resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
New Medical Technologies You Need to Know
We're all familiar with how fast computers become obsolete, as well as the rapid pace of development in the field of cell phone technology. The latest smart phones are far more powerful than desktop computers were only a few years ago.
Immunizations by Colorado DCs: Really?
You probably didn't hear about it, but back on Nov. 21, 2013, the Board of Directors of the Colorado Chiropractic Association (CCA) adopted "immunization authority" for Colorado DCs as its No. 2 legislative goal.
Coding for the Subluxation: ICD-9 vs. ICD-10
When I attended chiropractic school, I was taught that chiropractors approach health care differently than the traditional medical establishment.
Physical Exam 101: The Hands
I am sure you are familiar with the old adage: "When the only tool in your toolbox is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail."
Medical Qigong for the Heart: Part III
Part 1 and Part II of this series focused on the physical aspect of the Heart and mental emotional aspects of the Heart respectively. Now, I would like to focus on the spiritual aspect of the Heart.
Finders Keepers: The Secret to Relationship-Based Marketing
Becoming a successful practitioner has less to do with what you learned in school, and more to do with your ability to find new patients and keep them!
Peer Points: Always Seeking To Grow
Ellen "Kiki" Geary has spent the last decade honing her craft. As a specialist in integrative holistic care, she went straight from completing her master's degree in acupuncture and chinese herbal medicine from Bastyr University to building a successful and thriving practice in the small community of Anacortes, Washington.
Vaccines and Chiropractic: Evidence-Based Medicine or Medical Dogma?
Right or wrong, the chiropractic profession has historically been against vaccinations. However, a growing trend within the profession is seeking to reverse this position.
The Science of Stretching
In 1986, Rob DeCastella set a course record by running the Boston Marathon in 2:07:51, just 39 seconds off the world record.
A Guide for Talking to Doctors about Acupuncture and Brain Chemistry
Before I begin any discussion of how to talk about the effects of acupuncture on brain chemistry, nervous and endocrine function, it is essential to understand just what physicians most need help with.
By the Numbers: 3 Common Financial Mistakes With Major Consequences
Warren Buffett is on record for sharing the hidden art of becoming wealthy and making it simple enough for anyone to grasp.
Fibromyalgia: Put the Pain in Its Place
While some fibromyalgia patients respond favorably to regular chiropractic care, others experience minimal relief. Unfortunately, many of these patients must rely on pharmacological management to relieve their constant pain.
Building From the Bottom Up
I caught up with my dear friend Honora Wolfe, in her Colorado painting studio where, if she is not praying in Bhutan or doing charitable work in a Nepali free clinic, she spends most of her time now.
Curbing Label Overwhelm
For the average consumer, reading a food package can be overwhelming: natural, organic, non-GMO, gluten free, free range ... you get the picture.
A History Worth Telling
The popularity and the use of acupuncture for the treatment of animals in the United States is at its peak.
Remembering Clarence Gonstead and 50 Years of the Gonstead Clinic
Dr. Clarence Selmer Gonstead (1898-1978) took chiropractic practice from back-alley bone setting to an understandable biomechanical science. His life was dedicated to clinical competency.
Knee Pain From the Kinetic Chain
As practitioners of manual medicine, chiropractors often treat patients suffering from knee pain.
Are You a Bad Chiropractic Patient?
My father was a great DC. In fact, as you might expect, he was the doctor of chiropractic I measured all other doctors against. Sadly, he died at age 61 when I was in my early 30s.
A Chinese Medicine Story: An Interview with Mazin Al-Khafaji
Mazin Al-Khafaji's work has interested me for years. In February 2014, we invited him for the second time to speak at the Southwest Symposium in Austin, Texas.
Why You Should Include the Single-Leg Stance Test in Every Patient Assessment
The single-leg stance (SLS) test, also known as the single-limb stance test, unipedal stance test or one-legged stance / balance test, is often used in the geriatric population to assess static postural and balance control.
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.
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