I feel angry…

Why oh why are there so many articles about how to prevent dementia by changing your lifestyle?  This Guardian article makes me go……. Grrrrrrrrrr!

Lifestyle changes could prevent a third of dementia cases, report suggests

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Before commenting, read the article please.

What I would like to say is that change your lifestyle to drink less, stop smoking, be more active, keep your brain active and it will make you feel better, make your health better but it WILL NOT STOP YOU GETTING DEMENTIA.

The research/study they must be using to suggest lifestyle can prevent dementia can be applied to any of the following:

Heart disease, Lung disease, obesity, high blood pressure, Diabetes, help with arthritis..and any other condition that being active can help with.

Articles like this make me so angry.  Why?  Because it gives false hope and mis-information.   At present there is no cure for Dementia.  Research has yet to find out what causes dementia, they are beginning to understand what is going on a bit better, but not why this happens.  If they did all of us living with dementia would be on some sort of medication to reverse it, or totally halt it, and we are not.

These articles are really about unhealthy lifestyles and what can happen in the long term.  So why not write that?   Some dementias can be directly through lifestyle such as Korsakoff Syndrome caused by alcohol misuse or nutrient deficiency.   Some dementias can develop through the result of traumatic brain injury.

Here are some REAL sites to find information about dementia from professional bodies and people leading the support, help and information sharing for dementia.

So, I wish these newspapers stopped writing this rubbish just to fill space because it is not helping.

Rant over……..

 

 

 

Dementia: Out of the mouths of babes..

I have just watched the most beautiful piece of film I have ever seen.  I can guarantee that you will have never seen dementia viewed in this way before.

How do you be with someone with dementia?  How do you communicate?   Children are the sweetest gift ever given to anyone and in this film young people talk about their grandparents who have dementia and how they deal with it.  If it doesn’t bring a tear to your eye then I will be amazed!

Produced by the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) for CBBC (the first ‘C’ standing for ‘Childrens’) this is a programme that is on air for children’s viewing times.   I feel that this should be shown so that all adults can learn from children how to help their loved ones with dementia.  Click on the link below to watch it.

My Life – Series 6: 3. Mr Alzheimer’s and Me

Josh, Ella and Hope all have one thing in common – they have a grandparent with dementia. It isn’t easy having to be ‘the grown-up’ when their grandparents get forgetful. But all three of them are determined to help them as much as they can. They all have their different ways of coping, which they want to share with other kids going through the same thing, and have recorded personal moments with their grandparents on their own cameras. Josh is determined to help his grandad remember and secretly gathers mementos for a memory box. Ella decides to organize a sponsored walk to help raise money for research into the causes of dementia. Hope’s granny gives dementia a character – Mr Alzheimer’s – to help Hope come to terms with it all.

29 mins long.

Living with Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease (EOAD) my thoughts on the word Support

I though about the word ‘support’ and wondered what did it mean, or rather what did it mean for me?  To start with I began to think of what the actual meaning of the word ‘support’ is.  From the Macbook dictionary this is what it says

support

verb [ with obj. ]

1 bear all or part of the weight of; hold up: the dome was supported by a hundred white columns.

2 give assistance to, especially financially: the government gives £2,500 million a year to support the voluntary sector.

• provide with a home and the necessities of life: my main concern was to support my family.

• give approval, comfort, or encouragement to: the proposal was supported by many delegates

be actively interested in and concerned for the success of(a particular sports team). fans should always support their      team fully, no matter what.  [Me:  Activities I do with regard to bringing awareness for EOAD]

• (as adj.supporting) (of an actor or role) of secondary importance to the leading roles in a play or film. the production’s greatest successes are in the main supporting roles.

• (of a pop or rock group or performer) function as a secondary act to (another) at a concert.

3 suggest the truth of; corroborate: the studies support our findings

4 produce enough food and water for; be capable of sustaining: the land had lost its capacity to support life.

5 endure; tolerate: at work during the day I could support the grief. [Me: Understand that I do or say things that may driven by this disease and not under my control]

6 (of a computer or operating system) allow the use or operation of (a program, language, or device): the new versions do not support the graphical user interface standard.

     noun

1 a thing that bears the weight of something or keeps it upright: the best support for a camera is a tripod.

• [ mass noun ] the action of supporting something or someone or the state of being supported: she clutched the sideboard for support.

2 [ mass noun ] material assistance: the bank provided unstinting financial support | air operations in support of British forces

• approval, encouragement, or comfort: the paper printed many letters in support of the government | she’s been through a bad time and needs our support. [Me:encourage me in my endeavours]

• technical help given to the user of a computer or other product.

3 [ mass noun ] evidence that serves to corroborate something: the study provides support for both theories.

4 a secondary act at a pop or rock concert: [ as modifier ] : a support band.

DERIVATIVES

supportability noun,

supportable adjective

supportless adjective

     ORIGIN Middle English (originally in the sense ‘tolerate’): from Old French supporter, from Latin supportare, from sub–    ‘from below’ + portare ‘carry’.

