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Lack of vitamin D may 'raise dementia risk'

People lacking in vitamin D have a higher risk of developing dementia report several media outlets, including BBC News and The Independent.

A study found people severely lacking in the sunshine vitamin were twice as likely to develop dementia and Alzheimer's disease compared with people with healthy levels (50nmol/l or more).

The findings are based on a study of more than 1,650 people aged 65 and above who were followed over a period of about six years to see if they developed dementia.

Researchers found the higher the vitamin D deficiency, the higher the risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

They found severe vitamin D deficiency (less than 25nmol/l) is associated with approximately twice the risk of developing dementia or Alzheimer's disease.

Moderately low levels of vitamin D (between 25nmol/l and 50nmol/l) are associated with a 50% increase in risk.

This study was able to show an association between low levels of vitamin D and the risk of developing dementia. But it does not prove that vitamin D deficiency causes the disease.

Other factors that can increase the risk of developing dementia, including a poor diet, lack of activity and general poor health, can also cause a low vitamin D level.

More research is needed to establish whether eating vitamin D-rich foods, such as oily fish, or taking vitamin D supplements could delay or even prevent dementia.

Posted by: Susie Melsome on September 18th, 2014 @ 10:23 AM
Tagged with: dementia, Great Britain, Health and Social Care, healthcare

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Is it time for a mental health waiting target?

Waiting time targets have become synonymous with the NHS in England. They apply to everything from A&E units and ambulance calls outs to routine surgery and cancer treatment.

But it's not just an English phenomenon. Other countries in the UK have introduced their own.

The exception is mental health. It should come as no surprise - mental health care is often said to be the poor cousin of the NHS family. Figures show that the condition gets 11% of the budget, but accounts for 28% of the disease burden.

The result is that many people go without help. An estimated three quarters of people with a mental illness receive no treatment. For physical disorders, the rate is nearer a quarter.

To read the full article click here.

Posted by: Susie Melsome on September 17th, 2014 @ 08:44 AM
Tagged with: care funding, government, Great Britain, health, Mental Health, NHS

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Can technology help defuse the dementia time bomb?

Dementia is not a natural part of ageing. It is an umbrella term for the symptoms of around 100 different brain diseases, that cause problems with memory, language skills, mental agility, understanding and judgement. Alzheimer's is the most common, accounting for nearly two-thirds of cases.

44 million people worldwide now have dementia, and this figure is expected to triple by 2050, as the global population ages. In the UK alone, dementia currently affects more than 800,000 people, with the annual cost of care per person greater than the average salary.

Although some medical treatments do slow the progression of some types of dementia, there is currently no cure. Round-the-clock help is often needed, but for many a live-in carer is not practical or affordable. So scientists have started to look at ways that technology can support people with dementia and help them live independently for as long as possible.

For the full article click here.

Posted by: Susie Melsome on September 16th, 2014 @ 08:37 AM
Tagged with: dementia, government, Great Britain, health, nursing

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'Cuts forcing English councils to limit social care'

Almost 90% of councils in England no longer offer social care to people whose needs are ranked low to moderate, the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (Adass) has said.

The group is warning cuts are making the care system "unsustainable".

The government says councils have been given an extra £1.1bn to help protect social care this year.

But charities say hundreds of thousands of people are struggling without help.

When someone applies for social care, their needs are determined as either critical, substantial, moderate or low.

In recent years the number of councils able to help those at the lower end of the scale has gone down as they struggle to balance their budgets.

To read more about this, please click here.

Posted by: Susie Melsome on September 15th, 2014 @ 08:42 AM
Tagged with: care funding, carer, government, Great Britain, healthcare, NHS, social care

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'Pocket' diagnosis for Parkinson’s

Smartphone technology revealed at the British Science Festival could help diagnose and treat Parkinson's disease.

Symptoms of Parkinson's are currently difficult to measure objectively after the patient leaves the doctor's clinic.

New smartphone software developed at Aston University will bring the doctor into the patient's pocket to assess their movements and speech at home.

Trials are now recruiting online, seeking people with and without the disease.

Parkinson's is one of the commonest neurodegenerative diseases, affecting around 127,000 people in the UK.

Diagnosis is based on symptoms including tremor, stiffness and difficulty with movements and speech. However, studies have shown that up to 20% of people diagnosed with Parkinson's show no evidence of the disease in post-mortem examinations.

"Most people who have the disease will never be objectively measured," explained Dr Max Little, a mathematical researcher with Aston's Nonlinearity and Complexity Research Group.

To read more please click here.

Posted by: Susie Melsome on September 11st, 2014 @ 08:33 AM
Tagged with: care home, carer


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