Common Mental Health Conditions

Common Mental Health Conditions

In a previous blog we discussed depression, anxiety and stress, which are the most commonly recognised mental health conditions. However, there are other mental health conditions that we treat regularly at Dementech Neurosciences.

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder causes extreme mood swings ranging from highs (mania or hypomania) to lows (depression).

Find out more about bipolar disorder in this short video.

 

Symptoms of bipolar include:

  • Depression – feeling hopeless or sad, losing interest in most activities.
  • Mania/Hypomania (a less extreme type of mania) – irritability, euphoria, feeling energised.

The condition can affect the ability to think clearly as well as affect judgement, behaviour, energy levels, activity and sleep. It cannot be cured however treatments are available that can help you to manage the symptoms.

Treatment options for bipolar disorder:

  • Cognitive behavioural therapy focuses on identifying unhelpful or negative behaviours and beliefs and replacing them with positive and healthy ones. It may be helpful in identifying triggers for episodes of bipolar and developing strategies to help you cope with your condition.
  • Interpersonal and social rhythm therapy aims to stabilise daily routines and create a more consistent pattern of sleep, exercise and diet.
  • Family therapy can help family members to understand more about the condition and how to recognise and manage the early signs.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

This is a complex disorder that cannot be explained by an underlying medical condition. The symptoms include extreme fatigue which does not improve with rest. Scientists are unclear what causes chronic fatigue syndrome although it is believed to be triggered by a combination of factors which may include psychological stress and viral infections.

Symptoms include:

  • Extreme exhaustion which does not improve with rest or sleep
  • Loss of memory or concentration
  • Headaches and/or muscular or joint pain

Treatment options:

Cognitive training involves talking to a counsellor to help you feel more in control of your life. This can help as chronic fatigue brings with it many restrictions and uncertainties. You may also benefit from gentle exercises which you can build up gradually.

Phobias

A phobia is a fear of a specific thing, situation or animal. People can have phobias about a whole range of things, from heights to needles and the symptoms of a phobia can occur suddenly and without warning.

Symptoms can include:

  • Breathing difficulties or shortness of breath
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Pain or tightness in the chest
  • Trembling
  • Sweating
  • Headaches, nausea or dizziness
  • Panic attack

Some of the most common phobias include:

  • Arachnophobia (fear of spiders)
  • Ophidiophobia (fear of snakes)
  • Acrophobia (fear of heights)
  • Aerophobia (fear of flying)
  • Cynophobia (fear of dogs)
  • Social Phobia (fear of being in a social situation)
  • Agoraphobia (fear of public places)
  • Mysophobia (fear of dirt or germs)

Treatment options for phobias:

Phobias produce a fear response which can be extreme and may interfere with daily living, resulting in anxiety and, in some cases, depression. Psychotherapy has been shown to be effective for phobias and panic disorders and may be used alongside prescribed medication and self-help techniques like meditation and mindfulness.

Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a condition that is characterised by pain throughout the body, accompanied by fatigue, sleep and memory problems and mood swings. It is believed to be caused by a change in the way the brain processes pain signals, leading to pain sensations becoming amplified.

The condition may begin after some kind of physical trauma, psychological stress, infection or surgery. In some people symptoms develop gradually over time.

Symptoms include:

  • Pain throughout the body that is experienced as a dull ache
  • Fatigue
  • Sleep disorders including sleep apnoea and restless legs syndrome
  • Difficulty concentrating

The condition may be accompanied by other disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome, migraine and cystitis.

Treatment

Fibromyalgia is a painful and distressing condition. There is no single effective treatment. However, doctors may prescribe medication to relieve pain and to help promote sleep. CBT, mindfulness and counselling may also help people to deal more effectively with the stress of the condition.

To find out what the best treatment is for fibromyalgia for you, it is best to speak to a specialist who can assess your symptoms and offer advice on how to manage the condition.

Dementech specialises in diagnosing and treating neurological disorders including all types of mental health conditions. For more information contact our experienced and friendly team.

Read More
patient with mental health problem

Common Mental Health conditions and how to treat them

Mental health problems are becoming increasingly common, but why is this and what can be done about it?

Causes of mental health problems

There is no single cause for the growth in mental health disorders over the last 10 years. We believe there may be many different contributory factors. There are more demands on people now compared to previous generations, fuelled by the pressures of social media and instant news. The pace of life has accelerated to such an extent that people are at greater risk of burnout than ever before. Our cognitive and emotional workload is increasing, and many people are finding it harder and harder to find any downtime or to relax in the short amount of leisure time they may have. The result is rising levels of anxiety, depression and stress.

