Archive for May, 2018

2013 Vancouver #PCC with Velvet Martin

May 30, 2018

2013 Vancouver #PCC with Velvet Martin

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‪2013, the late Terrance Evans

May 30, 2018

2013, the late Terrance Evans. 

Silence no more! 2013 Vancouver #BC #MCFD Rally

May 30, 2018

Silence no more! 

2013 Vancouver #BC #MCFD Rally 

Young Boy Celebrates 300 Seizure-Free Days Thanks To Cannabis Oil

May 30, 2018

https://herb.co/marijuana/news/billy-caldwell-300-days

Young Boy Celebrates 300 Seizure-Free Days Thanks To Cannabis Oil

CULTURE
11-year-old Billy Caldwell became the first medical cannabis patient in the UK earlier this year. Now he is more than 300 days seizure free.

TODD FARMINGTON
SEP 9, 2017
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Billy Caldwell
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11-year-old Billy Caldwell became the first medical cannabis patient in the UK earlier this year. Now, following extensive treatment, Billy just celebrated an incredible milestone – more than 300 days seizure free.

Billy Caldwell’s bright future

Billy Caldwell Medical 1 Young Boy Celebrates 300 Seizure Free Days Thanks To Cannabis Oil
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Billy was diagnosed with a rare form of intractable and statue epilepsy as a baby, meaning he was unable to bring himself out of his violent seizures.

The little boy was experiencing up to 100 seizures per day. In addition, Billy was also suffering from autism, which was only exacerbated by the seemingly constant seizures.

In his hometown in Northern Ireland, medical cannabis was not even an option due to its illegal status. His mother, Charlotte, brought Billy to a children’s hospital in LA in June 2016. There, Doctors discovered an inoperable lesion on Billy’s brain. Practitioners began discussing alternate treatment options, including CBD oil. The old didn’t just help his epilepsy, but also improved his autism.

His eye contact has got really good, he used to have to wear special needs boots to support his ankles, but now he is wearing trainers. For some parents, this wouldn’t be a big deal but for us it was massive.

His balance and his walking is so much better, he can now go up and down steps whereas before he couldn’t do that, his concentration has got much better, before he couldn’t concentrate for long. – Charlotte Caldwell

 Billy’s prescription was transferred to his local GP in Northern Ireland. He currently takes two types of cannabis oil supplied by Dublin-based pharmaceutical start-up GreenLight Medicines, one containing CBD and the other made from the compound THCA, which is illegal in the UK due to its association with the psychoactive effects of cannabis. GreenLight Medicines named their CBD oil Billy’s Bud after the boy back in July.

2013 Vancouver MCFD Rally filmed by the late, Terrance Evans:

May 30, 2018

2013 Vancouver MCFD Rally filmed by the late, Terrance Evans: 

#DearRachel by Jenn Thompson

May 28, 2018

Jenn Thompson:

#DearRachel

It’s been almost three months since I first wrote you, crying out for OtherMothers across this province. Screaming for every child who so desperately needs help. Loudly bringing attention to an issue that is negatively impacting so many families here, where something can be done about it.

I didn’t know that writing it would start everything that it did. I thought it would be simple. To have the light shed on an issue that the Cons crept into the department that is meant to help our kids. Same old, same old for those goons … a bunch of budget going to keep a bunch of middle men employed. A bunch of budget going to contracts to keep pencil pushers happy, but at the sake of our kids.

And in the same few months, other things have been brought to light … David Eggen just sniffed out superindendant contracts within the Education Ministry that allowed for gym memberships, and kids college tuition paid … WelfareQueens … suckling off the departments meant to help Alberta’s Children reach their #GreaterPotential.

For us, the Department has responded with some listening sessions … but no action. Children are still slipping through cracks that have eroded into gaps that are the size of the Grand Canyon, and humans are suffering here in real time. Agencies are responding with “pizza parties” but avoiding therapy for kids. Service providers that were meant to be conducting outreach to rural communities are using apps instead of seeing families in our biggest municipalities, and using that chance to keep raking in big government cash.

