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Patients, families battle Alzheimer’s, difficult decisions together

Published: Friday, November 10, 2017 @ 9:19 AM


            Some people genetically have a higher chance of getting Alzheimer’s. People with first-degree relatives (an individual’s parents, full siblings or children) with Alzheimer’s increases an individual’s own risk of having Alzheimer’s. For more information and resources in support of this type of care, visit www.alzheimers.gov. (Courtesy photo)
Some people genetically have a higher chance of getting Alzheimer’s. People with first-degree relatives (an individual’s parents, full siblings or children) with Alzheimer’s increases an individual’s own risk of having Alzheimer’s. For more information and resources in support of this type of care, visit www.alzheimers.gov. (Courtesy photo)

When the news is given to a patient and their family members that their loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, it can be devastating for some or motivating for others. Either way, Maj. (Dr.) Earl Banning, director of Neuropsychology at the Wright-Patterson Medical Center, stresses the importance of family members working together to deal with what lies ahead.

Some people genetically have a higher chance of getting Alzheimer’s. People with first-degree relatives (an individual’s parents, full siblings or children) with Alzheimer’s increases an individual’s own risk of having Alzheimer’s, according to Banning.

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“Sometimes adult children are now coming in with their father and are worried about dementia. I’m delivering the news that this probably is Alzheimer’s. The children may remember what grandpa went through. They may remember grandpa’s decline and his later years in the nursing home when he didn’t recognize anybody. When they hear that news, it can be triggering to a lot of emotions, so family members may need therapy on their own just to process watching their parents go through this,” he said.

The decisions families have to make upon hearing this news are sometimes quite difficult, but Banning has a wealth of information he can provide them to help in dealing with the disease.

“For most of the people that come in, I’m telling them, ‘Let’s get all of your affairs in order. If you don’t have a will, let’s have a will. If you haven’t made decisions about property and things like that, let’s do that now because as people may lose cognitive functioning later on, you don’t want to be trying to make those decisions then.’”

After diagnosis, Banning also lets patients and their family members know it’s important to start making a long-term plan so that may mean going home, meeting with children and extended family members to understand the way ahead.

“If they have depression, I’ll refer them for counselling. Most of the older folks will be seen off-base typically, but getting them into therapy, putting them in touch with resources like the Alzheimer’s Association at www.alz.org, or the National Institute of Health website at www.nih.gov. These sites have resources about Alzheimer’s that explains it to people, as far as what it is, what the progression looks like, where their loved one is at.”

Some things Banning shares with patients may seem rather obvious, such as things parents tell kids to do, like eat right, sleep right, take care of yourself and exercise.

“Those are things that can help with that cognitive reserve and help to prolong people’s health. If you have uncontrolled diabetes, that will be a factor; if you have uncontrolled cardiovascular risk factors, high cholesterol, high blood pressure,” Banning said.

Taking care to make sure things are safe at home is another important step, he added.

“Some older folks live in older homes with multiple floor levels, which create falling hazards. Maybe it’s time for a one-level home. Head injuries can be a problem. If you’re already having some cognitive problems, the last thing you need is a head injury, so maybe we don’t need a bunch of steps in the house anymore. Moving furniture around so there are less things to trip over or fall on as you get older is important,” Banning said.

For some people, receiving the news of an Alzheimer’s diagnosis isn’t really a surprise.

“Family members are kind of prepared. We have the Internet now, which makes you always think you have health problems so family members read up about Alzheimer’s before the evaluation and they can probably tell you as much as I can about some of this stuff and are well aware of some of the recommendations,” Banning said.

He believes it’s important for the family to be involved and requests they come to the initial and feedback sessions to talk about the symptoms and what stage he thinks the person is in for Alzheimer’s. They discuss what to expect and Banning then points them in the direction of different resources such as support groups in the area that focus on provider fatigue.

“There’s a lot of issues that come along with taking care of a parent. Some people may have more resources than others. Sometimes it’s just a dad and a sibling – a son that lives in the area for instance. The wife has already passed away and there’s no other family to take on that care. Financial decisions, money, nursing homes, all those big things. Even if they’re not ready to go somewhere, and it may be a while – getting all those things worked out as a team now while the person has as much cognitive reserve as possible, rather than waiting until we see an alert for a lost adult,” said Banning.

