Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The Power of the Purple Sash

Hi Family & Friends,
I got to spend an amazing day at the Nevada State Legislator educating others on some new laws to help protect those with Alzheimer's here in Nevada.
They featured my photo with my another delegate that I met during the day. As I continue to do my part in honor of my late grandma, I got a lovely email today...
This article is on the National Alzheimer's Association. 
Check out "The True Power of the Purple Sash" :)
I am so touched.
Warm Regards,

          Brooke M. Westlake-Kelley
OWNER- BMW Photography & Vice President of Sales, CSI
MRS. Northern Nevada USA Universal-2015

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Sex and Alzheimers

Well as if Alzheimer's disease wasn't hard enough to deal with. Here is an interesting article on Sex and Alzheimer's. 
In an Iowa courtroom, an astonishing case of sex and Alzheimers
From: Washington Post. By: Sarah Kaplan
They started flirting in choir, the vivacious retiree and the grandfatherly politician, both single after the deaths of their long-time spouses. Less than two years later, they were married in the church where they met, surrounded by a gaggle of children and grandchildren and hundreds of guests dancing the polka. It was an unexpected second chance at love for Donna Lou Young and Henry Rayhons, both past 70 at the time of their wedding.
“They were two good people who were good together,” the couple’s pastor recalled.
After a four-year battle with Alzheimers, Donna Lou Rayhons died in a nursing home in August, just four days shy of her 79th birthday. A week later, Henry Rayhons was arrested and charged with sexual abuse. State prosecutors accused him of having sex with his wife while she was incapacitated by dementia.
Rayhons’s trial, which begins Wednesday, is a rare and possibly unprecedented examination of a little-explored aspect of consent. While much of the discussion about rape these days swirls around the influence of drugs, alcohol and the culture on college campuses, the Rayhons case asks a much different question: When is a previously consenting spouse suffering from dementia no longer able to say yes to sex?
Katherine C. Pearson, who teaches and writes about elder law at Penn State University, told Bloomberg News this is the first case of its kind she’s seen in more than 20 years of working in the field.
“This is maybe the last great frontier of questions about capacity and dementia,” she said. “… Any partner in a marriage has the right to say no. What we haven’t completely understood is, as in this case, at what point in dementia do you lose the right to say yes?”
Friends and family say that Donna and Rayhons, a member of the Iowa House of Representatives from 1997 until this year, were besotted with one another throughout their relationship. She often accompanied him to the state capitol in Des Moines. He bought her dresses and acquired a bee suit so he could join her in her beekeeping.
“He treated her like a queen,” Charity McCauley Andeweg, who clerked for Rayhons, told Bloomberg.
But a few years into their marriage, Donna was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s. She suffered headaches and forgetfulness, drove on the wrong side of the road and once put a single sock into the dryer instead of a full load of laundry, according to Bloomberg.
In March of last year, Donna’s daughter Linda Dunshee took her mother out to lunch. Beneath her winter coat and blazer, Donna was wearing only a sleep teddy that left her breasts exposed. Later, Donna put her hands in the toilet bowl in the restaurant bathroom, Dunshee told a state investigator.
On March 29, Donna was moved to Concord Care Center in Garner, Iowa, a five minute drive from her home with Rayhons. Rayhons reportedly resisted the move, and clashed with Donna’s daughters — both from her first marriage — over how she should be cared for at the facility.
In May, Dunshee and Donna’s other daughter, Suzan Brunes, met with Concord staff and drew up a care plan for Donna, according to a state affidavit. At the meeting, the women and doctors concluded that Donna was no longer able to consent to sex, a fact Rayhons was informed of.