Why is mental illness on the rise? Mr Stelios Kiosses explains in this video.

 

Depression

Depression is very different to feeling low or unhappy. When someone is depressed it can impact every aspect of their lives and they may feel unable to cope with everyday activities. It may affect their physical and mental health, resulting in a loss of interest in things that previously they enjoyed. They may lose their appetite or find themselves unable to sleep.

Anxiety

Anxiety is a natural human response to a perceived threat. It is what we feel when we are worried or tense about things that might happen, particularly if we are facing stressful events or major life changes.

Anxiety becomes a problem if it starts to have a significant detrimental impact on your life. You may be diagnosed as having anxiety if you have felt anxious for a long time or your fears are disproportionate to the situation. You may be experiencing distressing symptoms such as panic attacks, or you may find it hard to go about your normal life.

Stress

Stress is normally related to our reaction to feeling under pressure. This is very individual and what one person finds stressful, another may take in their stride. Stress can become particularly acute when we feel we don’t have control over what is happening to us or we become overwhelmed. Stress isn’t a psychiatric diagnosis however it can trigger mental health problems like anxiety or depression. Conversely, mental health problems can lead to stress.

Stress can also cause physical symptoms including tiredness, headaches and gastrointestinal problems. When we are stressed our bodies produce high levels of hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline which are responsible for the body’s fight, flight or freeze response. When we are unable to release these hormones as our ancestors would have done (by running away or fighting, for example) they remain in our bodies and can cause unpleasant physical symptoms.

Treatment for anxiety and depression

The right treatment for mental health problems, such as anxiety and depression, varies from one person to the next, depending on the type and extent of the problem and the person’s individual thoughts, beliefs and preferences.

Medication may be prescribed to deal with certain problems, such as anxiety or problems sleeping, but this will not get to the root of the problem. A therapeutic approach such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) can be effective in tackling some of the psychological issues that lie at the heart of a person’s depression.

CBT for mental health

CBT works on a person’s behaviour first. This is because when someone becomes depressed, they may stop doing things that they used to enjoy. They may lose motivation and become tired and listless. The focus of CBT is to try and increase the person’s activity levels first, so they begin to experience some of the things they used to enjoy and start to feel better. Once this is in place, the therapist may help the person to work on any negative thoughts or rumination.

How does mindfulness reduce depression?

Mindfulness-based CBT brings together mindfulness techniques such as meditation, stretching and breathing exercises and combines this with elements of CBT. It can be effective in helping to break the negative thought patterns that are a symptom of recurrent depression.

Evidence suggests that mindfulness-based CBT can reduce the risk of relapse of people who experience recurrent depression by as much as 43%. It is recommended by NICE for the prevention of relapse in such people.

Dementech specialise in diagnosing and treating neurological disorders including mental health conditions and can suggest the best treatment plan for you. For more information contact our experienced and friendly team.

Read More

Treatment for Aphasia

To continue to raise awareness for National Aphasia Month, and to follow on from our previous article about Types of Aphasia, we look at the various aphasia treatment approaches.

Aphasia Treatment

Aphasia is a communication disorder that affects a person’s ability to process language. It may develop after a stroke or brain injury or as a result of a neurological disorder or infection. People with aphasia may struggle to speak, understand language, read or write.

Speech and language therapy

Treatment will depend on which type of aphasia a person has and how severely they are affected. If the brain damage is mild, the individual may recover their language skills without needing to have specialist treatment. However, most people with aphasia have some kind of speech and language therapy to help them to recover their language skills as much as possible and develop other ways of communicating.

It is unusual to regain pre-injury levels of communication even after treatment, however certain factors appear to affect treatment outcomes. Starting soon after the brain injury has been shown to be effective, according to some studies, and working in a group environment with other people affected by aphasia may also help. Computer-assisted therapy is increasingly being used to help people to relearn word sounds.

Aphasia treatment approaches

Aphasia treatment falls into two main categories. It is likely that most people with aphasia will be treated using both. As the condition develops, the treatment will be adjusted to ensure it remains effective.

