resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Energy: For Life and For Death
Energy is a deep topic in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Qi is understood to underlie all of existence, animated or not, and the qi of the living is studied with special attention.
Designing a Fitness Plan (Part 4): Blending Pain Relief With Healthy Aging
Pain relief is still the No. 1 reason patients come to my office. However, most of my patients have other goals as well, such as: "I want to lose 10 to 20 pounds"; "I feel old and want to slow down the aging process"; "My doctor says I am becoming a diabetic and need to exercise"; or "I'm tired and want more energy."
Excited to Share the Science of Chiropractic: An Interview With Dr. Heidi Haavik
Dr. Heidi Haavik has become known in the circle of chiropractic researchers as not only a rising star, but also one willing to do research that can have a major impact in the scientific world and how chiropractic is perceived.
The Value of Melatonin in Breast Cancer Prevention and Adjunctive Treatment
Although melatonin (MLT) is best known for its sleep-aid properties and as a natural remedy to prevent jet lag, extensive experimental studies suggest it possesses anticancer activity through several biological mechanisms.
NCCAOM Launches New Membership Organization
The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) recently launched a new national membership organization, the NCCAOM Academy of Diplomates.
Day in the Life of an Advanced-Practice DC
Can you tell us a little about your background in the profession? Why did you want to become a DC? I studied at Boston University from 1968-1972 as a pre-med student majoring in biology.
How Many of Your Patients Have Sarcopenia?
Figure 1 demonstrates the typical appearance of sarcopenia in the paravertebral muscles. Have you considered evaluating your patients for this problem? Sarcopenia is the progressive loss of skeletal muscle mass and function that affects the older population.
Transparency is Key at ASA First Annual Meeting
On March 4th and 5th the American Society of Acupuncturists (ASA) held a successful first annual meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Roots in the Community, Branches Far Beyond
The Jung Tao School of Classical Chinese Medicine (JTS) was founded in 1998 by Sean Christian Marshall in Sugar Grove, North Carolina, a small community near Boone in the state's westernmost mountains.
Let's Streamline Your Front Desk
Your front office can be your greatest source of efficiency or a constant bottleneck. Increasing the productivity of this area without sacrificing the quality of patient interaction can be a little tricky.
F4CP Launches New Social Media Campaign
The Foundation for Chiropractic Progress has launched a new service to help member doctors: a social media campaign called "Accelerator."
Filling the Gap: The Role of Alternative Practitioners in a Broken Health Care System
I have been asked many times what got me into alternative medicine. My answer is simple: I want to truly help and make a difference in people's health.
An Alarming Lack of Accountability
Accountability seems to be a lost quality today. The simple act of taking responsibility and doing the right thing just doesn't happen as often as it should. Maybe it is the litigious nature of our society.
Identify & Adjust the Apex Posterior Sacrum
Low back pain involving an apex posterior sacrum (+θX-axis misalignment) typically presents with signs of lumbosacral joint impingement or facet syndrome.
The Art of Listening
One of the most important clinical concepts for me was voiced by the legendary physician William Osler. "Listen to your patient, he/she is telling you the diagnosis." After treating literally thousands of patients, it can become almost second nature to quickly discover clues which reveal the underlying diagnosis.
Health and Wellness Partnership
Yo San University of Traditional Chinese Medicine and The Wellness Center at the LAC + USC Historic General Hospital recently joined forces to extend care to the residents of Boyle Heights area of Los Angeles.
An Interview with Amanda Shayle
JW: Can you share with us some of your history and how you became an acupuncturist? What did you do prior to becoming an acupuncturist? Where did you go to school?
Specialized Pro-Resolving Mediators: 21st Century Inflammation Fighters
Specialized pro-resolving mediators, or SPMs, are a portion of the omega-3 fatty-acid spectrum that have been shown to have a powerful effect on reducing inflammation.
Building Relationships and Referral Networks with Allopathic Practitioners
Dr. Doug, an orthopedist of 20 years, had heard stories from patients who tried acupuncture. While he was able to address many of their complaints effectively, some appeared to gain additional benefit when their care included TCM.
The Rest of the Patient Story
I've written previously about allowing a patient to tell you their story – about taking the time to listen and engage all the aspects of their case history, the injury in question, and the related issues.
Asking Patients the Right Questions
When was the last time you asked a patient a question? Maybe 30 seconds ago? But, are you asking the right questions to elicit valuable and useful information? As a healthcare provider, you've likely spent hundreds of hours learning to ask the right questions to gather critical health information from your patients.
Constructing Our Reality: The Primary Channels and Perception, Part 1
My favorite topic of discussion within Chinese medicine is the acupuncture channel systems. First of all, each of us have them. They are part of our bodies; not something external to us. To learn about the acupuncture channels is to learn about ourselves.
News in Brief
Northwestern Student Honored for Addressing Concussions Head-On; Northwestern Announces New CFO; Life U. to Provide Unique Opportunity.
January, 2011, Vol. 11, Issue 01
Understanding Alzheimer's Part 1
By Ann Catlin, LMT, NCTMB, OTR
You don't have to look too far to find a person with Alzheimer's disease (AD) or someone caring for a family member with this devastating condition. While teaching massage therapists about working with people with Alzheimer's disease, common questions - and misperceptions - emerge.Sound information gives us a foundation from which to act and increases our comfort level to serve this special population. In this two-part series, I'll answer some of these questions and explore the shared human experience of living with Alzheimer's disease.
