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JACKSONVILLE, FL, October 30, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Professional Development Resources, a national provider of accredited continuing education units for psychologists, social workers, counselors, occupational therapists, and dietitians, has announced a new addition to its continuing education (CE) curriculum for health professionals: Frontotemporal Disorders: Information for Patients, Families, and Caregivers. The course is based on a document from the National Institute on Aging (NIA).
According to NIA, "Few people have heard of frontotemporal dementia and other brain disorders that affect personality, behavior, language, and movement. These disorders are little known outside the circles of researchers, doctors, patients, and caregivers who study and live with them. In most cases, the cause is unknown. Although frontotemporal disorders remain puzzling in many ways, researchers are finding new clues that will help them solve this medical mystery and better understand other common dementias."
What are the Symptoms of Frontotemporal Disorders?
In short, they are devastating, gradually robbing people of basic functions - like the ability think, talk, walk, and socialize--that most of us take for granted. Frequently, they strike people in the prime of life, when they are working and raising families. Their families suffer, too, as they struggle to cope with the person's daily needs as well as changes in relationships and finances.
A Problem with Terminology
One of the challenges shared by patients, families, clinicians, and researchers is confusion about how to classify and label frontotemporal disorders. A diagnosis by one doctor may be called something else by a second, and the same condition or syndrome referred to by another name by a pathologist who examines the brain after death. For many years, scientists and physicians used the term frontotemporal dementia (FTD) to describe this group of illnesses. After further research, FTD is now understood to be just one of several possible variations and is more precisely called behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia, or "bvFTD."
Frontotemporal Disorders are a Form of Dementia
According to NIA, frontotemporal disorders are the result of damage to neurons (nerve cells) in parts of the brain called the frontal and temporal lobes. As neurons die in the frontal and temporal regions, these lobes atrophy, or shrink. Gradually, this damage causes difficulties in thinking and behaviors controlled by these parts of the brain. Many possible symptoms can result, including strange behaviors, emotional problems, trouble communicating, or difficulty with walking and other basic movements.
bvFTD Involves Changes in Personality, Behavior, and Judgment
People can live with frontotemporal disorders for 2 to 10 years, sometimes longer, but it is difficult to predict the time course for an individual patient. The disorders are progressive, meaning symptoms get worse over time. In the early stages, people have one type of symptom. As the disease progresses, other types of symptoms appear as more parts of the brain are affected. People with this dementia can act strangely around other people, resulting in embarrassing social situations. Often, they don't know or care that their behavior is unusual and don't show any consideration for the feelings of others. Over time, language and/or movement problems may occur, and the person needs more care and supervision.
Treatment and Management
At this time there is no cure for frontotemporal disorders and no way to slow down or prevent them. However, there are ways to manage symptoms. A team of specialists--doctors, nurses, and speech, physical, and occupational therapists--familiar with these disorders can help guide treatment.
Frontotemporal Disorders: Information for Patients, Families, and Caregivers summarizes the various approaches professionals and caregivers can utilize to help manage the symptoms. These include behavior management strategies like modifying the environment, maintaining a predictable schedule, and providing hands-on supervision for safety. The services of a speech-language pathologist may be needed to treat language problems, such as the progressive aphasia that occurs over time. For movement problems like palsy and ALS-like symptoms, physical and occupational therapy may aim to keep the joints limber and maintain balance.
Caregivers can face a host of other challenges in addition to managing the medical and day-to-day care of people with frontotemporal disorders. These challenges may include changing family relationships, loss of work, poor health, decisions about long-term care, and end-of-life concerns. The course includes a list of caregiver strategies and helpful resources to assist with these challenges.
About Professional Development Resources, Inc.
Professional Development Resources is a Florida nonprofit educational corporation founded in 1992 by licensed marriage and family therapist Leo Christie, PhD. The company, which is accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA), the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB), the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC), the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), and the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) - as well as many other national and state boards - has focused its efforts on making accredited continuing education units more cost-effective and widely accessible to health professionals by offering online home study coursework. Its current expanded curriculum includes a wide variety of clinical topics intended to equip health professionals to offer state-of-the art services to their clients.
Leo Christie, PhD, CEO
Professional Development Resources, Inc.
Professional Development Resources, Inc. is a Florida nonprofit educational corporation 501(c)(3) organized in 1992. Our mission is to provide busy health care professionals with accredited continuing education units on topics that are vital to contemporary clinical practice. In addition to our staff, we have a Professional Advisory Board consisting of accomplished professionals representing disciplines for which we offer our CEU credits. We are located in Jacksonville, Florida. Federal Tax ID 59-3138625.
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