Impairment-based therapies

Impairment-based therapies are designed to stimulate listening, speaking, reading and writing. The aim is to improve language function over time by attempting to repair the damaged areas. A speech-language pathologist may set particular tasks that enable the person to understand and speak as well as they are able. Computer software may be used to improve word-finding, comprehension and day-to-day problems.

Among the types of impairment-based therapies are:

  • Constraint-induced therapy – this follows similar principles to physical therapies for paralysis which restrict or constrain functional parts of the body in order to force the damaged areas to work. In constraint-induced therapy, people with aphasia may be constrained from using gesture to communicate in order to encourage them to use their impaired speech. The therapy is done in short bursts – usually two or three hours a day for a period of two weeks. It is normally done alongside communication-based therapy which encourage people with aphasia to use whatever abilities remain available to them in order to communicate.
  • Tele-rehabilitation – this is a new approach currently in the early stages of development. It uses webcam and the internet to enable the person with aphasia and the therapist to be able to interact remotely.
  • Melodic intonation therapy – this is based on the principle that certain types of aphasia leave people able to sing but not speak. This therapy uses melody to enable people with the condition to construct sentences. It is suited to people who have a good level of understanding of speech and some ability to express themselves.

Communication-based therapies

Communication-based therapies are designed to help people with aphasia to manage the day-to-day challenges of their condition by learning how to communicate using any means. The aim is to overcome frustration by helping people to make themselves understood.

Among the types of communication-based therapies are:

  • Supported conversation – this approach uses volunteers who engage in conversations with people who have aphasia. Supported conversations help to enhance the confidence of people who have lost their natural ability to communicate and have conversations.
  • PACE (Promoting Aphasics’ Communicative Effectiveness) therapy – this introduces elements of conversation into a simple picture-naming procedure.
  • Conversational coaching – this aims to increase the confidence of someone with aphasia by scripting conversation. A computer programme called AphasiaScripts features a virtual therapist who helps and supports the person with aphasia.

Dementech specialise in diagnosing and treating neurological disorders including all types of aphasia. Following diagnosis, we can discuss the most appropriate treatment approach for you. For more information contact our experienced and friendly team.

Read More
Understanding Types of Aphasia

Understanding Types of Aphasia

To mark National Aphasia Awareness Month, we are looking at what aphasia is, the different types of aphasia and how you can communicate more effectively with people who have the condition. In a separate post, we will be considering the treatments available for people with aphasia.

What causes aphasia?

Aphasia is an acquired communication disorder that impairs a person’s ability to process language but does not affect their intelligence.

People are not born with aphasia, but they may develop it after a stroke, brain injury, infection or as a result of a neurological disorder. Aphasia may cause people to struggle to understand language, to speak, read or write.

The disorder can vary in severity. In its most severe form, it can be almost impossible for someone with the condition to make themselves understood, while other types of aphasia may affect the ability to remember particular words or to construct a sentence. Sometimes, someone may lose the ability to read.

Often people with aphasia may experience impairment in several different forms of communication but may still have some ability to communicate. Treatment for the condition tends to focus on determining how much function remains and enhancing those channels that are still available.

Aphasia versus dysphasia

Aphasia is sometimes confused with dysphasia. While aphasia and dysphasia have the same causes and symptoms, dysphasia tends to involve moderate language impairments whereas aphasia is more severe, potentially resulting in a complete loss of speech and the ability to understand speech. Some health professionals use the terms interchangeably, which can be confusing.

Types of aphasia

There are various different types of aphasia depending on the location and extent of the brain injury. These include:

  • Global aphasia is the most severe form of the condition. Patients understand little or no spoken language, can produce few recognisable words and cannot read or write. It can occur immediately after a stroke but may improve quite quickly if the extent of brain damage is not too severe.
  • Broca’s or non-fluent aphasia severely impacts speech. People may not be able to utter more than a few words and the formation of sounds may be laborious. The ability to read and understand speech remains intact, however, although the ability to write may also be affected.
  • Mixed non-fluent aphasia is form of aphasia where the person will have very limited speech (as with Broca’s aphasia) and may also struggle to understand speech. Reading and writing may be very limited.
  • Wernicke’s or fluent aphasia affects the ability to understand speech. The person may still able to speak themselves, although the meaning might be unclear and sentence structure can often be jumbled. Reading and writing may be severely impaired.
  • Anomic aphasia affects the ability to recall nouns and verbs which can make speech and writing vague and difficult to understand. Those affected can understand speech well and read adequately.

