Antidementia medication may improve survival in Alzheimer’s disease

Dr Christoph Mueller is an Academic Clinical Lecturer at the Department of Old Age Psychiatry at King’s College London. He and his co-authors published a paper on the influence of antidementia medication on survival in Alzheimer’s disease in Age and Ageing. He tweets at @DrChrisMueller

At present Acetylcholinesterase inhibitors, as Donepezil or Rivastigmine, are the only medications available for treatment of the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. They can slow down the progression of the illness and alleviate distressing symptoms. However, their benefits are modest and they can have side effects, such as a slow heartbeat, indigestion, weight loss or an increased risk of falls. Moreover, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease is the leading cause of death for men and women 80 years or older in England and Wales. We investigated whether being prescribed antidementia medication was associated with survival in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Continue reading

May issue of Age and Ageing out now

The May 2016 issue of Age and Ageing, the journal of the British Geriatrics Society is out now.

A full table of contents is available here, with editorials, research papers, reviews, short reports, case reports book reviews and more.

Hot topics this issue include:

  • Electronic frailty index
  • Exercise to reduce fear of falling
  • Involving care home residents in research
  • Patient knowledge of prescribed medicines
  • C-reactive protein, frailty and multimorbidity

The Editor’s View can be read here. Continue reading

A life-course perspective necessary to improve the health of older adults

Dorota Chapko is a PhD candidate in Public Health at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, and a graduate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with a double-major in Brain & Cognitive Sciences and in Anthropology. In this blog she discusses her recent Age & Ageing paper on the triad of impairment; she tweets at @dorotachapko

aaAlthough frailty is a central concept in clinical assessment of older people, there is no consensus definition. The concept is certainly multifactorial but physical components dominate. However, it is known that age-associated physical decline is likely to be accompanied by cognitive and emotional deficits. The ‘triad of impairment’ (triad) recognises the co-occurrence of cognitive, emotional and physical deficits in late-life and might be a useful alternative to ‘frailty’.

Identification of pathways to prolong healthy living and decrease the degree of frailty in old age will have benefits for individuals and society. Continue reading

Geographic variation of inpatient care costs at the end of life

aaClaudia Geue is a health economist at the University of Glasgow with a special interest in the pattern of healthcare utilisation and associated expenditure at the end of life. In this blog she discusses her recent Age & Ageing paper on healthcare costs.

We know that the last months of life are characterised by high healthcare costs, in particular when we look at the costs for hospital admissions. What is less clear though is the question whether there are any geographic variations in costs at the end of life.

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The eFI: a major advance in frailty care

Andrew_resized_2Andy Clegg is a senior lecturer at Leeds University, and a consultant geriatrician at Bradford Royal Infirmary. Here, he discusses his recent Age & Ageing paper on a new breakthrough in frailty care.

Frailty is a condition that is common in older age. It develops because as we get older our bodies change, and can lose their inbuilt reserves. These changes mean that older people with frailty can experience sudden, dramatic changes in their health when they have an illness or injury.

International guidelines recommend that frailty should be identified routinely so that a more holistic approach to care can be taken, and effective treatments provided. However, the main difficulty with identifying frailty routinely is that the tools that are available, such as measuring walking speed, grip strength, or frailty questionnaires require additional resource, and might be inaccurate.

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Bone health in older people: new Age and Ageing collection brings together leading research

aaA new collection of research published today by Age and Ageing, the scientific journal of the British Geriatrics Society, brings together some of the leading international research on bone health in older people.

Thirteen key papers were chosen for their originality and influence, with more than 350 citations in peer reviewed journals. They cover topics including kyphosis and vertebral fracture, predictors of fracture risk, frailty, environmental factors and exercise.

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Social Gerontology: How important is it for medical students?

aaSebastian Zaidman, Labib Hussain, Jack Lilly D’Cruz and William Yee Seng Tai all graduated from King’s College London in Summer 2015. In this blog, they discuss their recent Age and Ageinarticle, co-authored with Professort Anthea Tinker of KCL’s Institute of Gerontology, on the importance of social gerontology.

During our pre-clinical teaching at medical school, the rapidly escalating rates of age-related pathologies, Alzheimer’s Disease in particular, were a regular feature in lectures and tutorials alike. However, it wasn’t until our first clinical placements that we realised that a biomedical perspective of ageing would not suffice: to fully understand older patients’ medical conditions and to discuss best management and care options would necessitate a holistic view beyond the realm of a biomedical paradigm.

It is for this reason that we decided to take a year out of our medical studies to enrol on the Intercalated BSc programme at King’s College London.

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Substance misuse in older people

aaIn this blog, Professor Ilana Crome offers an introduction to the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ new information guide on substance misuse in older people; an editorial about the guide  by Prof. Crome appears in the July issue of Age and Ageing.

In 2015 the Royal College of Psychiatrists produced an Information Guide on the management of older substance misusers. This is in recognition of the rising numbers of older people in our communities and the increase in their use of substances. Older people appear as motivated to reduce or abstain – if not more so – than their younger counterparts. The health care system is unprepared for this problem partly because it is an invisible epidemic.

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