But a week later, on May 23, surveillance video showed Rayhons spending about 30 minutes in his wife’s room. When he left, he was holding her underwear, which he dropped into a laundry bag in the hallway.
Donna’s roommate told nursing home staff that Rayhons had come into the room and closed a privacy curtain around his wife’s bed. She then heard noises indicating that Rayhons was having sex with Donna, the affadavit said.
That night, Brunes took Donna to the hospital for a rape test, Bloomberg reported. Her underwear and bedding were sent to a crime lab for an examination.
Shortly after, a judge approved Brunes’s application to become her mother’s temporary guardian, which cited issues between Rayhons, Concord staff and Donna’s other family members. Around the same time, a state investigator showed up at Rayhons’s home to interview him about the alleged assault. In the interview, Rayhons admitted to having “sexual contact” with his wife on May 23, according to the state affidavit.
Donna died just two months later, and Rayhons was arrested a week after that. Shortly before the charges were filed, Rayhons withdrew from a race to serve a tenth term as state representative for Iowa’s 8th district.
Rayhons’s prominence in the area prompted the Iowa attorney general’s office to seek to move the trial out of Hancock County, where prosecutors argued they would not be able to find an impartial jury after the charges had been covered so extensively in local news. A judge denied the request.
Now, as the case heads to trial, prosecutors will have to convince the jury on two points: First, that Rayhons had sex with Donna while she was at Concord Care, and second, that Donna was not capable of consenting to it.
The state crime lab found semen stains on Donna’s quilt and sheet that matched Rayhons’s genetic profile, the Associated Press reported.
If Rayhons is proven to have had sex with Donna, Iowa sexual assault law is vague about how the case should be treated. The state outlawed non-consensual sex between a husband and wife 25 years ago, Elizabeth Barnhill, executive director of the Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault, told the Iowa City Press Citizen. State law also defines sex with a person suffering from a “mental defect or incapacity” as sexual abuse, but is not explicit about what is meant by the term “mental defect.”
Meanwhile, Alzheimer’s experts differ on whether the disease really does preclude people from being able to give consent. Elizabeth Edgerly, a clinical psychologist who serves as chief program officer for the nonprofit Alzheimer’s Association, told the AP it can be hard to determine capacity in cases of dementia.
“Is the person capable of saying no if they don’t want to do something? That’s one of the biggest pieces,” she said.
Edgerly added that physical closeness with loved ones can often be helpful to people with the disease.
According to Bloomberg, in the months after moving to Concord Care Donna fared poorly on the Brief Interview for Mental Status, a cognitive test that measures dementia by asking patients a series of memory questions. On a May 13 test, just 10 days before the alleged assault, she got a score of zero on the BIMS test.
But Douglas Wornell, a Tacoma, Wash., geriatric psychiatrist and author of the book “Sexuality and Dementia” told Bloomberg it was “naïve” to conclude that Donna’s memory loss indicates she was incapable to knowing whether she wanted to have sex, which is “along the order of knowing you want some food,” he said. 
statement from Rayhons’s family released after criminal charges were filed against him, dismisses the notion that any contact between Rayhons and his wife could be considered rape.
“Donna’s location did not change Dad’s love for Donna nor her love for him. It did not change their marriage relationship. And so he continued to have contact with his spouse in the nursing home; who among us would not?” it read. “… Accusing a spouse of a crime for continuing a relationship with his spouse in a nursing home seems to us to be incredibly illogical and unnatural, as well as incredibly hurtful.”