Primary progressive aphasia

Unlike other forms of aphasia, which are the result of stroke or brain injury, primary progressive aphasia is caused by neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s Disease or Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration.

The deterioration of brain tissue associated with speech and language causes this type of aphasia to worsen over time. Initial symptoms might include problems with speech and language but other issues such as memory loss may develop later.

Communicating with someone with aphasia

There are some simple ways to improve communication with someone who is suffering from aphasia:

  1. Be patient. Allow the person plenty of time to process what you are saying and respond.
  2. Talking in a quiet place without too many distractions can help.
  3. Do not patronise. Remember, the condition does not affect a person’s intelligence.
  4. It can be frustrating for the person with aphasia to try and communicate. Using an iPad, pen and paper or gestures may help them to express themselves more easily.

Dementech specialises in diagnosing and treating neurological disorders including all types of aphasia. For more information contact our experienced and friendly team.

Read More

Parkinson’s Disease: What To Expect

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive and incurable disorder of the nervous system. It affects movement and is characterised by tremors, stiffness and slowing down of movement.

Early symptoms may be barely noticeable. The condition often starts with a slight tremor in one hand and a feeling of stiffness in the body, but as the disease develops the symptoms become more pronounced.

Symptoms of Parkinson’s disease

Symptoms of Parkinson’s disease may vary from person to person. Some of the early signs include:

  • Tremors or shaking – this often begins in the hands or fingers and you may notice tremors in the hand even when it is resting.
  • Slowed movement (bradykinesia) – Parkinson’s disease causes a slowing of movement which may make even everyday tasks, such as walking or getting up out of a chair, more difficult and time-consuming.
  • Speech changes – you may start to slur or hesitate before speaking. Your speech may lose its normal inflections and become more monotone.
  • Muscle stiffness – muscles may become stiff and painful, limiting your range of movement.
  • Changes in posture – you may start to stoop or have problems balancing.
  • Loss of automatic movement – movements that you perform without thinking about them, such as swinging your arms when you walk or smiling, may become more difficult.
  • Writing changes – you may find it more difficult to write and your writing may become illegible.

In addition, you may also develop:

  • Depression, anxiety or loss of motivation.
  • Problems chewing, eating or swallowing – these tend to occur as the condition develops.
  • Sleep problems.
  • Bladder problems.
  • Constipation due to a slower digestive tract.
  • Problems with your sense of smell including difficulty distinguishing between different odours.
  • Pain.

What are the 5 stages of Parkinson’s disease?

Doctors have identified five stages to Parkinson’s disease, known as the Hoehn and Yahr Scale. This scale is used to classify patients in research studies.

  • Stage 1: the earliest stage with mild symptoms only on one side of the body and little or no functional impairment.
  • Stage 2: Symptoms have spread to both sides of the body and may now include loss of facial expression and speech abnormalities. This may come months or years after stage 1.
  • Stage 3: By this stage you may have loss of balance and slowness of movement. However, you will still be able to dress, eat and wash by yourself.
  • Stage 4: You may be able to walk and stand unassisted, but you have become increasingly disabled and can no longer perform daily activities without assistance.
  • Stage 5: The most advanced stage of the disease. You can no longer get out of a chair or bed without help. You may fall frequently when standing and stumble when walking. You need round the clock assistance and you may have hallucinations.

Causes of Parkinson’s disease

Scientists are not absolutely sure what causes Parkinson’s disease, but it is linked to the death of nerve cells in the brain and a fall in level of dopamine levels which causes abnormal brain activity. If it is accompanied by changes in the Lewy bodies of the brain, dementia may also develop.

Certain factors seem to be associated with an increased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. These include:

  • Age – the disease is most common in people aged 60 and over.
  • Hereditary – if you have a close family member with the disease, you are more likely to develop it.
  • Sex – A French study in 2015 found that men are 50% more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease than women. However, the risk for women increases with age.
  • Environmental factors – studies suggest ongoing exposure to certain pesticides may slightly increase your risk of Parkinson’s.

Dr David Choluj discusses more about the causes of Parkinson’s disease.

Diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease

There is no specific test for Parkinson’s disease, and it may take some time to establish a definitive diagnosis. A neurologist will assess your medical history and review your signs and symptoms. You may be given an MRI, CT or ultrasound scan and/or blood tests to rule out other disorders. A dose of Parkinson’s disease medication may be administered to see if it improves your symptoms. This may help to confirm a diagnosis of Parkinson’s.