And our children are suffering.

A sort of suffering that isn’t all about today, even though the hardship is marked and measurable. A sort of suffering that will last through out a life span. A sort of suffering that has parents splitting, families breaking, and adult children left in group homes rather than living functional, productive lives.

The sort of suffering that the soft bigotry of low expectation has allowed to fester in our families for far too long.

I see you are tired. I know you are fighting a battle that is hard and I also know that you are doing what is meant to be done for your constituents, no matter your party’s platform. And that is how I know you are good at your job, Rachel Notley. Because that is what a good representative does. They put aside their party positions and represent the needs of their constituents.

While we may not get as much press as the pipeline, we are also your constituents. While there are people put in place to handle these issues, they aren’t. Handling them.

The buck does stop with you.

We are Alberta’s families too.

I *know* this Province has a hero in you!

It’s time to show this province what powerful, compassionately minded, intelligent, strong women can do!

Help us fix FSCD!

#FSCDilemma
#PressForProgress

 

Jenn Thompson:

I have sent this email to the CSS Minister, the Executive Director of the Disability Accessability and Inclusion Department, and The exec director of FSCD this morning…

It has been a few weeks since the listening sessions were set up.

Two weeks since we marched on the Legislature and rejoiced at the announcement in the house from the Honourable Irfan Sabir that direct therapy is intended for every child who qualifies.

It has been almost 14 years since the inception of the FSCD Act and Regulations.

I have been reading the Policy and Procedures manual. The Nov 17 revised version. It is very interesting.

Not only are we not getting the direct therapy we should be getting – FSCD is not at all sticking to their own timelines.
Families waiting more than 6 months for their initial appointment AFTER diagnosis with the FSCD worker provided all documents in November and an intake was just scheduled for 2 weeks ago. Contracts that expired in February, still not renewed though there hasn’t been a change in the child’s need. Front line workers telling families “I know there has been some advocacy but that hasn’t changed our policy of only providing funding for parent training. FSCD does not fund direct therapy.”

This is all unacceptable.

There has been no action as yet. In fact, the only “action” that has been taken is that front line workers and team leads have stopped replying to emails or phone calls at all. In direct contradiction to FSCDs own Policy (as per the manual) that every call be returned within 2 business days. 60 days pre-expiration is the policy of FSCD for renewal meeting. Why are families waiting months AFTER the contract expired? Why are front line workers still denying families access to the supports their children are protected to have under the Law?

Do you need something more than the exact words of the Premier herself?

Do you need more than the Minister in charge of the department saying so as well?

These are human LIVES that hang in the balance.

This lack of any action is completely unacceptable.

This repeated false rhetoric of “parent training only” by front line workers is no longer going to be tolerated.

We are demanding ACTION. We will not sit and be placated by “listening sessions.”

It is time for real work. Get this department working before I have to gather the troops again!

Very seriously, relentlessly pursuing positive change for all of our children, sincerely,
-jennt

* * * * *

I highly recommend that other parents send something similar so our voices continue to be heard and these issues are not swept under the rug. CC your MLAs.

They say the squeeky wheel gets the grease … We are one giant cog together … and we must continue to squeek in unison.

I know I am asking for time from the most tired, overworked, under rested group of individuals in this province. But please, trust me … we must continue to #PressForProgress … TOGETHER

I am an effective advocate. I can argue for the best contract for my child, no doubt about it. Help me argue for the best contract for YOUR child too!

Copy and paste the above message to use as a structure if you like, or write something from your heart, from your family.

Mine was sent to Irfan Sabir, Roxanne Gerbrandt, and John Stinson

ROAR warriors ROAR

What is Cannabinoid Deficiency?

May 27, 2018

What is Cannabinoid Deficiency? – MassRoots https://www.massroots.com/learn/what-is-cannabinoid-deficiency/ via @massroots

 

What is Cannabinoid Deficiency?

