VIDEO CONFERENCE SERIES
New York - The nation's first accredited continuing education live video conference series for professionals in the field of aging is being developed by Aging in America (AIA) and the Hospital Satellite Network (HSN) of Los Angeles, AIA Executive Vice President Ralph Hall announced.
The AIA/HSN video conference series, "New Horizons for Aging," is the first to focus on critical issues in long-term care. The interactive programs will be broadcast live by Hospital Satellite Network into major cities across the country, enabling caregivers everywhere to learn from each other and share concerns.
Aging in America's Department of Education and Training, which has conducted workshops and in-service training for long-term care professionals since 1978, is producing the series. The Department polled some 2,000 nursing home administrators to determine priority topics.
The first seminar, entitled "More Than a Manager: New Techniques for Creative Leadership, " is scheduled for September 2, 1987 broadcast. Later conferences will cover such subjects as ethics and autonomy for older people, reimbursement and financing issues, managing the new state and federal survey processes, and training for special care units. Each program will feature moderators prominent in the field of aging and a faculty of experts.
The "New Horizons for Aging" series will be broadcast to long-term care administrators gathered in hospital auditoriums in 20 cities nationwide. Hospital Satellite Network has been providing medical education and information to acute care facilities since 1983 and currently has more than 500 hospitals on line.
"New Horizons for Aging" is being supported through sponsorship of the program by leading American corporations. These firms provide products and services to the long-term care industry. Their messages will be aired during the broadcast along with information material distributed to attendees.
BAHRNAMED ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR OF CUA's LIFE CYCLE INSTITUTE
Washington - Sister Rose Thérèse Bahr of Mount Rainier, Md., an Ordinary Professor of nursing at The Catholic University of America (CUA), has been named an associate director of CUA's Life Cycle Institute.
The Life Cycle Institute has three research components: the Center for Youth Development, and Center for FamUy Studies, and the Gerontology Center.
Sister Bahr also directs CUA's Gerontology Center. A recent topic studied was the aging process of clergy and women and men in the religious profession. She is co-director of the National Council on Aging's Family Friends Project, which matches older volunteers with families of disabled children.
She is co-author of the book "The Aging Person: A Holistic Perspective." Her published papers include "The Battered Elderly: Physical and Psychological Abuse" and "Sleep/Wake Patterns in the Aged."
Sister Bahr is a senior accreditation visitor for the National League of Nursing and a fellow of the American Academy ofNursing. She is a member of the Gerontological Society of America, Sigma Thêta Tau, the National Gerontological Nursing Association, and the American Nurses' Association.
She received a doctorate in education from St. Louis University and a master's degree and a bachelor's degree in nursing from CUA.
SLEEP DISTURBANCES IN ALZHEIMER'S CAUSE FAMILIES PROBLEMS
New York - The nocturnal wanderings of the two to three million people in the United States who have Alzheimer's disease pose a serious problem for the patients' families who must care for them.
Sundowning is a term often used to describe the confusion and agitation seen in Alzheimer's patients when the sun goes down, and is believed to be one of the major reasons families opt to institutionalize patients with Alzheimer's disease. Nobody knows for sure what causes this phenomenon, but it may be related to a resetting of the biological clock causing changes in the sleep-wake cycle.
Sleep disturbances in Alzheimer's disease ordinarily develop some time after patients first lose awareness of their surroundings but before the onset of confusion about identity and relationships. At this stage of the disease, individuals may opt to stay up all night, despite their families' urging to go to bed. Understandably, family members can become frustrated and exhausted by this pattern, particularly since some patients may wander from home and be unable to find their way back.
Several recent studies indicate that patients with moderate to severe Alzheimer's disease spend significantly less time than others in rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. Scientists speculate that sleep disturbances in Alzheimer's disease may be due to shortened periods of REM sleep caused by degeneration of specific brain regions. However, early stages of the disease do not produce measurable changes in REM that could prove useful in screening for the disorder.
Meanwhile, there is considerable evidence of a shortage of the brain chemical acetylcholine in patients with Alzheimer's disease, and this deficiency may be linked to REM sleep disturbances.
An encouraging report on the effects of the drug tetrahydroaminoacridine (THA), which elevates acetylcholine levels in the brain, supports a direct role for this brain chemical in Alzheimer's disease. When THA was given to a group of patients with moderate to severe Alzheimer's disease, 75% of the patients showed improvement in certain symptoms. Scientists have also recently reported that an unusual protein (designated A-68) occurs in the brain and spinal fluid of Alzheimer's patients. The discovery of this protein could lead to the development of a diagnostic test for the disease that could channel people into therapy sooner.
Further research in other aspects of the sleep cycle may prove useful in developing a diagnostic tool in the future as well.
Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine have reported that female patients with Alzheimer's disease had five times the number of episodes of sleep apnea than did women of the same age without Alzheimer's disease, In contrast, there was no significant increase in sleep apnea in male patients compared with a control group. Interestingly, sleep apnea is generally more common in men than women.
When preventive measures, such as eliminating daytime naps and caffeinated drinks, are unsuccessful, the physician may prescribe over a brief period of time a short-acting nighttime sleepinducing medication such as triazolam (Halcion, Upjohn). Major tranquilizers, such as loxapine (Loxitane, Lederle), are sometimes necessary when disruptive behaviors become too difficult for home or hospital management.