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Chorea among Older Adults

Chorea among Older Adults

Teaser: 

Bhaskar Ghosh, MD, DNB, DM, MNAMS, Movement Disorders Program, Department of Clinical Neurosciences, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB.
Oksana Suchowersky, MD, FRCPC, FCCMG, Movement Disorders Program, Department of Clinical Neurosciences; Department of Medical Genetics, Faculty of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB.

Chorea is a hyperkinetic movement disorder characterized by nonsustained, rapid, and random contractions that may affect all body parts. Chorea is hypothesized to be due to an imbalance between the direct and indirect pathways in the basal ganglia circuitry. Important causes of chorea among older adults include medications, stroke, and toxic-metabolic, infective, immune-mediated, and genetic causes. The history and clinical examination guide appropriate investigations and help determine an accurate diagnosis. In secondary causes, removal of the precipitating cause is the mainstay of treatment. If the chorea is persistent or progressive, drug therapy may be instituted. Genetic counselling is important in hereditary chorea.
Key words: movement disorders, chorea, older adults, diagnosis, treatment.

An Update on the Role of Digoxin in Older Adults with Chronic Heart Failure

An Update on the Role of Digoxin in Older Adults with Chronic Heart Failure

Teaser: 

Ali Ahmed, MD, MPH, FACC, FAHA, FESC, associate professor, Division of Gerontology, Geriatric Medicine, and Palliative Care, Department of Medicine, School of Medicine and Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of Alabama at Birmingham; director, Geriatric Heart Failure Clinics, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Birmingham, AB, USA.

Heart failure (HF) is the leading cause of hospitalization among older adults. Digoxin has been shown to reduce hospitalization due to worsening HF. However, at the commonly prescribed dose of 0.25 mg/day, digoxin does not reduce mortality. New data suggest that at low doses (0.125 mg/day or lower) digoxin not only reduces hospitalization due to HF, but may also reduce mortality. Further, at lower doses, it also reduces the risk of digoxin toxicity and obviates the need for routine serum digoxin level testing. Digoxin in low doses should be prescribed to older adults with symptomatic HF.
Key words: chronic heart failure, older adults, treatment, digoxin, update.

Gender Differences in Stroke among Older Adults

Gender Differences in Stroke among Older Adults

Teaser: 


Guido Falcone, MD, Department of Neurology, Raul Carrea Institute for Neurological Research (FLENI), Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Ji Y. Chong, MD, Assistant Professor of Neurology, Columbia University, New York, NY, U.S.A.

Stroke is a common disease in the older population. Many gender differences are seen in the epidemiology, outcomes, and treatment of geriatric stroke. Although these differences are not fully understood, recognition of gender differences may help with appropriate treatment and improve outcomes.
Key words: stroke, gender, outcomes, prevention, treatment.

Post-Stroke Depression: Focus on Diagnosis and Management during Stroke Rehabilitation

Post-Stroke Depression: Focus on Diagnosis and Management during Stroke Rehabilitation

Teaser: 

Elizabeth A. Johnson, RN, PhD(c), Board Certified Geriatric Clinical Nurse Specialist, Doctoral Candidate, Indiana University School of Nursing; Department of Adult Health, Indiana University School of Nursing, Indianapolis, IN, USA.
Tamilyn Bakas, RN, DNS, FAHA, Associate Professor, Department of Adult Health, Indiana University School of Nursing, Indianapolis, IN, USA.
Linda S. Williams, MD, Chief of Neurology, Roudebush Veterans Administration Medical Center; Research Coordinator, VA Stroke QUERI; Associate Professor of Neurology, Indiana University School of Medicine; Research Scientist, Regenstrief Institute, Indianapolis, IN, USA.

Depression, the most frequent neuropsychological problem after stroke, is greatly influenced by the complex relationships between the neurobiological and psychological changes that occur after stroke. Post-stroke depression leads to negative rehabilitation outcomes including less participation in therapy, extended recovery time, significantly decreased quality of life, and increased utilization of health care resources. Because of the high prevalence of post-stroke depression, all stroke survivors should be screened early in the rehabilitation process. Use of a biopsychosocial framework acknowledges the multifactorial etiology of post-stroke depression and contributes to effective, evidence-based treatment. Attention to the needs of the family caregivers further promotes successful post-stroke rehabilitation.
Key words: stroke, depression, risk factors, recovery, treatment.

Post-Stroke Depression -- July/August 2007

Post-Stroke Depression -- July/August 2007

Teaser: 

Lana S. Rothenburg, BSc(Hons), Neuropsychopharmacology Research Program, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON.
Nathan Herrmann, MD FRCP(C), Neuropsychopharmacology Research Program; Department of Psychiatry, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre; Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON.
Krista L. Lanctôt, PhD, Neuropsychopharmacology Research Program; Department of Psychiatry, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre; Departments of Psychiatry and Pharmacology, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON.