PUBLISHED ON MAY 7, 2015, BY GOOEY RABINSKI

CANNABANOID DEFICIENCY HEALTH MARIJUANA KNOWLEDGE BASE

Based on the scant knowledge available regarding the endocannabinoid system and cannabinoid science overall, some researchers have theorized that many diseases, like multiple sclerosis and fibromyalgia, may be caused by a simple deficiency of endogenous (internally produced) cannabinoids (also called endocannabinoids). This condition has been labeled Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency, or CECD (it is also sometimes called Endocannabinoid Deficiency Syndrome).

Researchers understand that the body’s endocannabinoid system maintains homeostasis, meaning that it controls and regulates pain, appetite, sleep, inflammation, and cell metabolism (including the lifecycle of cells). Thus, a lack of cannabinoids could cause disruption to multiple systems in the body. It is theorized that this disruption, or lack of homeostasis, then leads to more significant and life-threatening problems.

Are patients who gain relief from their symptoms from cannabis simply supplementing a deficiency in their endocannabinoid system with cannabinoids from marijuana? Can cannabinoids from marijuana be thought of as simply supplements — or even, in extreme cases, replacements — for human endocannabinoids?

Several notable researchers have proposed that an endocannabinoid deficiency may be responsible for ailments like migraines, multiple sclerosis, and Crohn’s disease.

According to Dr. Ethan Russo, the Senior Medical Advisor at GW Pharmaceuticals, the British company that manufactures Sativex, a synthetic form of THC,

“Deficient cannabinoid levels may be the underlying cause of numerous conditions alleviated by cannabis.”

Can Cannabinoids Slow Aging?

aging process cannabinoids

Some experts go even further. Dr. Robert Melamede, former Chairman of the Biology Department at the University of Colorado, believes cannabinoids may even slow the aging process.

Most researchers acknowledge the role of free radicals in the aging process. Free radicals can quickly multiply and become unmanageable without antioxidants to help flush them from the body. An abundance of free radicals in the body can also result in inflammation, amplifying other health problems that are commonly associated with aging.

Melamede believes that cannabinoids may go beyond helping patients with MS or cancer. He believes they play a role in preventing and regulating all age-related illnesses.

For example, cannabinoids, like cannabidiol (CBD) and cannabichromene (CBC), areknown to relieve inflammation, while other cannabinoids — like tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabinol (CBN) — are known to act as antioxidants. These are two important contributors in the road to homeostasis and overall health.

With relatively little known about cannabinoids and their interaction with the human body, this new research is pointing toward a future in which cannabinoid therapy — whether derived from the whole plant or via single-cannabinoid extracts — may be an effective treatment for a much wider range of diseases than originally believed.

“Nobody Dies from Getting Old”

According to Melamede,

“Nobody dies from getting old. People die from age-related illnesses.”

The medical establishment deals with many age-related illnesses, like cancer and cardiovascular disease, on a response basis. In other words, a person has a heart attack and doctors and nurses attempt to save his or her life — after most of the damage has been done. However, cannabinoid therapy may change this reactionary model to one of prevention.

The application of cannabinoid therapy may be used to reduce inflammation and free radicals, thus improving or eliminating dozens of age-related conditions that otherwise would wreak their havoc, after which doctors and medical techs simply clean up the mess and try to keep the patient alive.

In the coming decades, such an approach may seem as primitive as the application of leeches.

This post was originally published on May 7, 2015, it was updated on October 5, 2017.

Canadian Tragedy Unfolding: The Incident of Ayn van Dyk

May 27, 2018

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Canadian Tragedy Unfolding: The Incident of Ayn van Dyk

The following is another Canadian tragedy unfolding within our neighbouring Province of British Columbia, the case of Ayn van Dyk:

http://www.care2.com/causes/autistic-girl-ayn-van-dyk-removed-from-her-home-since-june-16.html

This incident is transpiring against my good friend, Derek Hoare and his family. Derek Hoare, the father of 3 children, has become the target of Ministry of Children & Family Development (MCFD.) Derek is a single father of a neurotypical child and 2 children with Autism. In guise of “helping” alleviate stress on the family, the youngest child, Ayn van Dyk, was captured by ministry representatives from her school when the father refused to surrender guardianship. Ayn was taken, restrained, placed on sedating drugs and sent to foster care where she has been languishing in the System for months awaiting the Court to hear circumstances.

