Alzheimer's Disease

Alzheimer's disease or simply Alzheimer's is the most common form of dementia. This degenerative disease, so far incurable and terminal, was first described in 1906 by the German neuropathologist Alois Alzheimer, who inherited the name. This disease generally affects people over 65 years, although its diagnosis is also possible in people younger.

Each patient suffers from Alzheimer's disease in a unique way, but there are points in common, and the evolution of the disease is divided into four phases:

First stage
The first symptoms are often falsely associated with aging or stress. Some neuropsychological tests can reveal many cognitive disabilities to eight years before being able to diagnose Alzheimer's in full. The primary symptom most notable is the loss of short-term memory (difficulty in remembering recently learned facts), a patient loses the ability to give attention to something, you lose flexibility in thinking and abstract thought, can start losing their memory semantics. In this phase can still be seen apathy as a symptom rather common.

Second phase (mild dementia)
Some patients have difficulties in language, with the main functions, perception (agnosia), or execution of movements (apraxia), more striking than the loss of memory.

Language problems usually involve the reduction of vocabulary and greater difficulty in speech, leading to a general impoverishment of language. The patient may seem sloppy to make some simple motor tasks (writing, dressing, etc.) due to coordination problems.

Third phase The progressive degeneration hinders independence. The difficulty in speech becomes evident due to the inability to remember vocabulary. Progressively, the patient will lose the ability to read and write and no longer able to do the simplest daily tasks. During this phase, memory problems worsen and the patient may fail to recognize their relatives and acquaintances.

The long-term memory will be lost and behavioural changes will be worse. The most common manifestations are apathy, irritability and emotional instability, even to cry, unexpected attacks of aggression.

Fourth stage (terminal)
During the last phase the patient is completely dependent on people taking care of him. The language is now reduced to simple phrases or even single words, eventually, eventually, loss of speech.

However, aggression can still be present, and extreme apathy and exhaustion results are quite common. The patient will end up unable to perform the simplest tasks without help. His muscle mass and mobility degenerate to the point that the patient has to lie in one bed; lose the ability to eat alone.

Prevention and treatment 
All studies of measures to prevent or delay the effects of Alzheimer's are often fruitless. However, some studies appoint that the inclusion of fruit and vegetables, bread, wheat and other cereals, olive oil, fish, and red wine may reduce Alzheimer's risk. Some vitamins such as B12, B3, C and B9 were linked in studies to lower risk of Alzheimer's.

Intellectual activities like reading, playing board games (chess, checkers, etc.), completing crossword puzzles, playing musical instruments, or regular socialization can also delay the onset or the severity of Alzheimer's.

The treatment aims to comfort the patient as possible and delaying disease progression. Some drugs are useful in disease onset, and the dose should be personalized. 

Sports and Child Development

There is a widespread belief that doing sport is good for health of children. Therefore, they are increasingly the parents who are betting on sport as a form of leisure time for their children, as they recognize that this conveys a set of values and virtues.


Some researchers in this area call into question the benefits of sports, meaning, sport depends mainly on the lived experience of children. This means not just put the children to attend any sporting activity that they enjoy that same practice but the quality of the practice is most important.


Sports activities can also be very important in hyperactive, handicapped and autistic children, do to the facts that brings them several benefits (balance, motor and social skills, self esteem, etc.)