Parkinson’s disease treatment

  • Medication: There is no cure for Parkinson’s disease but there is a wide range of medications that have been shown to be effective in controlling symptoms, including medication to increase or provide a substitute for lost dopamine. Medication can improve problems with movement, tremoring and walking.
  • Surgery: People with advanced Parkinson’s disease who are no longer responding well to medication may be offered deep brain stimulation surgery. This implants electrodes into different parts of the brain that send pulses into the brain and may reduce symptoms.
  • Lifestyle changes: Certain lifestyle changes have been shown to reduce the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. These include eating high fibre foods and drinking plenty of fluids to prevent constipation; eating a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids; exercising to improve balance, flexibility and strength.

Interested to know more about how Parkinson’s disease can be treated?

Dementech specialise in diagnosing and treating neurological disorders like Parkinson’s disease. For more information contact our experienced and friendly team.

Read More

In The News: Dementech hosting AI trials with Medopad and Tencent

One of the world’s largest technology firms, Tencent, is partnering with London based start-up Medopad on clinical trials of artificial intelligence (AI) programs which aim to diagnose patients with Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis and psoriasis.

The Parkinson’s disease clinical trials will involve around 40 patients over the next few months and will take place at Dementech Neurosciences, state of the art private mental health clinic in central London. Clinical trials for multiple sclerosis and psoriasis will follow.

The move comes after Tencent were asked by the Chinese government to help facilitate and develop AI technology for diagnosing complex health conditions.

At Dementech we have always been at the forefront of neurological diagnosis and treatment and we are excited by the current project with Medopad and Tencent.

Keep up to date with the latest news and information from our projects on our website or social channels.

You can read more about project on the Financial Times website.

 

Read More

The dementech team’s multidisciplinary approach to patient care

People with neurological disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s and multiple sclerosis, benefit from a multidisciplinary approach combining pharmacological therapies with psychological interventions.

These are complex and frequently incurable conditions that present a range of different symptoms, both physical and psychological. In order to make the greatest difference, patients need an accurate diagnosis and holistic treatment plan that addresses the many different aspects of each disease.

Dementech Neurosciences – a private memory clinic based in London – was founded in August 2016 to provide just this. Our team includes healthcare experts and world-renowned scientific advisers who specialise in the diagnosis and treatment of particular neurological conditions. 

 

Our Scientific Advisers include:

Professor K. Ray Chauduri who specialises in Parkinson’s disease and neurology and is Professor of Neurology/Movement Disorders at King’s College London. He is Medical Director of the National Parkinson Foundation International Centre of Excellence, Co-chairman of the appointments committee of the Movement Disorders Society and Chairman of the MDS Non-motor Study Group. Prof. Chauduri is co-editor in chief of Nature Parkinson’s Journal and chief editor of the first textbook on the non-motor aspects of Parkinson’s. In 2018, he received the Van Andel award for outstanding research contribution in the field of non-motor Parkinson’s.

Professor Dag Aarsland who is world-renowned in the field of Lewy Body Dementia and Parkinson’s disease and has contributed vastly to our understanding of old age psychiatry, Prof. Aarsland was professor of clinical dementia research at the Karolinska Intitutet before joining the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience in January 2016. As well as leading international research, Prof Aarsland sees patients and helps to train old age psychiatrists. He is a professor of geriatric psychiatry at the University of Oslo and director of research at the University of Stavanger’s Centre for Age-Related Medicine.

 

Specialist Healthcare Team

Dr Lucio D’Anna, Lead Neurologist who is a consultant in stroke medicine with a PhD in clinical neuroscience from King’s College London. He gained the Best PhD Award from the college in 2016 and featured on the front cover of Neurology magazine. Dr D’Anna is an associate member of the Royal College of Physicians with a particular interest in stroke, cryptogenetic stroke and atrial fibrillation. He has published numerous papers and been featured in a number of leading scientific journals.

 

Dr Areti Pavlidou, Lead Psychiatric Services who specialises in adult and liaison psychiatry. Dr Pavlidou works as lead consultant for inpatient and community mental health services within the NHS and has a particular interest in stress-related conditions and the mind/body connection, as well as chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia. She is experienced in treating all types of adult mental health problems, such as depression, bipolar affective disorder and psychotic illnesses.