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Nevada Legislators Pass Bill AB223

Assemblyman PK O'Neill
Today I found out that the bill Assemblyman PK O'Neill that had presented to the Nevada State Legislators passed. 

I got a wonderful email from Assemblyman himself to let me know the bill passed along with thanking me for my efforts. 

This bill I firmly believe helps individuals with Dementia. Here are the details of the bill below.

AB 223 (O'Neille) Protect Persons with Dementia from Negligence by Caregivers. It seems all to often the elderly and Dementia/Alzheimer's patients are targets when it comes to Negligence. Even more important is that these individuals that take advantage of these patients by abusing them or exploiting them need to be prosecuted with either a misdemeanor or felony charge. I fully support this. As elderly patients need to be protected from the predators of the world.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Most Alzheimer's patients not given diagnosis by their doctors

In the 1950s it was cancer. Hush, hush, whisper, whisper.
"They called it the 'C' word, and it didn't get talked about in doctor's offices," said Beth Kallmyer of the Alzheimer's Association. "It certainly wasn't talked about in the general public, it was whispered."
Today it's Alzheimer's, and 55% of patients and their caregivers say their doctors never told them they have the devastating disease, according to a special report of the Alzheimer's Association released this week. Compare that to one of the big four cancers -- breast, colorectal, lung and prostate -- more than 90% said their doctors had no problem giving them the diagnosis.
"Alzheimer's not being talked about, many doctors are not giving the diagnosis," added Kallmyer in a webcast. "We need to change that. It's a disease, it's nothing to be ashamed about."
"This is very current, very well done, and pretty dramatic findings, let's be honest," said Dr. Pierre Tariot, director of Banner's Alzheimer's Institute. "I am reminded of the rather sobering fact that as many as 60% of people who have a dementia die without the dementia having been diagnosed by their doctor."
Why the silence?
    This is not the first report to show doctors are sidestepping this tough conversation. But why? That's been studied too, and the reasons doctors give range from diagnostic uncertainty and fear of causing emotional distress to time constraints, lack of support, and stigma.
    "There is an element of stigma here towards brain and mental health problems in general," said Tariot. "I would call it professional awkwardness. I can't really help this condition, why invest time and energy talking about it, it makes me squirm."
    "I think the comparison of Alzheimer's to cancer is appropriate," said Dr. Tom Price, Medical Director for Emory University's Geriatric Clinic. "I give patients a new diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease many times a week, and every time it is uncomfortable, and I've been doing it for over 10 years. It is easier to talk about cancer now that there are so many new and effective treatment strategies, and cause of optimism with survival from cancer at an all-time high."
    Alzheimer's advocates stress the importance of giving a patient all the facts, as early as possible, so they can work with their family to organize legal and health directives and have time to fulfill life-long desires. It's just as important for the caregiver.
    "Imagine it's your spouse," said Tariot. "Personality changes, memory is different, language and communication is different, you don't know what is going on. Then you start getting answers, and you get a sense of how to play to his strengths and minimize his weaknesses. Here are travel tips, communication tips, and safety issues; here are ways to stay happy and joyful, even though this is a new chronic illness."
    There's another critical factor as well: access to clinical trials that might help slow the illness.
    "Right now, the big studies that are underway in prevention are really looking at people in the early stages of Alzheimer's," said Kallmyer. "So by waiting, they can lose out on clinical trials as well."
    Addressing the 'gap'
    "We want to be clear that we believe physicians are well meaning, but there's a gap there somewhere," said Keith Fargo, Director of Scientific Programs for the Alzheimer's Association. "We saw doctors say lack of time, lack of resources, so we think the answer to this mostly has to do with education and providing more resources."
    Experts CNN spoke to agreed.
    "As a field, we have failed," Tariot told CNN. "It isn't just the doctors in the trenches. Medical schools, professional organizations and health care systems have not recognized the importance of identification and management of people with dementia."
    "I think that medical school curriculum does need to update to include neurodegenerative diseases in their 'giving bad news' training -- Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, for example," said Price. "We do need to educate all providers to be aware that hesitance to give the diagnosis reduces the ability of the patient and family to make some choices and planning that is essential for emotional and financial well-being."

    Friday, March 20, 2015

    5 Surprising Causes Of Alzheimer's Disease

    It's happened to all of us: we forget where we parked our car or why we walked into a room. Some amount of forgetfulness is normal, especially when you're busy or have a lot on your mind. But for nearly five million Americans, that forgetfulness will progress into Alzheimer's disease. Decades of research have shown that the buildup in the brain of toxic proteins, called beta amyloid and tau, can lead to Alzheimer's. What's less clear is what causes these proteins to accumulate. Some new studies have begun to explain this process, revealing that the causes of Alzheimer's disease go beyond genetics and unhealthy habits (though those are important factors, too). Here, some of the most unusual (and scary!) causes new science is pointing to.

