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JACKSONVILLE, FL, August 20, 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: Lewy Body Dementia: Information for Patients, Families, and Professionals. The course is based on a document from the National Institute on Aging (NIA).
What is Lewy Body Dementia?
Dementia is a severe loss of thinking abilities that interferes with a person's capacity to perform daily activities such as household tasks, self-care, and personal finances. Dementia has many possible causes, including stroke, tumor, depression, and vitamin deficiency, as well as disorders such as Lewy body dementia (LBD), Parkinson's, and Alzheimer's.
LBD is a complex, challenging, and surprisingly common type of brain disorder. The most common symptoms include changes in cognition (thinking), movement, sleep, and behavior. It is complex because it affects many parts of the brain in ways that scientists are trying to understand more fully. It is challenging because its many possible symptoms make it hard to do everyday tasks that once came easily. More than 1 million Americans, most of them older adults, are affected by its disabling changes in the ability to think and move.
Who is Affected by LBD?
According to the National Institute on Aging (NIA), LBD affects an estimated 1.3 million individuals in the United States and accounts for up to 20 percent of people with dementia worldwide. LBD typically begins at age 50 or older, although sometimes younger people have it. LBD appears to affect slightly more men than women.
LBD is a progressive disease, meaning symptoms start slowly and worsen over time. The disease lasts an average of 5 to 7 years from the time of diagnosis to death, but the time span can range from 2 to 20 years. How quickly symptoms develop and change varies greatly from person to person, depending on overall health, age, and severity of symptoms. In the early stage of LBD, usually before a diagnosis is made, symptoms can be mild, and people can function fairly normally. As the disease advances, people with LBD require more and more help.
Types of LBD
Lewy body dementia includes two related conditions--dementia with Lewy bodies and Parkinson's disease dementia. The difference between them lies largely in the timing of cognitive and movement symptoms. In dementia with Lewy bodies, cognitive symptoms are noted within a year of parkinsonism, any condition that involves the types of movement changes seen in Parkinson's disease. In Parkinson's disease dementia, movement symptoms are most pronounced, with cognitive symptoms developing years later.
Causes and Risk Factors
The precise cause of LBD is unknown, but scientists are learning more about its biology and genetics. For example, they know that an accumulation of Lewy bodies is associated with a loss of certain neurons in the brain that produce two important neurotransmitters, chemicals that act as messengers between brain cells. One of these messengers - acetylcholine - is important for memory and learning. The other - dopamine - plays an important role in behavior, cognition, movement, motivation, sleep, and mood.
Scientists are also learning about risk factors for LBD. Age is considered the greatest risk factor. Most people who develop the disorder are over age 50. Other known risk factors for LBD include diseases and health conditions, genetics, and lifestyle. While no specific lifestyle factor has been proven to increase one's risk for LBD, some studies suggest that a healthy lifestyle--including regular exercise, mental stimulation, and a healthy diet--might reduce the chance of developing age-associated dementias.
Treatment and Management
While LBD currently cannot be prevented or cured, some symptoms may respond to treatment for a period of time. A comprehensive treatment plan may involve medications, physical and other types of therapy, and counseling. A skilled care team often can provide suggestions to help improve quality of life for both people with LBD and their caregivers.
Those who complete the new course Lewy Body Dementia: Information for Patients, Families, and Professionals will learn the basic elements that define Lewy body dementia and the symptoms that distinguish its types, the challenges of making an accurate diagnosis, the mood and behavior problems that are particularly difficult for caregivers to manage, and the classes of drugs that are used to manage specific symptoms
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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