Find out about what makes Dementech different, according to Dr Areti Pavlidou

Mr. Stelios Kiosses, Lead Psychological Services who is an experienced consultant psychotherapist who works with adults and adolescents to help them to overcome personal issues. Mr Kiosses is a consultant psychotherapist who studied psychodynamic counselling and clinical supervision at the University of Oxford. He is a member of the British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy and the British Psychological Society and will be a familiar household name to many, having appeared as a TV psychologist on Channel 4. He is involved in data review and decision-making, as well as training and supervising associate therapists and managing a team of experienced psychologists.

Find out more about Mr Stelios Kiosses’s role at Dementech

Dr David Choluj, Lead Neurologist for MS who is a consultant neurologist with a particular interest in stroke medicine and neurological rehabilitation. Dr Choluj trained and worked at one of the most prestigious teaching hospitals in middle Europe, the Motol University Hospital in Prague. He worked in the areas of neurological rehabilitation and disability management at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge and the Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability in London. His specialist areas are neurology – MS, headache, dementia and Parkinson’s – and neurorehabilitation – prolonged disorders of consciousness, spasticity/complex neuro-disability management. 

Find out about why Dr David Choluj thinks patients should choose Dementech

Joanna Rodrigues, Health Psychologist and Cognitive Behavioural Therapist who has more than 13 years’ experience working in the NHS and private settings. Among the conditions she treats are depression, anxiety, OCD, trauma and stress. She is part of a holistic condition management approach for people experiencing chronic health conditions and long-term pain.

Find out about what makes Dementech unique, according to Joanna Rodrigues

The Dementech team all understand why this holistic, multidisciplinary approach is so successful when it comes to diagnosing and treating neurological disorders, which is what makes us different and enables us to provide the highest level of personalised patient care in our field.

 

Read More

Diagnosing complex neurological conditions with tech

Accurate diagnosis is critical for people with suspected neurological disorders in order to manage the condition appropriately. While, sadly, many neurological disorders are incurable, if sufferers are given the right medication and other forms of treatment, it can slow the progress of the disease and significantly improve quality of life.

But such conditions are complex and getting an accurate diagnosis can sometimes be challenging.

Diagnosing Neurological and Psychological Conditions

Dementech is a private clinic in the heart of London. Our internationally renowned team of healthcare experts, who cover a wide range of specialisms from neurology to speech therapy, provide diagnosis and treatment for patients with neurological and psychological conditions. 

We particularly specialise in complex or intensive interventions for people who may not have benefitted from more usual approaches.

To support our diagnoses and improve accuracy we use a range of leading-edge technologies, including:

Parkinson’s KinetiGraph

The Parkinson’s KinetiGraph is a small device that is worn on the wrist by a patient with Parkinson’s Disease. It is used to collect data over a period of six to 10 days, which is then compiled into a report for the doctor. 

This report reveals variations throughout the day in motor symptoms and complications of Parkinson’s Disease (such as tremors, stiffness and dyskinesias). Using this information, a doctor will be able to see how well people are functioning at home and whether the current medication dose needs to be altered or the medication itself needs to be changed. 

The technology is also used to remind people when to take their prescribed medication and to capture information about daytime sleepiness and night-time disturbances.

Cantab

Cantab is an analytical computerised assessment software programme that is used to measure brain function and cognitive health in five key areas:

    • Executive function (central control, planning, strategy, flexible thinking)
    • Processing speed (the ability to perform mental tasks quickly and efficiently)
    • Attention (the ability to concentrate and actively process information)
    • Working memory (how we hold information while processing or acting on it)
    • Episodic memory (memory of events and experiences, what happened, where and when)

An assessment using the software normally takes around 30 minutes and the results are adjusted for age, gender and education. They provide an accurate evaluation of a person’s cognitive performance and can be compared over time to assess for any decline.

Computerised Cognitive Rehabilitation and Psychotherapy

Computerised Cognitive Rehabilitation and Psychotherapy is a 12-session computer package of 12 challenging tasks designed to exercise specific cognitive functions in people with dementia. The skills learned can be transferred into real life situations with the support of a therapist. 

The package is designed to build cognitive, emotional and societal skills as well as increasing awareness and understanding of their new self. Therapists use such computer-based interventions to help people develop skills for day-to-day living and to learn strategies to compensate for the loss of cognitive function.  The technology uses a combined psychological and cognitive approach which addresses the interaction between people’s thoughts, feelings and behaviour.