Benefits of sports
  • Exercise, no matter what age, can bring a range of benefits, not only physical, but as mental and social;
  • Physically it is known that sport helps to combat obesity, reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, strengthens muscles, bones, and joints;
  • The psychic level, raises self-esteem of practitioners, as it develops a skill set that did not have before, and improves their physical appearance, and therefore had a better image of themselves;
  • Socially, the Sport is assumed as an obvious place to make social ties of friendship, allowing the sharing of feelings and giving the individual the feeling of belonging to a group.
In sport your child can learn:
  • The value of health, for sport calls for a healthy lifestyle;
  • The value of cooperation, as a team sport only if they reach the goals when all join forces around a common project;
  • The value of respect, or recognize that all wrong and that the most important thing is to support colleagues in bad times, so that their colleagues do the same;
  • The value of Friendship, because the sport promotes the possibility of making friends;
  • The value of justice by refusing unjustified advantages and recognizing the opponent an indispensable element without which there is no competition;
  • The value of Multi-culturalism, as in sports, young people share the same space with children of various economic and cultural, contributing to the respect for different cultures;
  • The value of the Pledge, because they learn that to achieve a specific objective is required, hard work, effort and dedication, without which they never will be successful;
  • The value of defeats. Sport teaches the children understand that life is made of successes and failures, it is important to learn from the failures that arise throughout life.
However to make all this possible, the role of parents is decisive, regarding the respect, that they should present towards the coach, the coach rules and decisions, the games rules, team players, and do not forget to tell the child, that to do sport is a healthy option and an excellent complement to leisure, but the most important thing is to study.

Entering University - changing priorities and behavior

Entering university is certainly the dream of many young people, however, out of school and enter college is a difficult period of change. The adjustment may not be easy. An undergraduate student requires dedication, changing priorities and results in reduced contact with friends, lack of time. However, this transition does not bring only losses, on the one hand the horizon looks bleak on the other hand, college life offers new friends, a chance to meet people with different lifestyle and various social levels.

The change makes the student mature; the circle of friends of the student changes. At school he meets people closest to him. Already in college he will have colleagues of all ages and social classes. The contact with different people makes it grow not only academically but as a whole.
After beginning college, the student becomes more independent and increases their autonomy. However, one of the main fears of the students is to be disappointed by a wrong choice regarding career.

The student’s priority is the job market and how it needs to enter the profession even in very young age, you may be afraid of being frustrated. The fear is greater when the parents have invested in educating the student. Under these conditions, he feels pressure to show that money was not spent in vain. This will prove that the investment made by parents was not wasted is a charge for the student.

It is not necessarily that the parents creates that kind of pressure, it may be the student himself. Therefore, their targets when entering the university change. But the maxima that get into college is a sort of trampoline for the young to make new friends may not be a process so simple, and the student may have difficulty making friends.The relationship between new and old friends is also another aspect that may interfere.It is natural that the student now has more friends among fellow students, after all, one sees every day, and the student no longer has time to maintain contact with friends he had in school. That does not mean that those friendships have to end earlier.

Despite certain difficulties, the task of adapting to higher education can not be seen so dramatically amongst young people. After all, for many it is extremely easy and exciting this new stage. Gaining independence can not be an easy task, the students are afraid of change. But this is a necessary transition for the growth and maturing of the teenager.

Besides the independence won, they must also learn to handle money, be more controlled, thinking before spending, to manage it properly, and this and other facts to stimulate their creative capabilities, and transform your world view.

Thus it is important to prepare the youth before the start of this new stage, going by introducing accountability in the execution of tasks and autonomy in their daily lives, according to the approach of this new phase has been proven, it helps to better adapt and consequently improves there learning abilities.

Premature Babies

A baby is considered premature if he or she is born before the 37th week of gestation. The prematurity was in times one of the most common causes of infant mortality, but the evolution of the medical treatments has contributed to an continuously increased their survival rate.

Some characteristics of a premature baby:

  • Low weight when at birth; 
  • Small size; 
  • Head and hands are relatively bigger; 
  • Skin smooth and thin; 
  • Visible veins under the skin; 
  • Irregular breathing; 
  • Difficulties in suction; 
  • A weak and irregular cry. 
The motor and mental deficits are 3 times more frequent in babies of the male gender; and usually they will present difficulties: 
  • In the development of language; 
  • In the visual- motor integration; 
  • Attention and memory. 
At school age frequently present behaviour and learning disabilities (Generally this implication appears due to the low family and school demanding that is made to these children’s), so it is important that these children’s are stimulated.

Regarding the intelligence, even if in the media, premature babies generally have lowers than the average I.Q´s. However 80% of the premature don’t reveal any compromise regarding there I.Q Level and when that happens usually is associate to other factors (like cerebral hemorrhagic) and not prematurity.

