20 December 2004

Alzheimer's and pain

Pain reactivity in Alzheimer patients with different degrees of cognitive impairment and brain electrical activity deterioration
Benedetti, et. al.

Pain perception and autonomic responses to pain are known to be altered in dementia, although the mechanisms are poorly understood. We studied patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD) whose cognitive status was assessed through the Mini Mental State Examination test and whose brain electrical activity was measured by means of quantitative electroencephalography. After assessment of both cognitive impairment and brain electrical activity deterioration, these patients underwent sensory measurements in which the minimum stimulus intensity for both stimulus detection and pain sensation was determined. In addition, heart rate responses to pain threshold×1.5 were recorded. We found that neither stimulus detection nor pain threshold was correlated to cognitive status and brain electrical activity decline. By contrast, we found a correlation between heart rate responses and deterioration of both cognitive functions and brain electrical activity. In particular, the heart rate increase after pain stimulation was correlated to the presence of slow brain electrical activity (delta and theta frequencies). This correlation was also found for the anticipatory heart rate increase just before pain stimulation. These results indicate that pain anticipation and reactivity depend on both the cognitive status and the frequency bands of the electroencephalogram, whereas both stimulus detection and pain threshold are not affected by the progression of AD. These findings indicate that, whereas the sensory-discriminative components of pain are preserved even in advanced stages of AD, the cognitive and affective functions, which are related to both anticipation and autonomic reactivity, are severely affected. This sensory-affective dissociation is well correlated with the neuropathological findings in AD.

1 comment:

James Kildare said...

The children with low school level have more of the double of probabilities that those that has studied to be diagnosed with the disease of Alzheimer in their oldness, according to a new study. The Alzheimer is a disease that attacks the brain is progressive and degenerative cause problems of memory, thought and conduct. It affects in the attention, decision making, judgment, language and personality.
A low school level is tie with an increase in the risk of developing the disease of Alzheimer, this due to the first symptoms as they are: the lost one of the memory that affects the abilities in the study; difficulty in the execution of daily tasks, difficulty in the learning of new tasks; lost of the sense of the time and problems with the language, it indicated the main author of the study, Chengxuan Qiu, of the Research center of the Aging of the Karolinska Institute, in Stockholm, Sweden.
Previous investigations indicated that the school level of a person could be a factor of risk for the development of the disease of Alzheimer that is the most frequent cause of dementia.