No allegations of abuse or neglect are present in the case. Rather, Derek is lauded as a wonderful, extremely well-versed man whose love and concern for his children is evident to all, including the ministry themselves!

In the Spring of 2011, Ayn, while playing – supervised – with her siblings in the yard, manipulated a play structure and wandered into a neighbour’s yard. Concerned for Ayn’s safety, dad called upon police to assist in search; as any competent parent would do. Ayn was located safe and all seemed to be well. However, MCFD appeared shortly afterwards demanding Ayn receive psychiatric evaluation despite explanations that the behavior is in keeping with children on the Autism Spectrum. A hospital confirmed that the child was not psychotic, simply a little girl with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder.) However, officials have dug in their feet, refusing to return Ayn home to her loving family. It is not only Ayn who is suffering, but also her 2 brothers whom adore their young sister.

This case is a blatant example of the lack of understanding authorities have for persons with developmental diversity. Although Eugenic practice is said to have ceased in Canada, it remains a blemish on our nation. Individuals like Ayn, with developmental differences, used to be locked away and isolated in institutions and Society, when educated, said, no more! However, children with disabilities continue to be targeted with removal from loving families and instead of institutions, placed into government foster placements. Family units are being destroyed and children ripped from loving homes as experts pretend that they comprehend the unique needs of children who are not ever going to fit into “cookie-cutter” moulds. Supporting natural families with services and funding directly proves the most cost-effective, viable and humane solution.

This case sits very close to my heart because my child, too, was taken from our home into “care” – as directed by ministry representatives – the sole method of attaining required service supports that would offer “an opportunity at life” for anticipated severe needs. Only, our daughter was failed: Samantha Martin died at age 13 from a sudden heart attack. She had been subject to 7 broken limbs while in residence of a medical foster placement and denied intervention for a long-standing seizure disorder. I do not want what happened to my child to ever strike another little being. Having spent time with the Hoare – van Dyk family, I am particularly distressed that despite the lessons that Samantha’s life disclosed and should be impacting subsequent cases like Ayn’s, foreboding circumstances continue to transpire. Little Ayn has escaped her foster placement twice as she tries desperately to return to the only family she has ever known and loved. Somehow, officials fail to recognize this fact.

What will it take for authorities to remember that honouring the rights of the Child must be inclusive of all Children; those with disability too? Decisions are portrayed to be made in the best interests of the child and in a timely manner, yet in no uncertain terms have these premises been adhered to.

Canadians should be alarmed that this situation is taking place. Autism is the most common form of any neurological disorder on the rise, with “one in 54 boys” identified with it according to report from the National Epidemiologic Database for the Study of Autism in Canada. Thus, all of us will be impacted by diversity in some form – whether it is through the birth of one’s own child directly, a grandchild, friend or acquaintance – and the situation that is transpiring with Ayn van Dyk could easily be YOUR fate too unless we collectively say, “No more!”

Velvet Martin, Protecting Canadian Children, Spokesperson http://www.protectingcanadianchildren.ca/ Tetrasomy 18p Canada, Administrator http://www.tetrasomy18p.ca/

“SAMANTHA’S LAW”

In Celebration of the Importance of Life & Loving Memory of: Samantha Lauren Martin, June 4, 1993 – December 3, 2006.

“The Family Support for Children with Disabilities Program to have separate legislation from that of child protection services.” http://www.child.alberta.ca/home/527.cfm

Creating hope no easy task when children in care keep dying anonymous deaths

May 24, 2018

Paula Simons: Creating hope no easy task when children in care keep dying anonymous deaths

“When it’s about Aboriginal children, people don’t show up. Why should they care? It’s just another statistic.” 