Regarding the language, at 12 months 8% presents a serious delay in his language skills; at 24 months 28 presets a compromise in the expressive language and 6% a compromise in the receptive language.

The premature child with no other medical or neurologic complications do not presents any compromise regarding this aspect.

Like any other cognitive function the family relation seems to modify and with very frequency in a significantly scale the factors responsible for the cognitive defect.

With reference to attention and memory, the studies have been contradictory, and it changes from child to child.

The prematurity presents a high risk in a variety of disturbances of the development, since the more sever disturbances like the cerebral palsy and the intellectual deficiency, to a series of dysfunctions less sever in areas like the expressive language and comprehension, visual-motor abilities, attention, learning process and memory.

The percentage of cases that present this complications mite not be that high like the cumin sense will expect, but it exist in sufficient number to justify a psychological and neuropsychological evaluation of all the cases, with in the need of foil and trigger the necessary interventions to the minimization of the damage.

Down Syndrome


Question: I have a lot of questions to you about my 7+years old daughter who has Down Syndrome. She lately likes to play and talk to spoons..... yes spoons and other cutleries instead of toys. She will pick two spoons and pretend to be two people talking to each others. I have tried to replace with dolls or soft toys but she goes back to hers spoons. I have been talking to another parent of Down syndrome child; she told me that her daughter is doing the same. Please advise if it something to worry or it is normal. It is really irritating sometimes she even want to sleep with the spoons.

Answer:
Most kids with Down syndrome have a delay in developing their social & communications skills. It is not un-common, that they also show signs of immature behavioural and emotional development, due to the lack of an adequate communication system.

Referring to your query and after reading it, I can assume that your daughter presents a status of “immature development” of communications & emotional skills benched to children at age of seven. She has developed a certain way of playing that might seem strange to you, but for her that way of playing is giving her satisfaction.

She is still not ready to enter the world of the “humans”, and you could try to play with her by using the spoons as a way of interaction between the two of you in order to enable her to the next “stage”. I also recommend, if possible try to get a psychotherapist to work with her on a weekly basis and get some extra activities for her and you will see big progress.

How is the personality of children with Down syndrome? 
The intellectual deficiency exists with an IQ of between 25 and 50. The subjects with Down's syndrome have very different personalities, different learning styles, obedience and humour.

When and what can we do to improve their quality of live and self development? 
Since a very early age they should be provided with extensive health evaluations, early stimulation, physical therapy, strengthening of reporting and assessment of development.

Children with Epilepsy

Epilepsy is a situation characterize for the existence of anomaly crises, that persist to repeat end start from pathologic brain charges, that not necessary associated to a mental deficit.

The crises can be generalised or focal.
On the generalise crises all the brain is the start point for the charges, being the most common the Convulsions and Absents.

In the Convolutions there are several stadiums:
In the beginning the young child stays hard and falls with no conscience; it mite lose his breadth and stays with purple lips and with a dark colour.
In the next stage they can shake, dribble, urinate themselves and have a noisy breath. In this stage they can bite their thong and hurt themselves if they are closer to hard objects.
After there is a period, more or less log, of sleep that the brain recovers, and when the child awakes doesn’t have any conscience of having the crises.
In the Absents there is a break on the activities or a imperfect continuation of the same; the way they look to others looks vague and they don’t respond if someone talks to them. However they can blink and shake their heads for a brief moment, and some minutes later they can return to their activity with out realising what happen to them.
It is important to alert the family and the doctor.

What shod the professor do when children have a crisis?
1)    Keep calm during the crises, because it is not possible to do something to stop it;
2)    Observe what happens to tell to the family or doctor after the crises;
3)    Avoid obstacles were the child can hearth themselves:
4)    Open the shirt neck our seatbelt to facilitate the circulation:
5)    Put between the teeth a folded scarf, to prevent them to bite the thong;
6)    Call an ambulance is the crisis takes more then 15 to 20m:

Situations that can provoke an Epileptic attack
1)    Lose nights or wake up very sudden;
2)    :A very strong felling of anxiety and situations of very strong fear and sadness;
3)    The consume of alcohol can produce secondary effects, that later on can provoke an attack;
4)    Eat or drink in excess specially at night time;
5)    Stay a long time in very noise places, with very intense and intermittent lights;
6)    Watch TV, special when the light is intermittent, or the subtitles and the imaged is not very fixing.
The most frequent cause for the reappear of the Epilepsy attacks is the irregular or non administration of the medication prescribed against Epilepsy.