“Sometimes it can be pretty devastating, for instance, something like a frontal temporal dementia looks very behavioral so the person may be acting manic and they may be doing things like buying a bunch of things online. For example, this one woman I worked with a while ago had these symptoms and had been diagnosed as bipolar and she and her husband came in to the neurology center to see me so that we could get an assessment battery. The hope was that if we could just get her meds right, she’s going to be OK,” Banning said.

However, the neuropsychology assessments revealed she had been misdiagnosed.

“You don’t get bipolar when you’re in your mid-60s. What was happening was that she had atrophy in her frontal lobe – she had frontal temporal dementia and that’s where your personality is. That’s where the breaks are. If you ever have like an impulsive thought, like maybe I can’t do that, maybe I can’t cut in front of the line. When the frontal lobe atrophies, those brakes don’t do that anymore so you have these behavior problems. I had to deliver the news to them that it’s a progressive disease, she has frontal temporal dementia, and she’s not coming back. It was pretty heart-wrenching for the family members,” he said.

Typically, that’s the case, Banning said, but for people in some variance of Alzheimer’s their awareness is pretty poor so they come in looking fine.

“They’re pretty happy when they come in,” said Banning. “I’ll ask them how they’re doing. They’ll say, ‘I’m doing OK.’ How’s your balance? ‘It’s fine.’ Well, you came in in a walker today. ‘Oh, I don’t need that thing.’ How’s home life? ‘It’s going great.’”

The older you get, the slower the decline will be.

“If you don’t get an Alzheimer’s diagnosis until well after 80, you’ll probably have a really slow decline and may die of other things before it really gets that bad,” Banning said.

Alzheimer’s disease is more likely to affect Americans as they grow older. Although genetics can play a part, age is the biggest risk factor. But Alzheimer’s touches many more individuals than just those who are diagnosed. Dedicated caregivers such as professionals, family members, or friends are also emotionally, physically and financially affected by the disease.

For more information and resources in support of this type of care, visit www.alzheimers.gov.

Editor’s note: This is the second in a series of articles during National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month. For the first article, go to www.wpafb.af.mil/news.

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Jennifer Lopez celebrates twins Max and Emme’s 10th birthday

Published: Friday, February 23, 2018 @ 1:17 PM

What You Need To Know About Jennifer Lopez

Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony’s twins are growing up so fast!

Max and Emme celebrated their 10th birthday on Feb. 22, and Lopez was right there to celebrate with her kids, sharing multiple posts on Instagram. 

>> Read more trending news 

Sharing a video of her kids’ -- whom she affectionately calls her coconuts -- cutest moments throughout the years, Lopez wrote, “It's hard to get my head around the fact that it's been 10 years since these two forces of nature came into my world and changed my life forever... you healed my soul and rejuvenated my existence... you taught me about love and life and myself in a way I never imagined... and I am forever in love with those beautiful faces...”

The proud mother shared two other tributes to her children in their own posts on Instagram with individual heartfelt messages.

Jennifer Lopez (C) and son Maximilian David Muniz (L) and daughter Emme Maribel Muniz (R) pictured in 2015. The musician's twins with ex-husband Marc Anthony turned 10 in Feb. 2018.(Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

“Max you are my heart, my love and my light,” Lopez wrote to her son. “You brighten up every day for me with your kindness and caring, your love and awareness… your energy is unmatched, your sense of humor makes everyone around you laugh, and I marvel at your depth of understanding of people and the world… my old soul, my beautiful boy, Happy 10th Birthday I know you are getting so big but you will always be my precious coconut.”

For her daughter, Lopez celebrated Emme’s “independence and strength,” writing, “Emme you are my soul, my inner child personified the most joyful deep and sensitive human being I have ever met…and I adore everything about you…your artistry, your independence, your strength and your sensitive spirit… Happy 10th Birthday my marshmallow princess…I know you’re growing up so much but you will always be my precious coconut.”

Proud dad Marc Anthony reposted his former wife’s video tribute to Max and Emme on his Instagram page Feb. 22.

