NeuroHealth: Our brains, spines, nerves & minds are all connected. Now you can connect to the latest info from the University of Michigan’s neuro & mental health specialists, and neuroscientists, all in one place.
Paul continues to see improvements in his abilities and credits the skilled physicians and staff at U-M MedRehab.
The MedRehab program is celebrating 25 years of service. Paul and Joan Christensen shared how Paul was able to recover after an unexpected stroke put him in the hospital.
Paul: I had a stroke when I was 59. I was not a candidate for stroke, being a non-smoker who exercised regularly and was in good health, so it was definitely a complete surprise. The stroke resulted in left side paralysis and I was unable to walk at first. I was originally admitted to St. Joe’s Hospital in Pontiac, but I wanted to come back to Ann Arbor for outpatient care. U-M is our home hospital, and we wanted to come back to where our doctors were.
As you gather for Thanksgiving and winter holidays, you might notice that Grandma, Aunt Betty or Uncle Sal seems to struggle more with memory, or thinking, than she or he did last year.
Rather than chalk it up to normal aging, new U-M research suggests you might want to gently suggest they get it checked out by their doctor.
In fact, as many as half of seniors who have these symptoms have never had it checked out fully, new research finds. Dr. Vikas Kotagal, a U-M neurologist who led the new study, says families should encourage seniors with even early signs of memory loss to talk to their doctor.
Well-being is at greater risk for care partners in dementia care primarily because it requires recognizing, identifying and responding to what can be an extremely insidious shift in roles, relationships and responsibilities. Emerging care partners are learning to respond to an illness that cannot be seen while being simultaneously assaulted by the stigma that often comes with a diagnosis of memory loss. Unlike other age-related illness, Alzheimer’s and other related dementias can result in enormous shifts in personal identity, in addition to how a couple and a family function privately and socially. Consider the following suggestions for cultivating well-being while care partnering:
ONE: Use the word care partner more; see how this impacts perception. Adults living with memory loss will thank you for it. You may thank you for it. Continue reading →
“A partner paradigm strengthens our interconnectedness and can bring more awareness to the kindness and support that is right under our nose.”
When do you realize you are a family caregiver? Responses in my experience range from the darkly humorous to the completely visceral, such as: “When my husband started calling me ‘mom.’” Emerging caregivers are often not new to caregiving at all, but rather isolated from the pack. This delays significant steps toward caregiver support and activities that contribute to well-being and caregiver identity, such as joining groups for information, support, stress reduction or counseling. There may also be significant resistance to the word “caregiver” and associated activities. It can feel one-sided and lonely; a loaded word fraught with fear, judgment from friends and comparisons to other family members who may have carried this title in the past.
Emerging as a caregiver can be an uncomfortable and vulnerable time, a trust free-fall. A sense of loss and disappointment is completely natural. Continue reading →
Sami Barmada, M.D., Ph.D., is a scientist, lecturer, and clinician in the University of Michigan Cognitive Disorders Program. He was recently in the news for the discoveries that he made in the laboratory with his colleagues in California and the United Kingdom. Their research findings focused on a protein, TDP43, which accumulates in the brains of individuals with ALS and dementia. We had a chance to sit down with Dr. Barmada to understand more about the connection between ALS, dementia and other related diseases.
You are a clinician in the U-M Cognitive Disorders Program but your research focuses on ALS. Are cognitive disorders related to ALS?
The short answer is yes. Years ago, we believed that ALS was a disorder that only affected movement, Continue reading →
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