Dyslexia

The term comes from Greek meaning “hard" and is characterized by a difficulty in the area of reading, writing and spelling, and it was first identified in 1881 by Berklan but the term 'dyslexia' was coined in 1887 by Rudolf Berlin, in Germany.

People with dyslexia have difficulties in the association of sound to the letter (the beginning of the alphabet); also tend to exchange letters, or even write them in reverse order.
These symptoms may coexist or be confused with the characteristics of various other factors of learning disabilities such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Nevertheless dyslexia and disorders of attention and hyperactivity disorder are not correlated with development problems, and it can even occur to children’s with a intelligence Quotient (IQ) above average.

In the case of school-age child, the Psycholinguistics defines dyslexia as an unexpected failure in reading (dyslexia), writing (dysgraphia) and spelling (disortographia) provided the age at which these skills have to be automated. Is what we called of developmental dyslexia.

Is there any physical causes?
There isn’t a consensus among scientists about the causes of dyslexia; recent studies find strong evidence for neurological dyslexia. Several researchers have suggested a genetic origin. According to this approach dyslexia, is a condition that manifests itself throughout life with no cure. In some cases medication and compensation strategies help dyslexics to live and overcome their difficulties with written language.

Is it possible to identify some reading and writing mistakes?
* Errors due to confusion around particular:
* Confusion on the proximity and sequel of articulatory speech disorders:
The linguistic features, involving the skills of reading and writing, the most striking of dyslexic children are: the accumulation and persistence of their spelling errors when reading and spelling; confusion between letters, syllables or words with subtle differences in spelling; confusion between letters, syllables or words with similar spelling but with different orientation in space; confusion between letters that have a common point of articulation; partial or total inversion of syllables or words.

Are there any other learning disorders accompany the dyslexics?
Some times we can find changes in memory series, written language, difficulties in mathematics, Poverty vocabulary, Shortage of prior knowledge (long-term memory)

Can an adult be dyslexic?
In the case of adults, such difficulties may occur after a stroke accident (CVA) or brain trauma, when that happens we say that it is acquired dyslexia.

Can  it be treated, can they be successful in there life’s?
In case of dyslexia, the most appropriate treatment is thru the rehabilitation of the brain; meaning, by reaped exercises we try to transform the num automatic process of reading and writing in an automatic process. Usually dyslexic people can have a normal live, and they can be very successful. 

Examples of dyslexics that have been or still are successful in several different areas:
  • Agatha Christie
  • Alexander Pope
  • Albert Einstein
  • Charles Darwin
  • Cher (Singer)
  • King Constantino of Greece
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt
  • George Washington
  • General George S. Patton
  • Jackie Stewart (racing pilot)
  • Keanu Reeves (actor)
  • Leonardo Da Vinci
  • NapoleĆ£o Bonaparte
  • Pablo Picasso
  • Robin Williams
  • Thomas A. Edison
  • Tom Cruise (Actor)
  • Vincent van Gogh
  • Winston Churchill
  • Walt Disney
  • Whoopi Goldberg

The Down Syndrome

In 1866, John Langdon Down realised that there were numerous physiologic similarities between a numbers of children’s with retardation. The identification of the chromosomal anomaly regarding the pair 21 (the cause of this syndrome), it began to use the term trisomy 21, or Down syndrome.

It is the most common and most known for the chromosomal alterations. It results in the existence of 47 chromosomes instead of 46, being the extra element the chromosome 21. In the pattern trisomy 21 the genetic material in excess is on the pair of chromosome 21, and is the result of an anomaly in the cellular division on the time of the fertilization of the egg by the sperm and occurs in 95% of the cases. Approximately 1% of the cases have pattern trisomy 21 meaning that not all the cells have an alteration of the chromosome 21. In these cases the characteristics are less marked and the mental retard is less sever then in the other cases. The rest of the 4% the alteration occurs due to translocation; there is an extraordinary disruption of the chromosome 21, that adheres to another chromosome (in this case is important to make a genetic study of the family).

