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Signs Of Near Death In Dementia Patients

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Signs Of Near Death In Dementia Patients – Sometime before Alex Godfrey’s grandmother died of dementia, she regained consciousness and told him stories of her youth. Can such moments tell us more about how the brain works?

It made red jelly. It was Christmas 1999 in Rapid City, South Dakota, and 83-year-old Ward Porterfield was in a nursing home. He was diagnosed with dementia three years ago; He was confused and disappointed and eventually he did not recognize his daughter Kay. “When I walked in,” she says of her subsequent visits, “he didn’t recognize me at all.” He refused to eat this feast. “Finally I told them, ‘Give him jelly, he likes jelly.’ red jelly And he looked at me:

Signs Of Near Death In Dementia Patients

Said heartily, “Then.” I think jelly will be my last meal. You’re going to starve me, right?” It was like, “What’s going on here?

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His astonishment lay not only in the harmony of it, but also in the fact that the tone of the reply was undoubtedly his father’s dry humor. Later that evening, the nurses told Kay that when the children came to sing, tears started streaming down Ward’s face. Some people get emotional while talking about it. “Don’t cry,” the nurse told her. Ward looked at him. “If you were me, you would cry too,” he said. “These are the last Christmas carols I will ever hear.

The next morning, when she arrived, Ward immediately recognized her daughter. And they continued to talk the next day. “It was as if his brain had been turned off for years,” she recalls, “and then all of a sudden it was gone again.” Then he lost consciousness. After two days he died.

Kay Porterfield believes this was a case of terminal explanation – a phenomenon in which people whose brains have not functioned properly for significant periods of time – often many years, and often due to neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia – suddenly Recognizing and interacting with compatibility. Responses can range from wordless but emotional exchanges to significant memory recall. Then the man will die within days, if not hours.

German biologist Michael Nimm conducted the experiment in 2009, drawing on medical case reports from the 18th and 19th centuries. He published an article about this and the term “terminal awareness.” However, despite increased interest and some research (including surveys and questionnaires) over the past decade, we are no closer to understanding what causes it. However, scientists hope that a group of studies will change the situation.

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“In 2015, I came across a newspaper article that described a similar situation and thought it was really interesting,” says Dr. Basil Elda, who leads the effort. “I kind of filed it away. Then, around 2017, it was pulled from my files and I thought, “Maybe we can do something about it.”

Eldada is a senior medical officer in the Division of Gerontology and Clinical Gerontology at the US National Institute on Aging (NIA). In 2018, he and his team organized a workshop, inviting key figures to review what had been learned so far. Eldada and the NIA research staff have already given it a new name: “contradictory explanation.” “By defining it terminologically, we mean that this event occurs shortly before death,” he says. “If you’re looking at it, you can’t tell.” Plus, let’s face it: terminology can be unhelpful. “If you’re recruiting people for a study,” he says, “you probably don’t want to tell them, ‘Hey, we’re going to find this event that happens right before you die.’

The workshop resulted in a paper published in the Alzheimer’s Association’s journal Alzheimer’s and Dementia, which concluded that finding such an explanation “could provide insight into both the underlying neurobiology and future treatment options.” It has funded six studies that are already underway. “Based on the preliminary data we’ve received from our grantees,” says Elda, “I think it’s safe to say that this trend exists, and it’s probably more present than we expect.” More or less we can believe.”

Personally, it’s easy for me to believe because I’ve seen it myself. In the mid-1990s, as her eyesight rapidly deteriorated and her memory deteriorated, my grandmother, Katie Lewis, moved into a nursing home while suffering a series of ministrokes and vascular dementia. After being diagnosed. From then on, her demeanor began to change – the persona of this lovable, proper, polite and warm-hearted woman, who was in contrast to the community she had lived in for decades, was marred by dementia and Changed, and she became. Stupid, aggressive and aggressive. His short-term memory was impaired and his residual memory was impaired. She knew a lot about who we were, her family, but for the last few years, angry, sad and worried, she didn’t want to see people. We met her anyway, sat with her when she wanted to die.

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Then, in October 2004, she was hospitalized due to a urinary tract infection. She was usually conscious for a week, but on Sunday when my parents, cousins ​​and I visited her, she was sitting up in bed and smiling when we walked in. For the next two hours she laughs and jokes, completely serious, coherent…aware. . We were brought back the memories of a lifetime and we took advantage of it as she reminded us of her past. My mother, who knew many of them, quietly confirmed them. His cheerful, eloquent and bright mother is back. “It all came back to him,” my mother recalled. “It was like being struck by lightning.” The clouds have cleared.” After we left that day, my grandmother regained semi-consciousness, soon had no idea who my mother was, and died a few days later.

“It’s stories like this that motivate us to try to do something scientifically,” says Elda. His work is now progressing. Dr. Sam Parnia, a British critical care physician and pulmonologist who has been practicing in the United States for 15 years, is an assistant professor of medicine at New York University Langone Medical Center in New York. He leads Eldada’s research. “If you talk to hospice nurses and palliative care doctors, they all know about it,” he says of terminal/paradoxical lucidity. “But no one really studied it because no one thought anyone would take it seriously.” So I want to help bring it into the scientific realm.

He plans to follow 500 dementia patients at the end of their lives, working with hospitals in New York City. With the consent of the patients’ next of kin, Parnia’s team will monitor them using electroencephalograms (EEGs). The advantage of this solution is that it records video of what a person is doing 24/7. And at the same time, it measures their brain power. We are going to get a complete picture of what a person is saying and how they are acting. The result could be revolutionary. “If we can monitor what’s going on in the brain,” he says, “we can find ways to stimulate the brains of people who, unfortunately, have full dementia, and make them conscious.” trying to bring in.”

These happy episodes are not limited to patients with dementia. “I’ve seen this particularly in cancer patients,” says Dr Mayur Lakani, a Loughborough GP and former chair of the National Palliative Care Council. A man who had been ambivalent for a while was suddenly “able to talk to me and their family very clearly about what they wanted to do when they were younger.”

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Tina McMillan, a massage therapist and former medical transcriptionist in Knoxville, Tennessee, noticed this phenomenon in her father, who had multiple myeloma. Marshall James McMillan was born in the mountains of West Virginia. His own father was a “violent alcoholic” who moonlighted, and in 1937, when Marshall’s mother died of sepsis, the 14-year-old Marshall wanted to leave home and “fight the Nazis.” , who was inducted into the army. . Military Registration and Enlistment Office and the commander was so drunk that he signed him up. In 1944, at the age of 20, he stepped on a mine in Italy and lost his right leg. He received a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star.

“So he wasn’t going to give up,” McMillan says of his family’s decision not to explain to Marshall that he was in hospice care when he was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2008. “When a person’s organs start to fail, metabolic waste gets into the blood and into the brain, and it mimics dementia,” she says. “They really lose the ability to process information. What I experienced with my father was that we had to watch him slowly fade away. He was confused. He knew who we were, but he strictly avoided talking to us. He was in the room, but not in the room. In his body, but not in him

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