Alzheimer's patients and families: a slow descent into hell

Josette was only 66 years old in 2005 when her husband began to notice in his behavior "amazing things, anomalies. So one day, she contends that the tea towels are the napkins, and vice versa. What may seem anecdotal comes first loss of landmarks in the directions to follow, at some car journeys it is lost. The death of his mother, says Michel, will rush things: "The shock of the death of his mother has amplified the abnormal behavior. One day, she wanted to throw everything that had belonged to her mother the next day it was touch anything. And it was all confused, irrational, they felt a loss of contact with the logic. "

"The verdict is in."

All these elements combined, added to others, bring Michael to propose to his wife to go for a memory test at the hospital. He refused by Josette is a woman of character, and it does not bend easily. It took him a year before accepting, and even Michel also going there this test, "for cause". Diagnosis ("The verdict," said Michel), is unambiguous: Josette is suffering from Alzheimer's disease.

"Here is the first test. Tell him the truth. It collapsed. There was already talk enough Alzheimer's disease in 2006, to know that it was an evil with no alternative," said Michel. Josette will begin a specific treatment accompanied by a mild antidepressant and alongside the couple a lot of walking, talking, doing memory exercises. But soon, Josette will regress, losing interest in favorite activities, painting and reading, cutting themselves off from reality, locked in memories of the past, speaking more and more of his childhood and its grandmother when she walks away from everyday life.

The disease continues to rise in various forms. Josette is a woman that her husband had always been described as "temperamental loner." Alzheimer's disease makes it even more resistant to the presence of others, Michel can not give it to someone to keep him company.

"We lost 24 hours"

One day she ran away. "I let him maximum freedom, I do not want to confine him, but she started to run away. On several occasions we have lost and found disoriented, we had to call the police. The last time it was a December 30, at our son, she disappeared for 24 h. It was hell, "remembers Michael. Which, from that time, will raise the wall surrounding his house.

Michael deals only with his wife. She refuses attendance external assistance at home, it does not impose the same nurse for the toilet, because he thinks she will find it humiliating. Modestly, he says a daily fact of anxiety and vigilance at all times: "There is pain to see this slow change in the physical and intelligence to see that after 49 years of marriage all activities that we had in common stop. And then we live in continual fear, we are always on guard, even at home. Finally, we are faced with two challenges: first, the impossibility to allow him any freedom on the other hand, the extreme fatigue that is to live well, 24 h on 24 and 7 / 7, without the slightest breath. "

This breathing, Michel will find when it will be integrated into the shelter Josette therapeutic day Grand Plane: "These people are really necessary to ease the burden of families. And every patient contact is custom, they are competent and available. They really help us live. "

"When patience runs out"

Unfortunately, even if the days that pass in the Grand Josette Sycamore are pretty positive too, so it shows aggression it should take adequate treatment. For Michael, the hard ordeal: "We must negotiate for everything: taking the drugs that we get to the figure or found in flower pots, toilets, clothing, meals ... Everything altered, no longer the emotional, the world shrinks, we can not do anything. And it uses ". But Michael will continue to support Josette, until the time between all painful, where the feeling of helplessness take over: "When one loses the ability to remain calm in all circumstances, that patience runs out, we know that we reached the limits of his personal abilities. So, a question arises: would it not be better in a different environment where she would be surrounded by people who specialize? " After spending two weeks in a facility Cerdanya, Josette is now at another institution, temporary accommodation in bed and wait for that Michael, it recognizes when he visits him, come and get to end of the month. Then, a place should definitely be free for Josette. Michel and conclude with this terrible sentence: "When we take the decision to put someone you love deeply in a house is to a lesser degree as if we asked the doctor to remove the sick" .

And you understand that Alzheimer's is still more victims: one who is suffering, and those who love him.

ALZHEIMER'S: A derivative of tobacco cons memory loss
Posted: 30 Apr 2011 9:11 PM PDT
This is the Cotinine, a compound derived from tobacco that reduces the development of amyloid plaques associated with dementia in Alzheimer's disease. Rather than nicotine! This discovery, combined with good safety profile of this compound in humans, makes it a very interesting possible treatment of Alzheimer's disease. These findings are echoed in the online edition of the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease

This study by researchers at the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System and University and Florida led to the discovery of a compound that protects neurons, prevents the progression of Alzheimer's disease, improves memory and demonstrated its safety, according to Prof. Valentina Echeverria, lead author and assistant professor of molecular medicine at the University of Florida. "It appears that cotinine acts on several aspects of Alzheimer's pathology in a mouse model. For though the current drugs to treat Alzheimer's disease may help delay the onset of symptoms, no one can stop final development of the disease or fails to reverse the process. In addition, these drugs have undesirable side effects.

Nicotine, no! Some epidemiological studies have shown that smokers tend to have a lower incidence of Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease. These studies have largely attributed this apparently beneficial effect, nicotine, and suggested that it could improve memory and help reduce Alzheimer's plaques in mice. However, the well known adverse effects of nicotine, such as cardiovascular and addictive properties make it a poor drug candidate, even for neurodegenerative diseases.

And cotinine? So the team from USF decided to examine the effects of cotinine, a derivative of the main nicotine metabolism in mice with Alzheimer's. Cotinine is non-toxic and more durable than nicotine. In addition, its safety has already been demonstrated in clinical trials on humans to evaluate the benefit in relieving symptoms of smoking cessation.

The researchers administered cotinine daily for 5 months to young adult mice genetically engineered to develop memory problems similar to those of Alzheimer's disease. At the end of the study, after 5 months, mice Alzheimer's disease treated with cotinine perform better on memory tasks mobilizate the untreated control mice. A long-term treatment with cotinine appears to provide complete protection against loss of spatial memory and performance are identical to those of normal mice without dementia.

The mouse brain "Alzheimer" processed by cotinine has a 26% reduction in deposits of amyloid plaques that are characteristic of Alzheimer's disease. Cotinine has also inhibits the accumulation of amyloid peptides that precede the development of plaques in the brain. Finally, the researchers found that cotinine stimulates a signaling factor, Akt, which promotes neuronal survival and enhances attention and memory.

The researchers therefore suggest that cotinine may be effective in preventing cognitive decline when administered to persons with disabilities prior to Alzheimer's disease or in those with mild cognitive impairment.

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