Alternatives to medication for agitation in dementia

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Andrés Fonseca summarises the findings of a recent systematic review of the clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of sensory, psychological and behavioural interventions for managing agitation in dementia.

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Statins have no beneficial effect on cognition in dementia, but can cause serious side-effects

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This updated Cochrane review on statins for the treatment of dementia contains worrying adverse effects data, but Caroline Struthers has to do a significant amount of digging to root it all out.

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Are humans like monkeys? MRI scanning suggests similarities and differences that might help future research

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Does a mouse think like a human? Does a cat? Does a macaque monkey? These are fascinating questions to ask on a philosophical level, but they are also of immense practical importance. Current regulations on drug development mean that animal research plays a huge role in deciding what substances might be safe and beneficial to humans.  [read the full story…]

Exercise may help older people with dementia, but more research is needed

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Many of our older readers will remember tales of the Great Elf Mother running miles every day, o’er hills and vales, to bring the very latest evidence-based research to us younger elves at the breakfast table. It was she who inspired our National Elf Service, and I’m delighted to say that she’s still going strong [read the full story…]

Measuring treatment effects in dementia studies: towards a consistent approach

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It is now well accepted across the health and social care communities that the incidence of dementia is rising as people continue to live longer. The projected prevalence of dementia over the next ten to twenty years is causing widespread concern at all levels of policy making and care provision. There is a very real [read the full story…]

Computerised CBT is effective for depression in the short-term, but new meta-analysis suggests no long-term functional improvement

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Studies have demonstrated that CBT works at least as well as antidepressants at reducing depression, perhaps even better (DeRubeis et al., 1999). However, it’s difficult for people with depression to access CBT due to lengthy waiting lists. The Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) scheme has had a major influence on waiting times for people [read the full story…]

Meta-analysis finds medium-sized deficit for IQ-change in schizophrenia patients

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When Kraepelin first described the symptoms of the disorder we now call schizophrenia, he drew particular attention towards the deterioration of cognitive function he observed in his patients and named their condition “dementia praecox”. To this day, cognitive deficits are still regarded as one of the key features of schizophrenia (and related diagnoses), and it [read the full story…]