According to TMZ, Lopez ceebrated her twin’s milestone birthday Thursday at the Sugar Factory in Las Vegas. From 5 p.m. - 9 p.m., 30 guests celebrated with custom cakes for each child. 

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Heavy showers expected this weekend; Flood Watch in effect

Published: Friday, February 23, 2018 @ 4:04 AM
Updated: Friday, February 23, 2018 @ 1:22 PM

Rain showers continue at times today in the Dayton area, and into parts of the weekend.

Flood Watch is in effect for Montgomery, Preble, Clark, Greene, Butler, Warren and Clinton counties until Sunday morning.

QUICK-LOOK FORECAST

  • A stray shower or two expected today
  • Heavy showers and some thunderstorms possible Saturday
  • Dry start to next week

>> WHIO Doppler 7 Interactive Radar

DETAILED FORECAST

Today: A few showers will pass by at times today, but we are expecting more breaks in the rain this afternoon. It'll be a cloudy and dreary day with highs in the lower 60s.

>> County-by-County Weather

Saturday: More widespread rain will push back in by the early morning. Rivers, creeks and streams will continue to see some minor flooding. Roads will stay soaked. Highs will be in the low to mid 50s during the day. It will be breezy at times for the afternoon. At night, a cold front will move into the Miami Valley. Downpours and thunderstorms will be possible overnight. Strong wind gusts will also develop, which could lead to tree damage. Temperatures will climb after midnight.

>> Flooding: Know your risks

Sunday: Morning showers and storms will move east quickly before sunrise. Temperatures will drop back into the 40s as some sunshine returns for the afternoon. Highs will push to the mid to upper 50s. Winds will stay gusty all day between 30 and 40 MPH. Winds, combined with a saturated ground, could lead to tree damage. It will be dry at night.

Monday: It will be a nice start to the week. There will be sunshine for the afternoon with temperatures warmer than normal in the low 50s.

Tuesday: It will be another nice day and a chance for rivers, creeks and streams to recede. Highs will be in the mid-50s with sun and clouds.

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Police: No threat today at Fenwick High School

Published: Friday, February 23, 2018 @ 9:34 AM
Updated: Friday, February 23, 2018 @ 1:15 PM


            Bishop Fenwick High School was on a “soft lockdown” this morning, meaning classes were conducted but no one was allowed to enter or leave the school, officials said. ED RICHTER/STAFF
Bishop Fenwick High School was on a “soft lockdown” this morning, meaning classes were conducted but no one was allowed to enter or leave the school, officials said. ED RICHTER/STAFF

UPDATE @1:15 P.M.:

There was no threat at Fenwick High School this morning, Middletown police have determined.

A former student entered the Ohio 122 school building to visit former teachers and was walking through the school at some point by himself, said Middletown Maj. David Birk.

“Some people who were unfamiliar with the former student became suspicious, but there was not threat at all,” Birk said.

INITIAL REPORT:

A Middletown high school is on lockdown this morning.

A notice from Bishop Fenwick High School this morning states: “Bishop Fenwick High School is currently on a ‘soft lockdown.’ This means that teaching continues in the building, but no one will be permitted in or out of the building until the lockdown is lifted. Everyone is safe in the building.”

Middletown Maj. David Birk said a student was acting suspiciously and the school called police. As a precaution the school was placed on lockdown. Birk said officers are on scene investigating and talking with those involved.

The school is asking for people to not call the school so phone lines can remain open.

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Former Trump campaign aide Rick Gates to plead guilty in Mueller investigation

Published: Friday, February 23, 2018 @ 12:39 PM
Updated: Friday, February 23, 2018 @ 12:39 PM

What You Need To Know: Rick Gates

Rick Gates, a former aide in President Donald Trump's campaign, plans to plead guilty to charges in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, according to multiple reports.

READ MORE: Paul Manafort, Rick Gates face new charges: report | Mueller investigation: Lawyer pleads guilty to lying to investigators in Russia probeWho is Rick Gates and why was he indicted by Robert Mueller?Who is Paul Manafort, the man indicted in Robert Mueller’s Russian investigation?What are Paul Manafort and Rick Gates charged with?MORE

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