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JACKSONVILLE, FL, April 16, 2014 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Professional Development Resources, a national provider of accredited continuing education units for psychologists, social workers, counselors, speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists, and dietitians, has announced a new addition to its continuing education (CE) curriculum for health professionals: The Dementias: Hope through Research. The course is based on a document from the National Institute on Aging (NIA).
A diagnosis of dementia can be frightening for those affected by the syndrome, their family members, and caretakers. Learning more about dementia can help. This course provides a general overview of various types of dementia, describes how the disorders are diagnosed and treated, and offers highlights of research that is supported by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke and the National Institute on Aging, both part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
The Basics of Dementia
Dementia is the loss of cognitive functioning, which means the loss of the ability to think, remember, or reason, as well as behavioral abilities, to such an extent that it interferes with a person's daily life and activities. Signs and symptoms of dementia result when once-healthy neurons (nerve cells) in the brain stop working, lose connections with other brain cells, and die. While everyone loses some neurons as they age, people with dementia experience far greater loss. Researchers are still trying to understand the underlying disease processes involved in the disorders.
According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, "Age is the primary risk factor for developing dementia. For that reason, the number of people living with dementia could double in the next 40 years with an increase in the number of Americans who are age 65 or older--from 40 million today to more than 88 million in 2050. Regardless of the form of dementia, the personal, economic, and societal demands can be devastating."
Types of Dementia
Various disorders and factors contribute to the development of dementia. Neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's disease (AD), frontotemporal disorders, and Lewy body dementia result in a progressive and irreversible loss of neurons and brain functions. Currently, there are no cures for these progressive neurodegenerative disorders.
However, other types of dementia can be halted or even reversed with treatment. Normal pressure hydrocephalus, for example, often resolves when excess cerebrospinal fluid in the brain is drained via a shunt and rerouted elsewhere in the body. Cerebral vasculitis responds to aggressive treatment with immunosuppressive drugs. In rare cases, treatable infectious disorders can cause dementia. Some drugs, vitamin deficiencies, alcohol abuse, depression, and brain tumors can cause neurological deficits that resemble dementia. Most of these causes respond to treatment.
Causes of Dementia
In many cases, the causes of dementia are unknown at the present time. However, some dementias have identifiable causes such as gene mutation, head injury, Parkinson's disease, vascular injuries, stroke, other brain diseases such as Huntington's disease, environmental factors like poisoning or substance abuse, and infectious diseases like HIV.
Risk factors include age, alcohol use, atherosclerosis, diabetes, Down syndrome, genetics, hypertension, mental illness, and smoking.
Treatment and Management
Some dementias are treatable. However, therapies to stop or slow common neurodegenerative diseases such as AD have largely been unsuccessful, though some drugs are available to manage certain symptoms. Most drugs for dementia are used to treat symptoms in AD. These drugs are sometimes used to treat other dementias as well. These drugs can temporarily improve or stabilize memory and thinking skills in some people by increasing the activity of the cholinergic brain network. They may also prevent declines in learning and memory. None of these drugs can stop or reverse the course of the disease.
The new CE course The Dementias: Hope through Research provides a general overview of dementia and specific types of dementia along with their signs and symptoms; lists risk factors that can increase a person's chance of developing one or more kinds of dementia; describes how the disorders are diagnosed and treated, including drug therapy; and offers highlights of ongoing research.
Currently, there are no cures for the common dementias caused by progressive neurodegeneration, including AD, frontotemporal disorders, and Lewy body dementia. However, some forms of dementia are treatable. A better understanding of dementia disorders, as well as their diagnosis and treatment, will make it possible for affected individuals and their caretakers to live their lives more fully and meet daily 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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