Amazing Grace: Enjoying Alzheimer's !

the mission: to give sufferers and carers an alternative to drugs

Prison Health PDF  | Print |  E-mail

ww.thelancet.com  Vol373  February 14, 2009

Prison health Up to 90% of inmates in UK prisons have at least one mental-health disorder, and 10% gave a serious mental-health problem, according to a report by the Prison Reform Trust.  The report says that such inmates receive unsatisfactory tratment and that care rather than incarceration could help to relieve pressure on the nation's overcrowded jails.

Hope Through Knowledge (SAGB) PDF  | Print |  E-mail

A recent study

 One of the most important articles recently published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, July 2002: 181:22-8, was that by C B Gesch et al on the Influence of Supplementary Vitamins, Minerals and Essetnial Fatty Acids on the Anti-social Behaviour of Young Adult Prisoners. Randomised, Placebo-controlled Trial.

The researchers in the Laboratory of Physiology at Oxford University aimed to test if physiologically adequate intakes of vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids cause a reduction in anto-social behaviour. 'An experimental double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomised trial of nutritional supplements on 231 young adult prisoners, comparing disciplinary offences before and during supplementation' was set up.  The conclusions of the trial were that 'anti-social behaviours in prisons, including violence, are reduced by vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids with similar implications for those eating poor diets in the Community.'

 It is becoming increasingly obvious that drugs, and in particular Neuroleptic mind altering drugs, are not useful in most cases of dementia based illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease. Recent research by Kings College suggests that these drugs do not work and that those given prescribed mood altering drugs are twice as likely to die earlier.

So where does that leave both Alzheimer’s sufferers and their carers? What say do they have their treatment? All too often treatment is taken out of their hands and patients are automatically given (even against their wishes) neuroleptic drugs, sedation, muscle relaxants and laxatives, prescribed in such high doses that patients become catatonic. They can be left in this virtually unconscious state needing little care until it is their turn to be fed (if they can be woken up), washed and put to bed.

But is this right? Shouldn’t physicians, care homes and institutions be thinking in terms of a better quality of life for their patients than merely keeping them unresponsive, and controllable? Some do, but all too often drugs are the easiest option. Whilst conditions in no way compare with those of some Rumanian orphanages of the last century where babies and toddlers were left to exist in a deplorable state in their cots because of lack of funds, staff, facilities and political neglect, is this country so very different in its treatment of the old mentally infirm? Is it not true that mental illness is on the bottom rung of the UK health care ladder? Dementia and other mental health issues are not talked about so do not attract adequate funding for research, accommodation, care or treatment. It does not attract the media. It isn’t ‘sexy’ and it is certainly not on the political agenda. No votes there then!

Where is the quality of life for Alzheimer’s sufferers as their minds slowly die? We should be caring for them as human beings needing mental stimulation, a healthy diet full of vitamins and minerals, gentle exercise and music — basic qualities of life. Such a regime as this can, in very many cases, give patients is far better quality of life than dosing them up with sedatives, muscle relaxants and mind altering drugs the moment they show any signs of normal expression. The inclusion of significant amounts of vitamins including C, the B’s and E have a very calming effect when combined with a diet high in Omega 3, fruit and vegetables. This has been proved over and over again from research throughout the world, but we continue to ignore it, relying instead on quick fix drugs.

These neuroleptic drugs can cause brain damage and speech deterioration but they are prescribed regardless. Those taking control of treatment should be trying to find out first what helps a patient at his/ her particular stage of the disease rather then automatically prescribing drugs because ‘that is what it says on the tin’. Those in charge of EMI (Elderly Mental Infirm) units need to listen to patients and their relatives and get away from the current, but Victorian ‘Bedlam’, attitude to Alzheimer’s. There is an overwhelming need to treat patients as individuals for as long as possible before this dreadful disease finally kills so many brain cells that sufferers no longer have any control over their movements or functions.

Ray Smith April 2007
Role of the essential fatty acids omega-3 and omega-6 in Alzheimer disease (Judy Douch) PDF  | Print |  E-mail
  Studies in the 1970s showed that arachnidonic acid (AA — an omega-6 fatty acid) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA — an omega-3 fatty acid) were very important in the development of infant brains. Both AA and DHA were found in mothers’ milk but not in formula milk.
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