal neuronal cells in the specific area of 12 randomly selected locations from each cell culture dish. The data represents average ± standard deviation from four independent experiments with significant differences between control and plasmalogen-treated groups (Bonferroni’s test, P < 0.001) (Hossain MS et al., 2013).

Improve learning and memory function. Video of this animal testing can be viewed at: https://www.facebook.com/plasmalogens/videos/1748410992114426/

 

  • Promote neurogenesis (growth of new nerve cells). Professor Fujino concludes that “It is unnecessary to improve cells destroyed by amyloid β protein if new cells are born. We believe that this very action, neurogenesis is the new treatment for dementia”.

World’s first discovery of plasmalogen-induced neurogenesis. Neurogenesis occurred in hippocampal dentate gyrus of a normal mouse resulted in denser cells (darker colour) (A). Neurogenesis did not occur in mouse with inflammation (C). After administration of plasmalogens, the condition in mouse with inflammation was restored to normal (D) as in normal mouse (B).

Clinical trial of Scallop-derived PLASMALOGEN

With impressive results from the animal testing, Professor Fujino has decided to conduct a clinical trial of plasmalogen on Alzheimer’s and dementia patients. As plasmalogen extracted from scallop is enriched with DHA and EPA and its chemical structure is closest to those found in the human body, this research team decided to use Scallop-derived PLASMALOGEN which they extracted from scallop. Scallop-derived PLASMALOGEN is completely natural without any chemical modification. In 2015, a large-scale clinical trial which involved 225 patients with moderate and severe Alzheimer’s, Lewy body, cerebrovascular and semantic dementia (60 – 85 years old) was conducted to test the effectiveness of Scallop-derived PLASMALOGEN on these patients after continuous intake for 3 months. This trial was completed in April 2016.  The full data from 225 patients is expected to be published late 2016 or 2017.

Real case studies of Scallop-derived PLASMALOGEN on dementia patients

The clinically proven results are recognized by dementia specialists in Japan who recommended it as a natural therapy for their Alzheimer’s and dementia patients. I am enthusiastic to share some of the case studies with you here.

Case 1: Improvement from moderate to mild stage of dementia

Kiyoshi was diagnosed with semantic dementia for 3 years, which is characterised by language difficulty such as inability to understand words. His MMSE score before taking Scallop-derived PLASMALOGEN was just 18 points, indicating moderate stage of dementia. However, his MMSE score increased to 23 points (mild stage) just 1 month after taking Scallop-derived PLASMALOGEN. Watch video at:

https://www.facebook.com/plasmalogens/videos/1745610769061115/

Case 2: Most amazing improvement seen by research team

This 81-year-old Japanese woman was diagnosed with Lewy body dementia which is characterised by symptoms such as hallucinations. Before the intake of Scallop-derived PLASMALOGEN, the patient was not very responsive when the doctor greeted her and sough permission to examine her. Remarkably, she showed dramatic changes just 2 weeks after the administration of Scallop-derived PLASMALOGEN. Watch video at:

https://www.facebook.com/plasmalogens/videos/1743594745929384/

I am very honored for the privilege to be a part of this project to help Alzheimer’s and dementia sufferers improve and regain their quality of life and dignity. We hope to empower caregivers whose lives are also impacted by the immense physical, mental and financial stress of caring for their loved ones. I sincerely hope this article will be able to give caregivers the hope, strength and courage to go through this unimaginably difficult time. With this available option of natural dietary supplementation, Alzheimer’s and dementia are no longer fatal. This latest development will transform the lives of millions of people. If you are able, please like our Facebook page or share this article, videos or website to save more lives.

You can visit http://plasmalogen.me/ if you are interested to find out more about clinical trials of Scallop-derived PLASMALOGEN. Please feel free to email me at crystalgoh@plasmalogen.me if you need any further information. I also wish to share with you that The 1st International Plasmalogen Symposium will be held on November 7 and 8, 2016, in School of Medicine, Kyushu University in Japan. Please visit http://plssympo.com/index.html for more details.

Thank you, Dr. Goh, for contributing this most relevant information!