 Paula SimonsPAULA SIMONS

Published on: May 23, 2018 | Last Updated: May 23, 2018 10:25 AM MDT

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On a sunny May Friday, a few dozen people gathered at the Edmonton Intercultural Centre in the gym of the old Macauley School on 95 Street for the 11th annual Blanket of Remembrance ceremony. It’s a day to remember Aboriginal children who have died in Alberta’s child welfare system. 

The back wall of the gymnasium is decorated with the cut-out photos of tiny little red mukluks. There are more than 700 pairs of boots to represent children who have died in care or while receiving protective services from the province.

In 2014, the Edmonton Journal shamed the Tory government into revealing that 741 children and youth, clients of the child welfare system, died between 1999 and 2013.

Since then, another 140 have died.

There have been 33 deaths in the last fiscal year alone, plus another two in April.

The Notley government, like the Prentice government before it, doesn’t release the names of the lost, nor their causes of death.

But only 14 of those 140 deaths  — 10 per cent — have been ruled by the chief medical examiner’s office as due to natural causes.  

And of the 246 child welfare clients who’ve died in the last 10 years, 55 per cent were Indigenous.

However you count it, in this gym the dead far outnumber the number of living who are in attendance. 

It’s a small group here today. Some social workers and academics. A larger group of Indigenous social work students. Some parents and grandparents who’ve had children taken into care. A few who’ve won their children back.

There’s no representative of the NDP government. The only politician here at all is Dave Hanson, the United Conservative Party MLA for Lac La Biche-St. Paul-Two Hills.

Bernadette Iahtail, the executive director of the Creating Hope Society, which hosts this event, doesn’t hide her frustration. Every year, more or less the same people attend. She’s come to a decision. This will be the last Blanket of Remembrance ceremony. 

“When it’s about Aboriginal children, people don’t show up. Why should they care? It’s just another statistic.” 

This year’s Blanket of Remembrance Day is dedicated to Serenity, the four-year-old Cree child who died in 2014 after suffering from profound malnutrition, deep hypothermia, and a fractured skull. The husband and wife who were given guardianship of Serenity by the province were charged last October with failing to provide the necessaries of life. 

Serenity’s mother is here today. So too is her father. 

Serenity’s mom has given many interviews in the last two years, but this kind of public speaking is new. She talks about how she lost custody of her children, how she tried to win them back, how she had to sign the forms that allowed her brain-dead child to be taken off life support.

“I was on my knees at the end of her bed, weak and numb. I could not watch her pass away,” she tells the audience.

“I have been held accountable for my choices and my mistakes. And I will pay for them for the rest of my life.” 

Next, Serenity’s father takes the podium. It’s the first time he’s ever spoken publicly about his daughter. He tells the audience he’s spent 11-1/2 years of his life in jail. He watched Serenity grow up via images on his cellphone. He was incarcerated at the time of her death. He wasn’t allowed out to attend her funeral.

“I was kind of a bad person growing up. I was selfish and cruel. I chose being a drug dealer over being a father,” he said.

Every father, he said, makes a promise to his daughter that he will protect her. It was a promise he didn’t keep.

“To this day, I blame myself for what happened to my daughter,” he said.

“I did a lot of things in my life that I regret. People have called me a monster. I’ve been a very bad person. But I’ll never forget my daughter. My daughter was my life.”

(His problems with the law continued Monday when police issued an arrest warrant for Serenity’s father, saying he is considered armed and dangerous after a woman known to him was allegedly attacked Sunday.)

It suddenly occurs to me that of all the people who failed Serenity, in life and in death, her wounded parents are the only ones who’ve admitted any personal responsibility for her fate. 

The irony is bleak. Children die and die and die. At intermittent intervals, inquiries and panels and committees are convened. Reports are written and tabled and ignored. No wonder Iahtail of the Creating Hope Society feels exhausted, like Sisyphus with his rock, fighting an uphill battle against indifference.

Still, as I leave the gym, I feel the final words of Serenity’s mother ringing in my ears. Creating hope.

“There needs to be change. I will be her voice. And I won’t keep quiet.”

