October 2023 Newsletter

It’s Fall Ya’ll!

Walk for Alzheimer’s...because memories matter!

More than 6 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's. Almost two-thirds of Americans with Alzheimer’s disease are women and the disease kills more people than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined. Fifty percent of primary care physicians believe the medical profession is not ready for the growing number of people with Alzheimer’s or other dementias. In 2022, Alzheimer's disease will cost the United States $321 billion. This number is projected to rise to nearly $1 trillion in 2050. Held annually in more than 600 communities nationwide, the Alzheimer's Association Walk to End Alzheimer's® is the world's largest fundraiser for Alzheimer's care, support and research. This inspiring event calls on participants of all ages and abilities to join the fight against the disease. This is why we walk! We must find a cure! Join at your local event or walk from your home in your neighborhood. Across the nation, the Alzheimer's Association Walk to End Alzheimer's® is full of flowers, each carried by someone committed to ending this disease. Because like flowers, our participants don't stop when something's in their way. They keep raising funds and awareness for a breakthrough in the fight against Alzheimer's and all other dementia. Walks Near You

While there is no fee to register for Walk, all participants are encouraged to raise critical funds that allow the Alzheimer’s Association to provide 24/7 care and support as well as advance research toward methods of prevention, treatment and ultimately, a cure.

As dementia progresses, swallowing difficulties (called dysphagia) become more common, although they will vary from person to person. Swallowing difficulties can lead to weight loss, malnutrition and dehydration. Current research provides evidence that the neurophysiology of swallowing in early AD involved lower Blood-Oxygen-Level-Dependent (BOLD) responses in both traditional swallowing cortical areas and in regions commonly affected by AD. Although memory dysfunction is among the first noticeable symptoms of AD, these findings suggest that the brain areas underlying swallowing function also show compromise early on, before clinical dysphagia diagnosis. Traditionally, dysphagia, aspiration, and aspiration pneumonia have been viewed as very late-stage consequences of the disease. However, our videofluoroscopic findings and those of Priefer and Robbins (1997) show that swallowing and self-feeding changes occur early on in the disease. J Alzheimer’s Dis. 2010 Jan; 19(4): 1185–1197. Early deficits in cortical control of swallowing in Alzheimer’s disease Ianessa A. Humbert, Donald G. McLaren,,Kris, Kosmatka, Michelle Fitzgerald, Sterling, Johnson, Eva Porcaro, Stephanie Kays, Eno-Obong Umoh, and JoAnne Robbins

October is Health Lung Month!

Initially formed in 1904 to fight tuberculosis, the American Lung Foundation now combats all types of lung disease. The American Lung Foundation currently focuses on issues related to: Asthma, tobacco control, and environmental health, research and professional education, and advocacy as needed. We would like to add dysphagia to this list. Advocacy for proper instrumental evaluations, and proper treatment is needed to protect lung health from ongoing risks of aspiration. Those with asthma, those who smoke or vape, and those exposed to an unclean air environment will always be at greater risk to the effects of aspiration.

CE Opportunities -On-Demand + Live Zoom Webinar

*8 Hours Advanced ASHA CE On-Demand + Zoom Webinar Wednesday & Thursday, October 11-12, 2023 4-6 pm CT (5-7 pm ET) Deciphering Dysphagia with Ampcare’s ESP
  • Online/on-demand pre-course work (4 hours)
  • Two days of interactive webinar (2 hours each day)

Learn the Latest Assessment Techniques ❖ Accelerate Recovery by Combining Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation with Resistive Exercise ❖ Do More in 30 Minutes ❖ Earn 0.8 Advanced ASHA CEUs. Become Certified in ESP, the Most Comprehensive FDA-Cleared Treatment for Dysphagia
Re-certification is recommended every 3 years for Ampcare’s ESP.

New Technology for Dysphagia

Researchers are developing an innovative imaging tool called SimulScan to enhance the understanding of the brain’s control over swallowing. The project is supported by a five-year grant from the National Institute on Aging and is a collaboration between the Beckman Institute, Carle Hospital, and Purdue University and is funded by a $2.8 million grant from the National Institute on Aging. This imaging tool will help study the neural activity associated with swallowing, aiding in the diagnosis and treatment of swallowing disorders, known as dysphagia. By combining MRI technology and dynamic image reconstruction, the tool will offer real-time imaging of brain activation linked to muscular movement during swallowing.. The SimulScan imaging tool will provide real-time visualization of brain activity and muscular movement during swallowing, aiding in the understanding and treatment of swallowing disorders. The technology will be used to study both healthy participants and those with disordered swallowing across various age groups. This will provide insights into how swallowing behaviors and mechanisms change across the lifespan.

Dysphagia Tidbit

GI issues are important signs! Gastrointestinal symptoms are thought to precede the development of cerebrovascular disease, such as stroke or a brain aneurysm, or Alzheimer's disease, and it has been suggested (Braak's hypothesis) that gut conditions may precede the development of Parkinson's disease too. To test this hypothesis, the researchers used data from a US nationwide medical record network (TriNetX) to compare 24,624 people who had been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease of unknown cause with those who had been diagnosed with other neurological conditions; Alzheimer’s disease (19,046) or cerebrovascular disease (23,942) or with none of these (24,624; comparison group). Some other gut issues, including functional dyspepsia (burning sensation or fullness of the stomach with no obvious cause); were also more prevalent among people who developed Parkinson's disease. But these conditions were also more prevalent before the onset of Alzheimer's disease or cerebrovascular disease. Specifically, gastroparesis (delayed stomach emptying), dysphagia, and constipation were all associated with a more than doubling in risk of Parkinson's disease in the 5 years preceding the diagnosis, while IBS without diarrhea was associated with a 17% higher risk.
Journal reference: Konings, B., et al. (2023). Gastrointestinal syndromes preceding a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease: testing Braak’s hypothesis using a nationwide database for comparison with Alzheimer’s disease and cerebrovascular diseases. Gut. doi.org/10.1136/gutjnl-2023-329685.

Just a quick personal note: DiagnosTEX is coming up on 20 years of operation in DFW this December, and our newsletters have been distributed all those years as well! I am so blessed to have been able to live out my professional passion and service my colleagues and my community all these years. The newsletters have been so fun for me, and I hope everyone still enjoys them monthly, as a small connection to our small family and dysphagia team! We have over 500 subscribers to this newsletter, thank you for your ongoing support since 2003!