About this Research Topic
Worldwide, there are almost 25 million people who have dementia, and more than 65% of those have Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Other dementia syndromes include Parkinson’s disease (PDD), dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), vascular dementia (VaD), and frontotemporal dementia (FTD). The most frequent and difficult issues for most dementia caregivers and long-term care providers are those of managing behavioral symptoms, such as agitation, “sun-downing” and sleep disorders. These neuropsychiatric symptoms are common, and they often lead to the institutionalization of the dementia patient. This set of articles is aimed at summarizing pharmacological and non-pharmacological management approaches for dementia patients who have neuropsychiatric symptoms.
One goal of this article collection will be to review the most frequently encountered behavioral and medical “triggers” for agitated and aggressive behaviors that are common to most all dementing illnesses. We will discuss the concept of “sun-downing” and the methods used to prevent its appearance in dementia patients. We will review non-pharmacological ways to reduce agitation in Alzheimer’s patients (structured activities, regular exercise, exposure to morning sunlight, etc). Papers about the reduction of polypharmacy as a way of preventing agitation are welcome, as well as those about the management of agitated behaviors and delusions in patients with Parkinson’s disease with dementia and dementia with Lewy bodies. We also welcome articles discussing the medical management of sleep disorders to minimize agitation in demented patients, as well as those that address the issue of systematic pain management in long term care facilities. Papers on unique pharmacological approaches now available for controlling agitation, disinhibition, and repetitive behaviors in patients with frontotemporal dementia are also welcome. In the end, our goal will be for providers to have a “toolbox” of methods available to them for managing neuropsychiatric symptoms in clinic patients with dementia, as well as for managing residents of long term care facilities.
We also welcome submissions on the following topics:
• How do you assess an acutely agitated patient? What differential “checklist” is helpful to evaluate the acutely agitated patient and what early changes are needed?
• When PDD patients develop agitation or delusions, what changes are often needed in their PD drugs? What are some “safe” medications to use for managing their behavioral symptoms?
• How does REM sleep disorder influence behaviors of patients with PDD and DLB?
• What drugs can be used in FTD patients to prevent agitation and aggression?
Keywords: dementia, agitation, sun-downing, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease
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