    1. You're on anti-anxiety meds.
    A class of medications called benzodiazepines, which include the popular drugs lorazepam (Ativan), alprazolam (Xanax), and clonazepam (Klonopin), are frequently used to treat anxiety and insomnia. Although studies evaluating the safety and efficacy of these drugs have only evaluated their short term use (generally three months or so), many people take them long-term. A study published in the British Medical Journal followed 1,796 Canadians with Alzheimer's disease and 7,184 healthy controls for six years and found that taking benzodiazepines for more than three months was associated with up to a 51% increase in Alzheimer's disease.The moral of the story? If you need benzodiazepines only on occasion, you're probably safe. If anxiety and insomnia are a regular issue for you, consider cognitive behavioral therapy, which has been found to effectively treat both conditions—without the harmful side effects of drugs.
    2. You've hit your head one too many times.
    With an estimated 300,000 Americans getting a sports-related concussion each year, according to data from the University of Pittsburgh's Brain and Spine Injury Program, lots of us are familiar with the worries that can accompany a head injury. Most people recover without a hitch, but for others, the inflammation that helps to heal the damaged brain tissue becomes chronic. Here is where the potential links to Alzheimer's disease can be found, says Brian Giunta, MD, PhD, a psychiatrist and neuroscientist at the University of Southern Florida.Cells in your brain called microglia play an important role in inflammation. "When the microglia are constantly in a pro-inflammatory state, they are less able to clear amyloid beta from the brain," Giunta says.Without microglia to clear the misfolded proteins, it can build up in the brain and kill neurons. It's still not clear why the inflammatory process stays switched on in some people or how many cases of Alzheimer's disease are potentially linked with traumatic brain injury, Giunta says.
    3. You're regularly sleep-deprived.
    A lack of sleep has hit near-epidemic levels in recent years, as we attempt to juggle career, children, marriages, hobbies, and more. For lots of us, something's gotta give—and many of us choose to sacrifice shut-eye. Besides making you drowsy behind the wheel and giving you the midnight munchies, this sleep loss can also speed up the development of Alzheimer's disease, according to a study published in the Neurobiology of Aging."Sleep problems are common in people with Alzheimer's disease, but it wasn't clear whether this was cause or effect," says Domenico Praticò, MD, a pharmacologist and immunologist at Temple University in Philadelphia. In a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease, Praticò and colleagues found that letting these mice only sleep for four hours a night increased the amount of tau in their brains. It also altered learning and memory, as well as how well neurons were able to communicate with each other. Chronic sleep deprivation, Praticò explains, stresses the brain and body (which is why you may be so tired), which speeds up the harmful processes leading to Alzheimer's disease."Sleep deprivation is a form of chronic stress on the body. It's also the time when the brain gets rid of bad things," such as excess amyloid beta protein, Praticò said.
    4. You're lonely.
    Remaining engaged with friends and the broader community is part of what many of us consider the good life. It's good medicine, too. A study in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry identified links between loneliness and the development of dementia. The researchers found that feelings of loneliness in older adults gave them 1.63 times the odds of developing dementia during the three years of the study. Scientists still don't know what's driving this association, but the implications are clear: Staying connected is good for you.
    5. You have diabetes in your brain.
    To neuroscientist Suzanne de la Monte, MD, of Brown University, Alzheimer's disease is really a metabolic disease that affects the brain. The links are so close that she has begun referring to Alzheimer's disease as Type 3 diabetes.Brain cells use glucose as fuel, and insulin tells these cells to slurp up glucose in the blood. De la Monte's big insight was that brain cells can develop insulin resistance, just like other cells in the body."Any organ can be affected by insulin resistance," de la Monte says. "You can have it in the liver- we call that non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. If you get it in the kidney, we call it renal disease. If you get it in the brain, we call it Alzheimer's."Her research over the past few years has revealed that this creates a toxic environment for the brain, leading to the harmful buildup of proteins and neuron death seen in Alzheimer's.In addition to telling us more about how Alzheimer's can be prevented through healthy diet and exercise, it could also help potentially treat the disease. Preliminary studies have shown that inhaled insulin can help reduce symptoms of Alzheimer's dementia.

