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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.

Diagnosis and Management of Bipolar Disorder

Diagnosis and Management of Bipolar Disorder

Teaser: 


Patricia Hall, MD, Department of Psychiatry, University of Western Ontario, London, ON.
Verinder Sharma, MB, BS, FRCPC, Professor, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Western Ontario, London, ON.

Bipolar disorder is less common in the older adult population. However, the quality of life for older adults with bipolar disorder is significantly impacted. Older patients with bipolar disorder have more cognitive and functional impairment than younger patients. Studies show that older adults with bipolar disorder also have an increased risk of suicide, dementia, and medical illness, as well as a higher mortality rate. This article provides a review of the epidemiology, clinical features, suicide risk, comorbidities (including dementia), and management of bipolar disorder in older adults.
Key words: bipolar disorder, mania, bipolar depression, treatment.

Nonpharmacological Management of Hypokinetic Dysarthria in Parkinson’s Disease

Nonpharmacological Management of Hypokinetic Dysarthria in Parkinson’s Disease

Teaser: 

AM Johnson, PhD, Assistant Professor, School of Communication Sciences and Disorders, the University of Western Ontario, London, ON.
SG Adams, PhD, Associate Professor, School of Communication Sciences and Disorders, the University of Western Ontario, London, ON.

In addition to its widely recognized effects on gait, posture, balance, and upper limb coordination, Parkinson’s disease (PD) can have a profound effect on speech and voice, within a cluster of speech characteristics termed hypokinetic dysarthria. Although dopaminergic therapy produces significant benefits in the early stages of PD, speech symptoms may show selective resistance to pharmaceutical therapy in patients with a disease history of more than 10 years. This article discusses the pathophysiology of PD as it relates to speech disorders and considers nonpharmaceutical therapeutic options for hypokinetic dysarthria.
Key words: Parkinson’s disease, speech pathology, dysarthria, treatment.

Pharmacological Options in Parkinson's Disease: A Treatment Guide

Pharmacological Options in Parkinson's Disease: A Treatment Guide

Teaser: 


Steven E. Lo, MD, The Neurological Institute, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, NY, USA.
Steven J. Frucht, MD, The Neurological Institute, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, NY, USA.

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder that can significantly impact older patients’ quality of life. Although there are many pharmacologic options to treat PD, the clinician needs to know the indications and potential adverse effects of new medications in the older patient population. Carbidopa/levodopa remains the gold standard for treatment, and new formulations and levodopa-extenders fill specific niches. This article reviews the pros and cons of these medications in older PD patients, and demonstrates therapeutic strategies through case presentations.
Key words: Parkinson’s disease, treatment, levodopa, COMT inhibitor, aging.

Diagnosis and Management of Mild Cognitive Impairment

Diagnosis and Management of Mild Cognitive Impairment

Teaser: 

Raj C. Shah, MD, Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center; Department of Family Medicine, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, IL, USA.
David A. Bennett, MD, Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center; Department of Neurological Sciences, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, IL, USA.

Mild cognitive impairment (MCI), the presence of cognitive difficulties without having dementia, is viewed as a preclinical state for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) or another dementing illness. With the burden of AD expected to increase, research efforts have focused on interventions to delay the progression of MCI to AD. In this review, we first discuss the current conceptual understanding of MCI. Then, we outline a simplified approach to help clinicians diagnose MCI. Finally, we provide an overview of how to address the clinical needs of individuals with MCI.
Key words: mild cognitive impairment, Alzheimer’s disease, diagnosis, prognosis, treatment.

Prevention, Diagnosis, and Management of Prostate Cancer: An Update

Prevention, Diagnosis, and Management of Prostate Cancer: An Update

Teaser: 


S. Gogov, MD, Department of Medicine, University Health Network, Toronto, ON.
Shabbir M.H. Alibhai, MD, MSc, FRCPC, Department of Medicine, University Health Network; Departments of Medicine and Health Policy, Management, and Evaluation, University of Toronto, ON.

Prostate cancer remains the most common malignancy in men. Screening remains controversial due to a lack of evidence from randomized trials that it decreases mortality. Treatment decisions are based on assigning patients to one of three risk groups (low, intermediate, or high) based on stage, tumour grade, and prostate-specific antigen level, and considering remaining patient life expectancy (affected by age and comorbidity). Men with low-risk disease can consider expectant management, surgery, or radiotherapy (either external beam or brachytherapy). In intermediate-risk patients, all options except expectant management are associated with excellent long-term survival. In high-risk patients, combining either radiation or surgery with androgen deprivation has emerged as the best option. There is no role for primary androgen deprivation for most patients.
Key words: prostate cancer, screening, treatment, surgery, radiotherapy.

Diagnosis and Management of Lung Cancer in Older Adults

Diagnosis and Management of Lung Cancer in Older Adults

Teaser: 

Natasha B. Leighl, MD, FRCPC, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Medical Oncology, Princess Margaret Hospital/University Health Network; Department of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related mortality in North America and most commonly affects older patients. Patterns of investigation and treatment in older individuals differ, which may compromise outcome. Older patients should be carefully evaluated, using comprehensive geriatric assessment, to assess for function, functional reserve, comorbidities, polypharmacy, and other issues. Fit patients with few or no comorbidities should be offered standard treatments such as surgical resection for early-stage lung cancer with adjuvant chemotherapy, combined modality treatment (chemotherapy and radiation) for locally advanced disease, and systemic chemotherapy with supportive care for metastatic disease. Frail patients should be reviewed to optimize function and comorbid illnesses, and then considered for other treatment alternatives aimed at minimizing toxicity while still trying to maximize the curative or palliative potential of lung cancer therapy depending upon disease stage.
Key words: lung cancer, aging, chemotherapy, surgery, radiation, treatment.

Allergies in the Aging

Allergies in the Aging

Teaser: 

D’Arcy Little, MD, CCFP, Lecturer, Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON.

The few studies that have been done suggest that the prevalence of allergies in the older adult population is underestimated. Geriatric rhinitis is also underdiagnosed and under-treated. Though allergy must be considered in this population, therapy must be appropriately tailored.

Key words: allergy, rhinitis, aging, adult, skin testing, treatment.