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Alzheimer's Disease and the Speech-Language Pathologist

Alzheimer's Disease in terms of speech therapy.

T.E. Barcenas

on 17 April 2013

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Transcript of Alzheimer's Disease and the Speech-Language Pathologist

Alzheimer's Disease Presented by Teresa Bárcenas Distinguishing Alzheimer's Disease Treatment of Alzheimer's Disease Treatments? Role of the Speech-Language Pathologist How Can We Help? Communication Problems Stages of Alzheimer's Disease Symptoms of Dementia What is Dementia? What Happens in AD? Prevalence Dementia:
Alzheimer's Disease A group of symptoms related to memory loss and overall cognitive impairment, in which most types of dementias only get worse and are not reversible. The prevalence of Alzheimer’s will quadruple by 2050 worldwide.

This means that about 100 million people will be affected by then (Nabar et al, 2012). Two abnormal structures called plaques and tangles are prime suspects in damaging and killing nerve cells.

Plaques are deposits of a protein fragment called beta-amyloid that build up in the spaces between nerve cells.

Tangles are twisted fibers of another protein called tau that build up inside cells. Memory loss
Language and Communication Problems
General confusions, disorientation in time and/or place
Difficulty with abstract thinking/lapses with judgment
Difficulty performing familiar activity
Behavior and personality changes Aphasia
A deficit in speaking, reading, writing, and listening.
Aphasic people understand what is told to them better than when try to talk or write to others. Alzheimer’s is an irreversible disorder and will only worsen as time progresses.

The only way to live a life with someone with Alzheimer’s is to help them live to the fullest of his or her capabilities. The 2005 ASHA position statement states that "SLPs play a primary role in the screening, assessment, diagnosis, treatment, and research of swallowing disorders associated with dementia." Alzheimer’s is mostly common in older adults, but may occur earlier.

Nonetheless, the goal of treatment is to maintain a certain level of cognition in the patient, not actually teach him or her new things as it is seen when dealing with younger patients. Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most common cause of the dementias, as well as the most researched of them.

The main reason for it being considerably researched is that Alzheimer’s disease affects up to 70% of those diagnosed with the symptoms of dementia. Alzheimer's Disease Apraxia
The inability to initiate complex learned motor movements.
For example, the Alzheimer's patient may imitate an activity, but is unable to perform it himself. ASHA recommends repeating key information to keep the patient focused in the conversation at hand, reminding the patient about his or her scheduled events, and keeping questions short and simple or services are the best. References Alzheimer's Association. (2013). What is Alzheimer's? [Fact sheet]. Retrieved March 2, 2013, from http://www.alz.org/alzheimers_disease_what_is_alzheimers.asp

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. (2013). Dementia [Fact sheet]. Retrieved February 28, 2013, from ASHA.org website: http://www.asha.org/public/speech/ disorders/dementia/

Feyereisen, P., Berrewaerts, J., & Hupet, M. (2007). Pragmatic skills in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease: An analysis by means of a referential communication task. International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders, 42(1), 1-17. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13682820600624216

Harvard Medical School. (2013). Can we reverse Alzheimer's? New approaches from Harvard offer hope. Harvard Health Letter, 38(3), 2-8.

Hays, S.-J., Niven, B. E., Godfrey, H. P.D., & Linscott, R. J. (2004). Clinical assessment of pragmatic language impairment: A generalisability study of older people with Alzheimer's disease. Aphasiology, 18(8), 693-714. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/026

Hough, M. S., & Givens, G. D. (2004). Word fluency skills in dementia of the Alzheimer's type for common and goal-directed categories.
Aphasiology, 18(4), 357-372. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0268703044000011

Marczinski, C. A., & Kertesz, A. (2006). Category and letter fluency in semantic dementia, primary progressive aphasia, and Alzheimer’s disease. Brain and Language, 97, 258-265.

Morse, A. R., Teresi, J., Rosenthal, B., Holmes, D., & Yatzkan, E. S. (2004). Visual acuity assessment in persons with dementia. Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness, 560-566.

Müller, N., & Guendouzi, J. (2005). Order and disorder in conversation: Encounters with dementia of the Alzheimer's type. Clinical Linguistics & Phonetics, 19(5), 393-404. http://dx.doi.org/ 10.1080/0269 9200400027213

Nabar, N. R., Yuan, F., Lin, X., Wang, L., Bai, G., Mayl, J., . . . Cao, C. (2012). Cell therapy: A safe and efficacious therapeutic treatment for Alzheimer's disease in APP+PS1 mice. PLOS ONE, 7(12), 1-17. http://dx.doi.org/ 10.1371/journal.pone.0049468

Rousseaux, M., Renier, J., Anicet, L., Pasquier, F., & Mackowiak-Cordoliani, M. A. (2012). Gesture comprehension, knowledge and production in Alzheimer's disease. European Journal of Neurology, 19, 1037-1044. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-1331.2012.03674.x

Savundranayagam, M. Y., Ryan, E. B., Anas, A. P., & Orange, J. B. (2007). Communication and dementia: Staff perceptions of conversational strategies. Clinical Gerontologist, 31(2), 47-63. http://dx.doi.org/10.1300/J018v31n02_04

Shune, S., & Duff, M. C. (2012). Verbal play as an interactional discourse resource in early stage Alzheimer's disease. Aphasiology, 26(6), 811-825. Retrieved from Academic Search Premier database. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02687038.2011.650626

Welsh, S. W., Corrigan, F. M., & Scott, M. (1996). Language impairment and aggression in Alzheimer's disease. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 11, 257-261. Retrieved from Academic Search Premier database. Scientists do not know exactly what role plaques and tangles play in Alzheimer's disease.

Most experts believe they somehow play a critical role in blocking communication among nerve cells and disrupting processes that cells need to survive.
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