When can be diagnosed?
The Down syndrome can usually be diagnosed at birth or shortly after, by their phenotypic characteristics:
Hypotonia, brachycephalic head with a flattened occipital lobe, eyes with folds on the corners, nose root low, the language usually large and fissured, small hands and broad, short fingers and misuse of the 5th finger, extended interval between the 1st and 2nd toes, small ears, external genitalia poorly developed, low and average height, in 40% of cases a fetal hearts malformation.

How is the personality of children with Down syndrome?
The intellectual deficiency exists with an IQ of between 25 and 50. The subjects with Down's syndrome have very different personalities, different learning styles, obedience and humour.

When and what can we do to improve their quality of live and self development?
Since a very early age they should be provided with extensive health evaluations, early stimulation, physical therapy, strengthening of reporting and assessment of development.

Difference between Psychologist and Psychiatrist

Avoiding very complex definitions, I present here a generic explanation. The formation of a Psychiatrist develops within the Medicine; he does a course in Medicine after which he specializes in psychiatry. In this sense, a psychiatrist is a doctor.

In general, psychiatry aims to treat mental illnesses that have an organic cause (endogenous). In this sense, it uses the medical model, both in diagnosis and treatment of disease.


In this expertise the problems are seen as a disease or disorder, in which the psychiatrist uses the resources of medicine (analysis, radiology techniques, electroencephalogram, etc.), to establish diagnoses and to carry out the treatment, being the treatment predominantly based in Drug therapy (psychopharmacology).

However, there are many psychiatrists who perform additional training (Psychoanalysis, Psychodrama, Gestalt, Cognitive, etc), which allows them to develop psychotherapeutic interventions.

The psychologist is a professional who completed his university degree in Psychology.
Because it receives influences and theoretical hybridization of various areas (Philosophy, Medicine, and Humanities in general) Psychology has a spectrum of action much wider than psychiatry (as in businesses, schools, communities, hospitals, etc.)
Generically, the psychologist believes that the psychological problems primarily are consequences of life experiences and relational experiences, linked to the way that the person has developed its way of dealing with themselves and with others.

Therefore, this work involves the professional psychotherapeutic intervention, by counselling, therapy or other arrangements to promote the development of the individual, focusing on the mental processes, emotional and physiological characteristics that affect the behaviour and human functioning.

In general, the psychologist studies and diagnoses problems through individual interviews, questionnaires and assessment tools, all within an established relationship between professional and client and within a psychosocial framework. The benefits of Psychology and Psychotherapy emerge from the therapeutic relationship that is established between the client and the therapist during the course of each case.

One of the major differences between a psychologist and a psychiatrist is that the first do not prescribe medications. This happens because of not only having medical training, but also because the way the intervention design has nothing to do with this type of therapy.
However, when the psychologist considers that the prescription pharmaceutical is in the best interest of his client, he may advise you to seek a psychiatrist or family doctor to obtain such medical assistance.

In this way, psychologists embraced a vision rooted in experiential factors, developmental, relational, while psychiatrists opt for a more organic / biochemistry, however, very often these two "components" are deeply intertwined, and it is very common that most psychologists, have a close working relationship with a particular doctor, which build a multidisciplinary collaboration and complementarity.

Depression

Depression is the principal cause of the incapacities and the second cause of lost of healthy years of life, between the 107 diseases and problems of health more relevant. The personal costs of this disease are very high, being recognized in Europe as a primary problem of public health.

What is a Depression and who can be affected by it?
A depression is a mental disease that features more marked by a more marked sadness or more prolonged in time, with lost of interests for the activities usually felt like pleasant and lost of energy or easy tiredness.
The depression can affect people of all age, since the childhood to the oldest, and if not treated can lead to suicide (with is a common consequence)
It can be episodic, recurrent or chronic, and leads to the substantial diminution of the capacities of the person in guarantee every day responsibilities
It is more common between the women’s than in men, but some studies reveal that 1, 9% of men suffer of depression and 3, 2% of women.