    Alzheimer's Drug Slows Mental Decline In Early Study

    "It’s a bigger treatment effect than we had hoped for," said the researchers.  (Photo: Getty Images)
    An experimental drug from Biogen Idec became the first Alzheimer’s treatment to significantly slowcognitive decline and reduce what is believed to be brain-destroying plaque in patients with early and mild forms of the disease, according to a small study likely to reignite hopes of a treatment.
    Alzheimer’s is expected to strike as many as 75 million people worldwide by 2030 without effective treatments, likely costing billions of dollars year in care. A successful treatment would pay some of the richest rewards in medicine.
    Biogen is entering a field littered with expensive failures from such players as Pfizer Inc and Eli Lilly and Co.
    The 166-patient trial of the Biogen drug, aducanumab, tested four groups who each received a different dose against a fifth group who received a placebo.
    The treatment led to reductions in brain amyloid, a type of plaque believed to play a key role in the development of Alzheimer’s symptoms, according to interim data presented at a medical meeting in Nice, France, on Friday. The plaque reduction was more pronounced as the dose of the drug increased and over time.
    It marks the first time an experimental drug demonstrated both a statistically significant reduction in amyloid plaque and a slowing of clinical impairment in patients with mild disease, said Alfred Sandrock, Biogen’s chief medical officer.
    "It’s a bigger treatment effect than we had hoped for," Sandrock said.
    Biogen will begin enrolling patients later this year for a large Phase III trial that could be used to seek approval of its drug.
    Biogen said it increased its chances of success by carefully screening patients to exclude those with other forms of dementia misdiagnosed as Alzheimer’s, and by testing only those early in the disease.
    "We imaged every patient coming into study, so we knew that every patient had Alzheimer’s disease and plaque," Biogen Chief Executive George Scangos said in an interview. "It’s hard to think of a reason why these data are not representative of the actual activity of the drug."
    Safety and tolerability was considered acceptable, the company said. There was a big jump in the incidence of amyloid-related imaging abnormalities-edema (ARIA-E), or water surrounding brain tissue, at the two higher doses among patients with a gene associated with the highest risk for developing Alzheimer’s. These highest-risk patients also dropped out of the trial at a higher rate. Most of the ARIA-E was asymptomatic or mild and resolved over time, Sandrock said.
    Using imaging to measure amyloid in six regions of the brain, researchers found plaque levels were virtually unchanged at 26 and 54 weeks into the study for the placebo group.
    Patients who received either 3 milligrams per kilogram of weight, 6 mg/kg or 10 mg/kg of aducanumab showed a significant and dose-dependent increase in plaque reduction at 26 weeks. There was an even greater reduction in plaque for patients at the 3 mg and 10 mg doses when they were tested at 54 weeks.
    Data for those in the 6 mg arm was not available at 54 weeks because that group started later. A fourth group of patients who received a 1 mg dose were not helped by the drug.
    The trial also used two measures to test cognition: a questionnaire with a 30-point scale to test mental acuity and an 18-point Clinical Dementia Rating scale that also tests for loss of ability to function.
    On the first test, placebo patients worsened by 3.14 points after one year versus significantly smaller declines for patients receiving aducanumab 3 mg and 10 mg, of 0.75 and 0.58 points, respectively.
    On the second scale, the placebo group worsened by 2.04 points at one year. While the scores were better for all the drug groups, only the 10 mg dose reached statistical significance, with a decline of 0.59 points. The 6 mg dose could still show a significant slowing on both scales when more data becomes available. 

    Thursday, March 19, 2015

    Big Wall of Empowerment

    The Big Wall of Empowerment
    I am thrilled to announce that I made the 'Big Wall of Empowerment'. This is Maria Shrivers campaign to wipe out Alzheimer's and I am thrilled to be apart of it as well as have my image on the big wall. As I continue with my efforts in my city and town to educate others, bring awareness and be a voice for Alzheimer's.
    Join me ladies as we help wipe out Alzheimer's!
    #wipeoutalz #purpledignity #endalz #beverlyjean #remembermyphoto #bmwphotography
    #68, My Story

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