Hooked on Music

Posted under Blog on June 19th, 2014 by Editorial Team / No Comments

A new, highly addictive online game has been launched attempting to discover the science behind the attractiveness of a musical tune. This new research will gather data from anyone willing to participate, with the aim of providing insights that lead to possible treatments for Alzheimer’s disease.

Hooked on Music features three games to test the listener: picking the catchiest tune, muting a song and seeing if you can keep in time, and a challenge to recognise as many songs as possible in a row. There are songs from every decade from the 1940s onwards, and the games are designed so that anyone can play them.

The game was created at University of Amsterdam, Utrecht University and the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision. The scientists hope the results can better define which musical fragments we find catchiest and will use the information to trigger memories for therapeutic benefits.

DJ and journalist Dave Haslam said: “Everyone knows when they’ve heard something catchy or which resonates with them in some way, and if the results from thousands of people playing the game lead to the scientists discovering how music can help people with serious memory loss, then that would be fantastic.”

Scientists are hoping thousands of people will play the game to help them generate as much data as possible. This type of innovative research is necessary to make progress in the complex, often misunderstood field of Alzheimer’s. The game has already attracted many people wanting to test their musical knowledge online and do their part for Alzheimer’s research.

Do you know your Rolling Stones from your Led Zep? Your Beatles from your Beach Boys? Or how about your Rihanna from your Run-DMC? Have a go at Hooked on Music here.

Tags: Alzheimer's, dementia, Hooked on Music, University of Amsterdam

Alzheimer’s Society launches new Dementia Café

Posted under Blog on June 5th, 2014 by Editorial Team / No Comments

A new and innovative project called the Dementia Café has been launched by the UK’s Alzheimer’s Society.

Opening later this month, the Dementia Café will provide an opportunity for people living with Alzheimer’s disease, and their carers, to get out of the house and socialise. The hope is that it will give carers some relief from their full-time roles.

Visitors to these cafés will be able to share their accounts of living with Alzheimer’s, while experienced carers will be able to offer advice to those who are new to this role. The café will also host a variety of specialist speakers, including health and social care professionals and representatives from the local community, talking about their areas of expertise.

Marion Howell, services manager for the Alzheimer’s Society in west Essex, said: "The Alzheimer’s Society Dementia Cafés can really help improve people’s quality of life. They give people with dementia and their carers the opportunity to socialise with others in similar situations and receive vital support. They are also a great source of information and guidance which can help people to live well with the condition.”

As well as the Dementia Café, the Alzheimer’s Society runs a number of services, including a post- diagnosis support service, a dementia support service and an initiative called Singing for the Brain. The organisation also run specialist support services, including reminiscence groups, a weekly gardening group, the Young at Heart group and education for carer classes.

This local solution to a nationwide problem demonstrates how communities can take action against Alzheimer’s disease. They provide meaningful support to people with the condition and those caring for them.

Tags: Alzheimer's, Alzheimer's society, dementia, Dementia cafe

Memories of pets coax patients’ smiles

Posted under Blog on April 25th, 2014 by Editorial Team / No Comments

Pets can often provide companionship to people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. They are there in the morning, and they are there when you go to sleep. The benefits of having a furry friend have been shown to improve memory and communication skills.

Nurses and volunteers at Yeovil Hospital in the UK created a workshop where they knitted handheld replicas of the pets once owned by the Alzheimer’s patients at the hospital. Patients may then remember the black Labrador that was with a family for 15 years or the West Highland Terrier that reminded them of home.

This is just one example of the innovative ways that hospitals and care homes are attempting to connect with patients who live with Alzheimer’s disease. “The effect of the knitted pets is hard to quantify but if it raises a smile with a patient - honestly, there is no better feeling,” said Janine Valentine, nurse consultant for dementia and the elderly at Yeovil Hospital.

Patients with Alzheimer’s disease statistically do not fare well at hospital. Their average stay is 20 per cent longer than other related conditions and they are three times more likely to suffer from an injury. The scheme at Yeovil Hospital has attempted to find a way for doctors and nurses to quickly build relationships with the elderly and those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.

Her work stands at the heart of a campaign called Face to a Name which aims to transform the way the elderly and those with dementia are cared for in hospitals across Britain. The campaign, created by Giovanna Forte and Jake Arnold Foster, was borne out of the notion that doctors and nurses can easily forget that elderly patients were once like them.

The Face to a Name campaign is working with Yeovil Hospital, as well as a number of hospices and nursing homes across the country. It has shown to bridge the gap between carers and the elderly, who are so often misunderstood.

Tags: Alzheimer's disease, dementia, Face to a Name, knitted pets, Yeovil Hospital

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