What are the Symptoms?
It is different from the normal mood changes by the severity and permanence of the symptoms. It is often associate to anxiety and panic and the most common symptoms are:
-      Modifications of the appetite;
-      Sleeping disorders;
-      Extreme tiredness, lost of energy;
-      Apathy, sadness and lack or difficulties of concentration;
-      Concern about the meaning of life and with death;
-      Sentiments of gilt, lack of self esteem;
-      Irritability,…

Are there people with more risk factors?
-      People with episodes of depression in the past;
-      People with family history of depression;
-      People that suffer a significantly lost of someone;
-      People chronic diseases;
-      People that cohabit with people with chronic diseases;
-      People with a tendency to anxiety and panic attacks;
-      Older people,…

How long can it last?
Depression can last from a few months to a few years. However in about 20% of the cases it becomes a chronic disease with no remission. These kinds of cases usually happen due to the lack of adequate treatment.

When is it important to look for help?
Having depressed feelings is common to any of us, especially after experiences or situations that affect us in a negative way. However if the symptoms aggravate and maintain for more then 2 consecutive weeks, it is important to start looking for help.

How to treat it?
Usually with the use of medication, psychotherapy intervention or a combination of both.
The medications used in the treatment of depressions are designated by antidepressants and showed be prescribed by a Psychiatrist doctor, and you showed follow his instructions.
The psychotherapy interventions are particularly useful in most of the situations of depression. The decision of to begin a therapeutic process it’s  not always came from the patient, but from the others next to them, but is important to do so if the person doesn’t have the energy to do it.
The time of treatment depends of the patient but is never less thin 6 months. 

The Autism Spectrum

The term Autism derives from the Greek “Autos” that means Myself, Me; in a general sense, Autism is a condition that a person presents of being wrapped up in a very unusual way with him self.

It’s characterized by an abnormal development regarding the social interaction and communication, and by a very restrict repertory of interests and activities, being usually called as Premature Infant Autism or Kanner Autism.
These disabilities can also appear in a multiple non verbal behaviours, such as: Direct visual contact, Facial expressions, Postural and Physical gestures that regulate the social interaction and the communication.

What are the first’s signs of Autism?
The first symptom can be the resistance when the baby or the child is being cuddled, keeping her/himself indifferent to the parents or other people, never being able to establish friendly relationships.
Usually they avoid facing others in the eyes and prefer to play alone, looking careless towards surrounding people feelings and in social conventions. A main characteristic is the resistance to changes; the child reacts very strongly to all kind of changes, having severe mode changes to any kind of alteration in her/his routine or activities - An Autistic sticks to certain rituals, games or objects satisfying there needs ” that everything is always the same”.
There are some other kind of behaviour anomalies that can be noticed like; walking on the toes, play with their fingers for hours and hours, repeatedly moving their bodies backward and forward, start screaming with no apparent reason, heart them self and hyperactivity are the most significant for a diagnose.

When is the right age for a diagnose?
Autism is 4 to 5 times more frequently in the male gender, and usually it reveals until the child is 30 moths old, but it can become very evident in the first year,  due to the lack of interest and social interaction. However the diagnose is more clear after the child is two years old.

Can an Autistic Child learn how to speak?
The delay in acquiring language skills is very frequent. The child is unable to learn how to imitate language or gestures, reacting wrongly to the sounds. When a child obtains the ability of communication, the vocabulary is immature and non creative, but very common these children invent new words and repeat what they hear from others.

Is Asperger Syndrome and Autism the same?
Contrary to the Autism, in the Asperger Syndrome there aren’t any clinical compromises on the language level, cognitive development,  the abilities of self-help and is identified later than Autism. This syndrome is related to social interaction; were the subject interacts less with there peers and dedicate themselves more into activities of study and investigation.

Is there any possibility of a good diagnose?
Only 1/6 of the Autistic children can more or less have an independent life, meaning that most of them need special attention. However the language skills and high intellectual levels are factors of a good prognosis.