Dementech is not limited to the above technologies but can also call upon leading neurologists, with their own specialised teams, to assist with the diagnosis and treatment of neurological conditions.

If you would like more information about using leading edge technologies in the diagnosis and management of complex neurological conditions, contact us.

Read More

Technology trial for Parkinson’s disease sufferers

A new clinical trial will assess the difference that a smartphone app could make to patients with Parkinson’s Disease by monitoring the development of their condition over time.

Forty Parkinson’s patients will participate in the 30-day trial, which is being conducted by Dementech Neurosciences clinical academic centre in collaboration with Medopad, an organisation that works with some of the world’s largest healthcare systems, research institutes and technology companies to solve problems in rare, chronic and complex disease monitoring.

The trial, which has been hailed by Dementech as a significant milestone, will allow researchers to assess the difference that high tech solutions like this could make to the management of the condition. 

If successful, the app could make a difference to the thousands of Parkinson’s Disease sufferers in the UK and further afield. It is just one of many technological advances in the diagnosis and treatment of neurological disorders.

About Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s is a progressive neurological condition that causes problems in the brain which worsen as the disease progresses. One adult in every 350 in the UK – around 145,000 people – is diagnosed with the condition, which causes three main symptoms, tremors, slowness of movement and muscle symptoms.

The death of nerve cells in a particular part of the brain, called the substantial niagra, means that people with the condition don’t produce enough of the chemical Dopamine. This affects the body’s ability to control movement properly, everything from walking and talking to smiling. 

The symptoms can be subtle at first but as more cells are lost, they worsen, resulting in the characteristic shaking and muscle stiffness associated with Parkinson’s in its more advanced stages. 

There may be other symptoms, too, including restless legs, dizziness, fatigue and bowel problems. As the condition progresses, people can experience increasing disability and poor health, leaving them vulnerable to infection and significantly impacting their quality of life.

Latest research into Parkinson’s Disease: Why this trial is so important

Researchers don’t understand why some people get Parkinson’s, which is an irreversible condition with no current cure. The disease affects everyone differently. Symptoms may differ from person to person and the rate at which they progress is also highly individualised. This is why the smart app trial is so important as it could help provide insights into the evolution of Parkinson’s Disease in individuals.

Dementech is a private health clinic dedicated to understanding the nature and treatment of a wide range of neurological and psychological problems, including movement disorders like Parkinson’s Disease, dementia and other neurological problems, as well as mental health issues. 

An internationally renowned team of specialist consultants is engaged in the latest research into Parkinson’s Disease. 

The team at Dementech are delighted to be collaborating with an organisation of the calibre of Medopad and will publish the results of the trial in relevant academic journals as well as on the website.

Read More
patient with Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease

CJD or ‘Mad Cow Disease’?

Both Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD) and its close relative Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD) are caused by Prions, incorrectly folded proteins, which destroy brain tissue. Neither are infectious but types of CJD can be spread by exposure to infected blood products, meat or medical instruments.

BSE (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy) or ‘Mad Cow Disease’ is a form of Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy (TSEs). The ‘spongiform’ in the name refers to the fact that the infected brain is filled with holes, resembling a sponge.

CJD is a degenerative brain disorder, estimated to affect one in a million people annually worldwide. Appearing in later life usually, the onset is rapid and fatal. Early symptoms include problems with vision, coordination problems, changes in behaviour, and memory problems, which lead to blindness, involuntary movements and coma.

vCJD was acquired by humans by exposure to meat infected with BSE. It is estimated that only 1% of CJD is ‘variant’. It was discovered in 1996 in the UK and, according to the government, 260 cases have been reported since then.

 

The Different Types of CJD

When it comes Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, there are 4 types:

  1. Sporadic CJD
  • Sufferers have no known risk factors.
  • Most common type of CJD
  • 85% of all CJD cases

 

  1. Hereditary CJD
  • Family history of the disease
  • 10 to 15% of CJD cases

 

  1. Acquired or Iatrogenic CJD
  • Transmitted by exposure to bodily tissue during medical procedures
  • Improperly sterilised medical instruments are also thought to spread this
  • Before 1985, was spread by a treatment using glands from deceased humans

 

  1. Variant CJD (vCJD)
  • Caused by consuming meat from a cow infected with BSE AKA ‘Mad Cow Disease’
  • 1% of all CJD cases
  • Possible 10 year+ incubation period
Read More
Partners & Collaborations