Depression is a common sequela of stroke, occurring in approximately 33% of all patients. Post-stroke depression (PSD) is associated with greater cognitive and functional impairments, excess mortality, and increased health care costs, although symptoms are often mild. Diagnosis of PSD can be made using standard clinical criteria, despite the potential overlap with the somatic and vegetative symptoms of stroke. Post-stroke depression responds to standard antidepressant pharmacotherapies, but use of tricyclic antidepressants may result in increased cardiac adverse events. Given the high prevalence and major negative impact of PSD, active screening of all stroke patients for depression and aggressive treatment is recommended.
Key words: stroke, depression, diagnosis, risk factors, treatment.

Chronic Primary Insomnia among Older Individuals

Chronic Primary Insomnia among Older Individuals

Teaser: 

Børge Sivertsen, PhD, Department of Clinical Psychology, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway.

Chronic primary insomnia is a sleep disorder with no known secondary etiology, and the prevalence increases with advancing age. Insomnia is associated with a range of adverse consequences, both on an individual and societal level. While pharmacotherapy is still the most common form of treatment of late-life insomnia, it is associated with a number of side effects, and recent evidence shows cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) to be more effective in managing chronic primary insomnia. This article will discuss the development, consequences, assessment and treatment of chronic primary insomnia among older adults.
Key words: sleep initiation and maintenance disorders, aged, morbidity, treatment, insomnia.

Skin Ulcers in Older Patients

Skin Ulcers in Older Patients

Teaser: 

Christopher Frank, MD, CCFP, Department of Medicine, Division of Geriatrics, Queen’s University, Kingston, ON.

Skin ulcers are common among older adults, especially those in hospital or in long-term care facilities. Prevention of ulcers is important in all clinical settings. Clarifying the cause(s) and exacerbating factors is the first step in management. Pressure and venous insufficiency are the most common causes among older adults. Poor nutrition, edema, arterial insufficiency, and anemia may impair wound healing. Adequate debridement and cleaning is important to decrease infection risk and to promote healing. The choice of dressings depends on the needs of the individual wound but should emphasize the provision of a moist wound environment. Options for dressings are summarized.
Key words: skin ulcers, treatment, wound healing, older adults, pressure ulcers.

An Update on Strategies to Prevent and Treat Delirium

An Update on Strategies to Prevent and Treat Delirium

Teaser: 


Sudeep S. Gill, MD, MSc, FRCPC, Assistant Professor, Division of Geriatric Medicine, Queen’s University, Kingston, ON.

Delirium is common among hospitalized older adults and is associated with significant morbidity and excess mortality. Despite its prevalence and consequences, delirium is often underrecognized and undertreated. Antipsychotic drugs are commonly used to manage symptoms of delirium, but few controlled trials exist to support their efficacy and safety in this setting. Several recent studies have focussed on preventing delirium in high-risk populations. Clinical trials have demonstrated benefits with multifaceted nonpharmacological interventions, but widespread implementation of these interventions has not yet occurred. Two recent drug trials evaluated an antipsychotic and a cholinesterase inhibitor to prevent delirium, but neither trial demonstrated a reduction in incident delirium. At present, the most promising approach involves targeted, multifactorial interventions that focus on preventing delirium in high-risk patient groups. More work is needed to facilitate the implementation of these evidence-based strategies.
Key words: delirium, prevention, treatment, antipsychotic drugs, cholinesterase inhibitors.

Multiple System Atrophy: An Update

Multiple System Atrophy: An Update

Teaser: 

Felix Geser, MD, PhD, Clinical Department of Neurology, Innsbruck Medical University, Innsbruck, Austria.
Gregor K. Wenning, MD, PhD, Clinical Department of Neurology, Innsbruck Medical University, Innsbruck, Austria.

Multiple system atrophy (MSA) is a sporadic neurodegenerative disorder characterized clinically by various combinations of parkinsonian, autonomic, cerebellar, or pyramidal signs and pathologically by cell loss, gliosis, and a-synuclein-positive glial cytoplasmic inclusions in several brain and spinal cord structures. The clinical recognition of MSA has improved, and the recent consensus diagnostic criteria have been widely established in the research community as well as in movement disorders clinics. Although the diagnosis of this condition is largely based on clinical expertise, several investigations have been proposed in the last decade to assist in early differential diagnosis. Symptomatic therapeutic strategies are still limited.
Key words: multiple system atrophy, clinical presentation, diagnosis, treatment.

An Office Diagnosis of Mild Cognitive Impairment

An Office Diagnosis of Mild Cognitive Impairment

Teaser: 


Andrew R. Frank, MD, Alzheimer’s Disease Center, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Rochester, MN, U.S.A.
Ronald C. Petersen, MD, PhD, Alzheimer’s Disease Center, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Rochester, MN, U.S.A.

Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) describes a state of abnormal cognitive functioning that is insufficient to warrant a diagnosis of dementia. While dementia requires that activities of daily functioning be compromised due to cognitive symptomology, the diagnosis of MCI can be made earlier, in the absence of such functional impairment. In MCI, the patient must present with cognitive complaints (or someone who knows the patient well must present them on the patient's behalf), and these complaints must be corroborated by abnormalities on standardized cognitive testing. The diagnosis of MCI alerts the clinician to a higher risk of future development of dementia and provides an ideal target population that may benefit the most from “disease-modifying” cognitive therapies currently in development.
Key words: mild cognitive impairment, MCI, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, early diagnosis, treatment.