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Alzheimer’s Patients Can Return To Work After Trying This New Treatment

Alzheimer’s Patients Can Return To Work After Trying This New Treatment

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a progressive, degenerative disease (meaning that is gradually get worse over time) that, according to the National Institute of Health (NIH) affects around 5 million people in the United States alone. AD, however, does not just affect the patients themselves, but the families who must care for them — and often institutionalize them as the disease gets worse and they become dangerous to themselves and others.  The emotional and social impact of this disease is significant: the Alzheimer’s Foundation estimates that it costs $60 billion in the United States alone, including the cost of lost work by caregivers and medical and insurance costs. And the price tag is only predicted to rise as the population ages.

A Word on Alzheimer’s

This condition was named after Dr. Alois Alzheimer who was the first doctor to write a description of this disease as far back as 1906. Back then very little was known about AD but when the doctor did an autopsy on the patient he was studying, he found that the patient’s brains had become enmeshed with what were later termed to be amyloid plaques and tangles.  It is the formation of these plaques and tangles that causes the signs and symptoms of this disease.

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The Alzheimer’s Association (AA) notes that this disease is the most common form of dementia, accounting for 60-80% of all dementia cases, and is particularly a risk for patients who are 65 years of age or older. The disease begins with symptoms such as mild memory loss. However, as it advances, it brings with it more severe memory problems such as, difficulty talking, communicating and even performing activities of daily living (like eating, dressing, and going to the bathroom). Often, patients with moderate to severe forms of AD will have to be placed in a facility for the 24/7 care that they require.

Currently, there is no cure for AD. The FDA has approved four different drugs- Aricept, Exelon, Razadyne and Namenda- for treatment of the symptoms of this disease. However, they do not work for everyone and come with a variety of unwanted side effects that range from digestive problems (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or constipation and loss of appetite) to mental problems like confusion.

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New Treatment Brings New Hope

Because of the side effects of the medications currently used for AD, research is underway to look into other treatments for this disease. One new study, published recently in the journal Aging, has brought some excitement to the medical community- and new hope to Alzheimer’s patients and the ones that love them.

The study is on the small side, looking at just 10 patients suffering from age-related loss of cognitive function. However, as lead researcher Dale Breeden notes, the results are “unprecedented”.  The patients in this study were treated with a holistic, 36-point program which included everything from medications and supplements to dietary restrictions, stimulation of the brain and exercises.  After completing this program, testing showed a reversal of their neurological degeneration and scientists note that “patients who had had to discontinue work [due to their condition] were able to return to work and those struggling to work were able to improve their performance.”  As an example, one man showing a shrinkage of the hippocampus went from the 17th percentile to the 75th percentile in hippocampal size after 10 months of treatment, according to MRIs performed before and after the study.

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This multidisciplinary approach to neurological health is not the only exciting thing about this study. Scientists involved in this project also noted that this treatment was done on patients who have one or two copies of the APOE4 gene, which is involved in around 65% of Alzheimer’s cases.  Currently, patients are not evaluated for this gene since doctors deem it unnecessary for this incurable disease, but researchers believe that in the future, APOE4 evaluation will be done in order to help identify patients at a genetic risk for AD and to help them get the early treatment they need to prevent this condition.

In short, Alzheimer’s disease is an incurable condition which has a devastating effect on patients, their families and society as a whole. Currently, the FDA-approved medications for AD treat symptoms without actually affecting a cure. That is why this study, though small, has given many hope for the future as researchers work towards a cure that will save patients and their families from the emotional and social impact of this disease.

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Brian Wu

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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