Saturday, 28 September 2013

Unpleasant for everyone

Dealing with dementia often throws up examples of things that are not difficult just for people with dementia but for most other people as well.

A good example is mammography.

I took my wife to her last screening. The claustrophobic cupboard in which you undressed was right next to the screening room. I could hear that they were having trouble getting my wife to leave her breast in the clamp - she naturally moved away as it started to hurt.

They brought her back to the cupboard and said that they had only been able to complete two of the four scans. They said that they only had four minutes for each patient (for four scans)! I was surprised how red her breasts were. I should say that, normally, even since the dementia, she is very stoical about medical procedures that cause 'discomfort' (otherwise known as pain).

She was referred elsewhere, to a clinic where they had a bit more time and were able to complete scans to their satisfaction.

You wouldn't need to have dementia to find this procedure unpleasant.

Leave aside the valid debate about whether, overall, mass screening saves lives or loses them, there must be a better way of doing this.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Alzheimer Research Forum

Another heads up about this excellent, though very complex and technical, site.  Just scanning through the comments you can discover some interesting thoughts:

These are puzzling cases indeed. Do these patients have ALS or a different clinical presentation of SCA2? How should we classify such patients? Intermediate repeat expansions have been identified as a genetic risk factor for ALS, while true (longer) expansions are encountered in rare sporadic and familial ALS cases and probably should be considered as a rare true cause of ALS. Thus, disease presentations of SCA and ALS within the same family are possible. That tallies with the concept that ALS is a clinical syndrome with heterogeneous etiologies, rather than a distinct disease entity.