Well, from this it appears that it has many meanings whether it is used as a noun or a verb but what part of this is relevant to what I mean?  I can take bits from it and make my own meaning, I have highlighted what I think is relevant to me.  The origin of the words seems the best of all – ‘to carry from below’.

So now I have set out what it means to me, which part my idea of support is relevant to writing these posts?

……..Right now I have forgotten what was in my head that I wanted to write about! Oh yes…

Writing is supportive to me because it is the cathartic emptying of my thoughts and the discarding of them.  Words, sentences, pages often spin around my mind in a confusing whirlwind and this jumble of words makes no sense to me until I have ‘emptied’ them out on to a page.  Once I have done that they are gone although they are replaced with the next lot of thoughts.  My head is NEVER empty, foggy yes, but still a scrapyard of thoughts, or worms as I call them.

DM flyerIt is important for me to separate out what support means to me and I think know that is about ‘understanding’ for me.   Another person living with Alzheimer’s/Dementia can understand all the little bits of brokenness that others may not see and although you ignore them, they silently eat away at you nevertheless.  I am so thankful that the broken bits are small still and I can continue to live relatively normally.   But, support comes from simply chatting to another person with dementia and knowing you are not alone.  That type of support is a two way act; talking about how you overcome daily things, such as how to remember to take medication etc, you get different ideas and they get different ideas.  Feeling alone is another part of dementia that  can be there and makes no sense at all.

More and more the meaning of words becomes significant to me because the semantics of a sentence can throw me totally – what did they mean by that?  Was that meant literal or metaphysically?   That is where my comprehension is increasingly impaired as I am struggling to discern the difference between the two.  When is a joke not a joke?  I don’t always know any more.  I am finding it important to have things said to me, or explained to me in simple words with a full explanation as I cannot always guess the other bits.

One of the reasons that I ‘catalogue’ anything new publicly is to hopefully educate as many as I can about the world of living with Alzheimer’s and Dementia.  Maybe I feel that I am on some kind of mission, if so the very act of writing this is supporting me by getting rid of the worms in my head  🙂    I read somewhere that the need to write can be part of a symptom of damage to the frontal lobe which would make sense to me as I have an underdeveloped frontal lobe of my brain.

The second reason is that I am totally fascinated by the psychology of the disease.  I can’t recall any details of studying dementia at University as part of my Psychology degree, all I can remember is studying aphasia (Wikipedia – Aphasia  is a disturbance of the comprehension and expression of language caused by dysfunction in the brain).  I remember sitting in the medical library at Leicester Royal Infirmary and reading up on all kinds of cognitive disfunctions and thinking how lucky I was to be able to access these wonderfully detailed books.   I can recall some of my knowledge of cognitive functions and I find I can apply it to my own cognitive impairments.  Should I be so fascinated by my own slow decline?  Hell yes, whilst I can, I will.

Punctuation malfunction in my brain and my increasing fear of commas.

There are days when I notice my Alzheimer’s seems to be a bit worse and try to remember to record it for my Alzheimer’s Journey.

So, I will get an apology out the way first – sorry if my grammar and punctuation is all over the place but today my brain cells have gone on strike.

Cats woke us up extremely early at 6.30am – little darlings (smiling through clenched teeth :))) ), and I settled in my chair with my coffee to start reading a new book.

Right from the start I found I couldn’t understand the sentence because those pesky little tadpole commas seemed to be in the wrong place.  I read the first paragraph again slowly but it really did not make much difference.  As you know a comma in the incorrect place can put a totally different meaning on sentence but today for me, every comma seems incorrect.

As I write now I am having great difficulty in knowing if I am putting commas in the correct place and it has suddenly become a real issue.  I have no idea why I am stressing about it so much because if I stop maybe the fear of commas will just fade away again!

I am also misspelling words more frequently.  Being a touch typist I have no mental idea where my fingers are on the keyboard; I think and they transfer my thoughts by themselves.  If I had to think about where the keys are or how to form words I would fail to write anything.   Lately what I think is not what my fingers are typing, how can that be?  It is as if the diseased part of my brain has taken on an identity of its own, one which may be a little dyslexic and mischievous.  I can see words forming on the page that I have not even thought about and not even Freudian slips, but words that are incongruous.

I think sometimes that my macbook changes the words as I type and I fail to notice it which leads me on to how I read.

I am finding it really hard to read what I have written and with short term memory problems I usually have no idea what I have written minutes after writing it, so if it gets mixed up on the page I wouldn’t necessarily remember what I was trying to say.  When I am reading it back I am constantly questioning my grammar and punctuation but often than not I have no idea any more if it is correct.

I gave up trying to read my book earlier and thought I would surf the net.  I will read my own blogs from time to time because I don’t always remember what I have written and have a need to check that I have not made any major gaffs.  So, I looked at my latest book review – Broken Monsters, and was horrified to see that it was all over the place with spelling mistakes.  I am sure I proof read it before I posted it but guess now that I cannot trust my own ability to do so, which is why I  go back and re-read it the day after.

It makes me feel so embarrassed to make these mistakes for all to see because it somehow makes me less literate than I used to be (was I ever that literate!).