 

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect the fact that 33 children in care died in the last fiscal year.

 

psimons@postmedia.com

twitter.com/Paulatics

http://www.facebook.com/EJPaulaSimons

Paula Simons: Creating hope no easy task when children in care keep dying anonymous deaths

Psychiatry News Midlife Anxiety Tied to Late-Life Dementia

May 2, 2018

https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/895997?nlid=122096_4562&src=wnl_dne_180502_mscpedit&uac=83396HN&impID=1622022&faf=1

Midlife Anxiety Tied to Late-Life Dementia

Batya Swift Yasgur, MA, LSW

May 01, 2018

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Moderate to severe midlife anxiety may be an independent risk factor for late-life dementia, new research shows.

Investigators reviewed the findings of four studies, encompassing almost 30,000 people. Individuals with midlife anxiety disorders or serious anxiety symptoms were significantly more likely to develop dementia in later life, on average at least a decade prior to their being diagnosed with dementia.

These findings excluded anxiety related to prodromal cognitive decline.

“These findings lay the foundation for considering whether older adults with a history of clinical anxiety should be screened for dementia, although, at this point, we think it is too early to suggest that clinicians screen middle-aged individuals with anxiety for early signs of dementia,” lead investigator Natalie Marchant, PhD, lecturer and assistant professor, Division of Psychiatry, University College London, United Kingdom, told Medscape Medical News.

But “if anxiety is indeed a risk factor for dementia, this has implications for being better able to identify individuals at risk and to intervene early to reduce risk of developing dementia,” she said.

The study was published online April 30 in BMJ Open.

Long Interval

“Depression has been consistently related to the development of dementia,” the authors write.

Some research suggests that a long interval between the diagnosis of depression and the diagnosis of dementia suggests that depression is a risk factor rather than merely a prodromal symptom of dementia, they note.

The role of anxiety as a potential risk factor has been less studied than that of depression, although anxiety symptoms have been found to be commonly experienced in the years preceding a dementia diagnosis and have been associated with cognitive decline.

Most previous studies have investigated the association of anxiety and dementia during the 5 to 10 years prior to dementia diagnosis.

However, because the average length of prodromal preclinical cognitive decline is estimated to be 5 to 6 years, and mild cognitive impairment (MCI) may progress to Alzheimer’s disease (AD) within 5 years, an analysis of studies in which there was an interval of at least a 10 years between anxiety assessment and diagnosis of dementia would provide a more accurate way of determining the likelihood that anxiety is independent from the dementia prodrome, the authors write.

“To date, there has been no systematic review to investigate the association between clinically significant anxiety and dementia,” so the “aim of this study was therefore to review the literature examining the association…over a longer time scale (≥10 years),” they state.

“Depression has been identified as one risk factor for dementia, and since anxiety frequently co-occurs with depression and is a relatively prevalent disorder, we wanted to understand whether clinical anxiety was also associated with risk for dementia,” Marchant explained.

“We included studies that had on average at least a 10-year time interval between assessment of anxiety and diagnosis of dementia to minimize the likelihood that anxiety was an early sign of dementia — what we call a ‘prodromal marker’ — because we were more interested to know whether it is an independent risk factor,” she said.

The investigators searched three databases for all articles published through March 8, 2017, that investigated the association between anxiety and the incidence of either dementia or MCI.

To be included in their analysis, studies had to include an anxiety diagnosis or assessment of anxiety symptoms; to be population-based; to assess anxiety at least, on average, 10 years before final clinical assessment for dementia; and to focus on late-onset dementia diagnoses (age ≥65 years).

Of 3509 citations, the researchers identified four studies, involving 29,819 patients, that met their inclusion criteria.

Study sample sizes ranged from 441 to 27,136 patients. Participants were recruited from either the community, hospital inpatient/outpatient populations, or both.

All the studies assessed and controlled for a variety of demographic, medical, and psychiatric risk factors (eg, sex, age, family history, social class, and marital status).