What's the difference between dementia and Alzheimer's disease?
People sometimes use the term "Alzheimer's" to describe any kind of cognitive impairment. Some believe that Alzheimer's is a normal part of growing old. Neither is quite accurate. According to the Alzheimer's Association:
"Dementia is a general term meaning loss of memory and other intellectual abilities serious enough to interfere with daily life. There are many diseases that result in dementia, including cerebral vascular accident (stroke), metabolic disorders and brain tumors, although Alzheimer's disease is the most common. Alzheimer's disease is a progressive brain disorder that damages and eventually destroys brain cells, leading to loss of memory, thinking and other brain functions. AD is not a part of normal aging, but results from a complex pattern of abnormal changes."
What causes AD?
In spite of years and dollars spent on research it still is not known what causes AD. While the exact cause remains unknown, what happens in the brain resulting in symptoms is clear to scientists. Brain damage gradually occurs due to complex cellular abnormalities called plaques and tangles. As the disease progresses, the brain tissue actually shrinks significantly.
Is AD hereditary?
There appears to be a genetic link in what's called "early-onset AD", which tends to run in families. Relatively rare (less than 10 percent of all AD cases), early-onset AD strikes people before age 65.
How is AD diagnosed?
Since there is no single medical test that definitively diagnoses AD, physicians rely on a battery of examinations. Interviewing the patient and family provides information about cognitive and behavioral changes and other symptoms. Initial medical tests will be conducted to rule out other possible causes for the dementia. For example, blood tests can detect hypothyroidism or vitamin B12 deficiency both of which can cause dementia in frail elders. Brain imaging tests reveal problems like blood clots or tumors. Common brain imaging tests include computerized tomography (CT scan) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Positron emission tomography (PET) measures brain activity and can detect plaque cell density. A neuropsychological exam may be prescribed. This is a complex set of tests that measures problem solving, memory and language skills. The physician finally takes all this information into account to diagnosis AD.
How does the disease progress?
It's important to note that no two people are alike when it comes to how the disease progresses. However, experts give us general guidelines. The Alzheimer's Association identifies seven stages of AD but it is simpler to categorize in terms of mild, moderate, and severe. AD develops slowly and gradually worsens as more brain cells shrink and die. Ultimately, the disease is fatal. A thorough account of the stages is too extensive for this article, but what follows is a general description offered by the American Health Assistance Foundation, which conducts AD research.
Stage 1 (mild): Early in the illness, those with Alzheimer's tend to be less energetic and spontaneous. They exhibit minor memory loss and mood swings, and are slow to learn and react. They may become withdrawn, avoid people and new places and prefer the familiar. Individuals become confused, have difficulty organizing and planning, get lost easily and exercise poor judgment. They may have difficulty performing routine tasks, and have trouble communicating and understanding written material. If the person is employed, memory loss may begin to affect job performance. They can become angry and frustrated.
Stage 2 (moderate): In this stage, the person with Alzheimer's is clearly becoming disabled. Individuals can still perform simple tasks independently, but may need assistance with more complicated activities. They forget recent events and their personal history, and become more disoriented and disconnected from reality. Memories of the distant past may be confused with the present, and affect the person's ability to comprehend the current situation, date and time. They may have trouble recognizing familiar people. Speech problems arise and understanding, reading and writing are more difficult, and the individual may invent words. They may no longer be safe alone and can wander. As Alzheimer's patients become aware of this loss of control, they may become depressed, irritable and restless or apathetic and withdrawn. They may experience sleep disturbances and have more trouble eating, grooming and dressing.
Stage 3 (severe): During this final stage, people may lose the ability to feed themselves, speak, recognize people and control bodily functions. Their memory worsens and may become almost non-existent. Constant care is typically necessary. In a weakened physical state, the patient may become vulnerable to other illnesses and respiratory problems, particularly when bedridden.
Are there drugs that slow the progression of AD?
In recent years, certain drugs have emerged as helpful in managing certain symptoms associated with AD. Drugs that help regulate neurotransmitters (e.g. Aricept) may help maintain cognitive and behavioral function for months or a few years but there is no drug that stops the progression of the disease.
How long can a person live with AD?
There are individual differences but generally survival is four to six years after being diagnosed and some people live much longer.
How prevalent is AD?
According to the Alzheimer's Association, there are currently 5.3 million people with AD in the United States and that number is expected to grow to 16 million by 2050.
Are most people with ad in nursing homes?
No. Actually about 70 percent of people with AD are cared for at home. That equals to a lot of our friends, colleagues and neighbors dealing with the consuming task of caregiving.
What support is available for families of people with AD?
Thankfully there is a great deal of support. Many communities offer caregiver support groups and local resources. A good place to start is your local area office on aging or your regional Alzheimer's Association office.
Massage therapists, with specialized training, have a great deal to offer to improve the quality of life of people with AD. In Part 2 of this series, I'll explore the specific benefits of sensitive massage and focused touch for the person living with AD as well as the human experience of AD.
Click here for more information about Ann Catlin, LMT, NCTMB, OTR.
Join the conversation
Comments are encouraged, but you must follow our User Agreementcomments powered by Disqus
Keep it civil and stay on topic. No profanity, vulgar, racist or hateful comments or personal attacks. Anyone who chooses to exercise poor judgement will be blocked. By posting your comment, you agree to allow MPA Media the right to republish your name and comment in additional MPA Media publications without any notification or payment.