Dementia is such an insidious disease which is less understood than it should be.   As you can see I am not in the middle or later stages, but at an early stage so I am very aware of these small changes which I cannot do anything about.

Do you judge a blog by its grammar and punctuation?   I used to but now I understand that it is what people are struggling to say that is more important, but are people less likely to read a blog that has grammatical errors in even if the content is interesting?

 

Exercise resumed..sort of!

It hasn’t stopped raining.   No chance to walk round the marina where I live, but Tuesdays is Hydro Active (therapy) days at the Derby Royal Hospital in lovely warm water.  We set off checking our post as we left and I was pleased to receive my new pedometer.  I did thirty minutes of specific exercises in the pool to work the muscles and joints that have been complaining and asked if I could get weighed whilst I was there as I had no idea what my weight was.  Young Olly one of the physios showed me to a room where I could weigh myself and we discussed what was the best way to go about losing weight when you are unable to do much exercise, and have IBS with specific dietary restrictions.   Lovely guy, and really positive too with helpful information.

Afterwards, hubby and I go into town to do a bit of window shopping or real shopping so with my pedometer primed and clipped to my clothes we set off.  After an excrutiating afternoon of walking round, we headed off home with two new Apple Mac Pro’s, and I found I had done nearly 9000 steps – not bad I thought.

Today I have clipped my pedometer on and have just been sorting things out in the boat; at 6′ wide and with only roughly 40′ to walk in I am not holding out much hope of many steps today!   Not to worry, I have weighed my food and added it to my fitness app on my phone.  Yesterday I had 800 calories including wine, so how the heck I am 13stone amazes me!  I don’t think I will be eating much more today, just the usual salad or veg with a bit of meat.  I think I may need to try and balance out some foods a bit more.

Next week at Hydro, I shall be weighing myself, after my pool exercises obviously and will have hopefully lost some weight. I have a few ‘love it’ clothes that I hope to get back in to 🙂

Losing weight..keeping fit

I have been trying to lose weight which is hard when you don’t feel like you can walk far.  So, I decided to be proactive with reducing my calories whilst increasing my exercise.  Easy you say, not really because I have fibromyalgia as well as Alzheimer’s disease which both affect the ability to be active, but I decided that I could start slowly and build up.  So, day one, I roughly calculated my calorie intake and walked around the marina at a brisk walk where I live.  Day two, again keeping my calorie intake around 1000 kc, I walked further round the marina, coming back and falling asleep in the chair outside our boat on the pontoon!   Feeling good about the exercise, and knowing that if I keep going I shall start to lose some weight and be fitter and healthier.

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Wheat and Gluten: Rise of Ceoliac disease

It seems that Coeliacs disease is on the rise, both here in the UK and in the US.  I see that many say that it hasn’t got anything to do with ‘breeding wheat’, but could be that we eat more wheat based products:  bread etc.

Building a better wheat crop.

 

 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-27339919

Today the BBC News says;

The number of people diagnosed in the UK with coeliac disease has increased fourfold between 1990 and 2011, a study suggests.

The autoimmune disease, triggered by a reaction to gluten – found in wheat, barley and rye – can cause severe symptoms.

It is treated by following a lifelong gluten-free diet.

Experts say they believe the increase is due to better diagnosis, rather than more people developing the condition.

Left untreated, coeliac disease can lead to infertility, osteoporosis and bowel cancer.

I am not a Coeliac, but I do have IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) and a fierce intolerance to gluten, and I wonder if intolerances have increased worldwide also?  

Did I start to increase my consumption of bread or cake?  No, I don’t think so I have never been a ‘heavy’ eater, and much prefer savoury to sweet things.  Give me a tasty vegetable snack any day over sugary cake.  

Is it because we have better diagnosis now?

The University of Nottingham research, published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology and funded by the patient groups Coeliac UK and CORE, looked at the GP data from 1990 to 2011 to see how many cases had been diagnosed.

It found the rate increased from 5.2 per 100,000 in 1990 to 19.1 per 100,000 in 2011.

 Quote

This is a diagnostic phenomenon, not an incidence phenomenon”

Dr Anthon EmmanuelConsultant gastroenterologist

Previous studies have suggested around 1% of the population would test positive for the condition – but the data from this study suggests only 0.25% are diagnosed.

Coeliac UK say this means many are unaware they have the condition.

So if the rise is due to better diagnosis, what is the reason for the intolerance/allergy in the first place?  If we agree that we have too much wheat in our diets, not only would we need to cut out bread, pastry and cake products, we would need to look at all the ingredients used in food manufacture because it is used as a thickener and a filler in a lot of ready made foods and condiments.

How wheat has changed over hundreds of years is phenomenal in our desire to have disease free, weather tolerant, high yielding plants and bears no resemblance to the original.  Does this manufactured wheat have a play in our gastrointestinal problems today?

I have no idea, I am not a scientist or a doctor, but I can read and form an opinion based on my own severe IBS problems.  I am also aware of how many products include this ‘bred wheat’ in its ingredients.