Accelerated Neurodegeneration

All four studies found a “significant increase” in the number of dementia diagnoses in patients who either had a diagnosis of anxiety or who experienced clinically significant anxiety symptoms ≥10 years prior to their being diagnosed with dementia (Zilkens et al: odds ratio [OR] =1.61; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.28 – 2.02]; Boot et al: OR = 7.4; 95% CI, 3.5 – 16; Gallacher et al: OR = 1.62; 95% CI, 0.59 – 4.41; Petkus et al: OR = 1.48; 95% CI, 1.01 – 2.18).

The association between anxiety diagnosis and later dementia was stronger in the retrospective studies that included lifelong diagnoses of anxiety in comparison with the studies that invesitgated the association over a shorter period.

In the study by Pelkus et al, the association remained, even when participants who developed dementia within 5 years of baseline assessment were excluded.

These findings “lend support that the associations found were independent of prodromal dementia symptoms,” the authors comment.

Findings regarding the relationship between anxiety and other risk factors were inconsistent.

For example, the study by Boot et al found a stronger association between anxiety diagnosis alone and future dementia, vs either depression diagnosis alone or diagnosis of mixed anxiety and depression. The other studies did not assess the interaction between anxiety and depression.

All four studies were rated highly on the Newcastle-Ottawa Scale.

The researchers did not conduct a meta-analysis, owing to the heterogeneity of the studies.

Nevertheless, “despite the heterogeneity of the studies that were included in our review, all of the studies that met our inclusion criteria showed an association between clinically significant anxiety and diagnosis of dementia,” Marchant noted.

“Additionally, we assessed the quality of these studies and found that they were all of good quality — meaning that they were fairly representative of the population and they accounted for a number of other factors that could have influenced their findings,” she continued.

“From that basis, we concluded that there is a relationship between midlife moderate to severe anxiety and risk of dementia,” she said.

The authors note that the longer interval between anxiety and dementia diagnosis “may provide evidence for a common biological pathway linking anxiety, depression, and dementia.”

This hypothesis suggests that an abnormal stress response, which typically is associated with anxiety, may accelerate the aging of brain cells and degenerative changes in the central nervous system, thereby increasing vulnerability to dementia.

Planting a Flag

Commenting on the report for Medscape Medical News, Keith Fargo, PhD, director of scientific programs and uutreach at the Alzheimer’s Association, who was not involved with the research, said that there “was not a lot that’s new in this particular study, since it is a compilation of four existing studies, and most of the 30,000 people represented come from a single previous study of 27,000.”

Nevertheless, the study “plants a flag and is call to action to the research community, more than to the treatment community,” because it “would be good for the clinician community to have solid evidence as to whether treating anxiety in midlife would reduce risk of dementia.”

The 10-year “follow-up window” in these studies “would be consistent with the fact that anxiety is an independent risk factor for dementia, but the fly in the ointment is that dementia symptoms set in long after the brain changes that lead to dementia — in the case of Alzheimer’s, amyloid plaques can be deposited in the brain as many as 20 years before dementia sets in,” Fargo noted.

Midlife anxiety or depression, therefore, “may actually be an early symptom caused by brain changes that eventually manifest as dementia symptoms, so from that perspective, anxiety and depression might be predictive, but it is unknown if they are risk factors and if treating them will reduce risk — this will only be known with clinical trials.”

Although screening people in midlife who have anxiety “may seem innocuous, recent recommendations, as with prostate cancer, are to scale back on screening, because benefits are not strong enough to outweigh potential risk of overtreatment,” he cautioned.

Marchant agreed that it is currently too soon to suggest routine screening for dementia in middle-aged adults who have anxiety, but she noted that there are evidence-based nonpharmacologic therapies that “already exist to reduce anxiety,” so the “next step is to study whether these therapies could also reduce risk for dementia and therefore be offered as preventative therapy.”

The research was supported by a grant from the British Geriatrics Society. Dr Marchant was supported by University College London and the Alzheimer’ s Society. Dr Marchant’s coauthors and Dr Fargo have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

BMJ Open. Published online April 30, 2018. Full text