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Long-term Care Communication Techniques with Dementia & Alzheimer's
Aging continuing education MFT CEUs

Manual of Articles Sections 10 - 22
Section 10
The Convergence of Counseling & Psychiatric Genetics: Alzheimer’s Disease

CEU Question 10 | CEU Answer Booklet | Table of Contents | Geriatric & Aging
Counselor CEUs, Psychologist CEs, Social Worker CEUs, MFT CEUs

Competing Systems of Gene Expression
Outside the realm of genetic regulation, there is yet another explanation of the failure of certain individuals with genetic predisposition to manifest the symptoms of disorder. In this additional case, the expression of one set of Alzheimer Aging counselor CEUgenes actually competes with the expression of another set of genes. If one applies this principle of competition to mental disorder, a mechanism emerges in which the expression of one set of genes protects the individual from the damaging effects of a second set of unrelated mental disorder genes. Dementia of the Alzheimer’s type offers a compelling example of a case in which one form of gene expression may compensate for another form.

It has been well established that Alzheimer’s disease is linked to the presence of particular genes (Blacker, 1997). The later stages of this devastating disease are characterized by a dementia that carries the potential to destroy memory, cognitive capacity, and elements of basic temperament. The individual identity once known to family, friends, and self is
eclipsed by the disease process, and distinguishing changes in brain tissue are evident when an autopsy is performed.

Although genetic links to dementia of the Alzheimer’s type have clearly been established, equally compelling information has emerged showing that it may be possible to counteract the damaging effects of Alzheimer’s genes by building complex verbal skills early in life (Snowdon, 1997; Snowdon, Greiner, Kemper, Nanayakkara, & Mortimer, 1999; Snowdon et al., 2000). Neuroscientists speculate that in the process of building these complex verbal skills, powerful brain pathways are created that are able to compensate for faculties lost through the pathological processes of the Alzheimer’s disease.

Autopsy results reveal that, in many cases, the brains of highly verbal individuals harbor the pathological changes characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease but that outwardly these individuals do not show any significant deficits in memory, cognition, or affect. Although there is clear evidence that the Alzheimer’s genes are being expressed, the genes responsible for laying down alternate pathways are effectively mitigating the outward manifestation of the disease.

In practical terms, knowing that it may be possible to prevent outward manifestations of Alzheimer’s pathology role of advocacy in early childhood. Counselors could contribute significantly to Alzheimer’s prevention efforts by advocating for preschool reading programs and other initiatives that foster verbal development. In fact, counselors have opportunities
throughout the life course to help prevent the symptoms of Alzheimer’s dementia. By targeting other variables correlated with the manifestation of Alzheimer’s pathology, such as stress (Kiecolt-Glaser & Glaser, 2001; Sapolsky, 1996; Snowdon, 1997), depression (Green et al., 2003), and cardiovascular disease (Snowdon et al., 1997), the role of the counselor in Alzheimer’s prevention efforts could include, for example, individual counseling for stress and depression, social action targeting systems variables that result in high stress or depression levels, or advocacy for healthy diet and exercise programs for adults.
- Douthit, Kathryn ; The Convergence of Counseling and Psychiatric Genetics: An Essential Role for Counselors; Journal of Counseling & Development, Winter 2006, Vol. 84, Issue1.

Personal Reflection Exercise Explanation

The Goal of this Home Study Course is to create a learning experience that enhances your clinical skills. We encourage you to discuss the Personal Reflection Journaling Activities, found at the end of each Section, with your colleagues. Thus, you are provided with an opportunity for a Group Discussion experience. Case Study examples might include: family background, socio-economic status, education, occupation, social/emotional issues, legal/financial issues, death/dying/health, home management, parenting, etc. as you deem appropriate. A Case Study is to be approximately 250 words in length. However, since the content of these “Personal Reflection” Journaling Exercises is intended for your future reference, they may contain confidential information and are to be applied as a “work in progress.” You will not be required to provide us with these Journaling Activities.
The article above contains foundational information. Articles below contain optional updates.

Personal Reflection Exercise #1
The preceding section contained information about the convergence of counseling and psychiatric genetics with Alzheimer’s Disease. Write three case study examples regarding how you might use the content of this section in your practice.

Online Continuing Education QUESTION 10
According to Douthit, how might it be possible to counteract the damaging effects of Alzheimer’s genes? Record the letter of the correct answer the CEU Answer Booklet.

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CEU Answer Booklet for this course | Geriatric & Aging
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Table of Contents

The article above contains foundational information. Articles below contain optional updates.
Underlying cause of brain injury in stroke - March 15, 2018
New research shows how the drug QNZ-46 can help to lessen the effects of excess release of glutamate in the brain -- the main cause of brain injury in stroke. As stroke is the second leading cause of disability and early death in the UK, this study could offer hope to thousands of people at risk.
Scientists search for the clocks behind aging brain disorders - March 14, 2018
To understand the link between aging and neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's disease, scientists compared the genetic clocks that tick during the lives of normal and mutant flies. They found that altering the activity of a gene called Cdk5 appeared to make the clocks run faster than normal, and the flies older than their chronological age. This caused the flies to have problems walking or flying later in life, to show signs of neurodegeneration, and to die earlier.
Long-term proton pump inhibitor use does not increase hip fracture risk among Alzheimer's patients - March 13, 2018
Long-term proton pump inhibitor (PPI) use does not increase the risk of hip fracture among persons with Alzheimer's disease, according to a new study.
Worldwide study triples number of known genetic risk factors for stroke - March 12, 2018
The largest genetic study of stroke to date triples the number of known genetic risk factors for the disease and also should enable researchers to find novel treatments for dementia.
Trial for gout drug meets primary endpoint, raises safety - March 12, 2018
Febuxostat, a gout drug that has been in use for nearly a decade, was found to significantly increase the risk of death, even though it did not raise the risk of the trial's primary endpoint, a combined rate of fatal and nonfatal adverse cardiovascular events, according to new research.

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