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"Alzheimer's"

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Alzheimer’s May Be Late-Stage Type 2 Diabetes: The Relationship Between Insulin, Amyloid Plaques, And Enzyme Destruction


By  | Dec 2, 2013 04
Science has known for years that Alzheimer’s disease and type 2 diabetes are connected, but new research from Albany University suggests the mechanism by which the association forms implicates Alzheimer’s as a product of late-stage diabetes, due to the way increased insulin production stops destructive amyloid plaques from getting broken down.
The research team presented its findings, which are still in the preliminary stages, at the annual Society for Neuroscience meeting in San Diego. Through their investigation, the team found that because type 2 diabetes — the most common form of the disease — causes people’s bodies to overproduce insulin, as a result of high blood glucose, the excess insulin trickles into the brain. Once there, it disrupts a key enzyme that normally erases amyloid plaques, a build-up of which scientists have suspected leads to Alzheimer’s. Without this erasure, the plaques accumulate and cognitive decline follows.
Read the full article at Medical Daily 
(http://www.medicaldaily.com/alzheimers-may-be-late-stage-type-2-diabetes-relationship-between-insulin-amyloid-plaques-and-enzyme)

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98% Of Nurses Admit To Lying To Dementia Sufferers: How Ethical Is A False Reality?


By  | Sep 4, 2013
The slide into dementia is slow and painful, for those suffering directly and the loved ones on the periphery who must provide care while watching a trove of memories gradually erode. Patient care works inside this delicate balance, but going against the wishes of theAlzheimer’s Society, nearly all nursesin a recent survey reported telling the occasional white lie to avoid patient bereavement.
The ethics of such a practice are slippery. Memories keep people anchored in the shared reality of family members, friends, and even their conceptions of themselves. When anurse is asked about a family member who has been dead for years, she must negotiate a thin moral line: Does she tell a small lie to pacify the patient, or tell a potentially devastating truth? What if the scenario takes place on a regular basis?
Read the full article at Medical Daily 
(http://www.medicaldaily.com/98-nurses-admit-lying-dementia-sufferers-how-ethical-false-reality-255535)

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Activation of Cannabinoid Receptors May Treat Alzheimer’s Disease


by TheJointBlog / September 6, 2013
new study published by the journal Neurobiology of Aging has found promising evidence to suggest that Alzheimer’s disease is significantly worsened by a deficiency in the body’s cannabinoid receptors, indicating that the disease could be treated with cannabis, which naturally activates these receptors.
For the study, researchers implanted mice with Alzheimer’s disease, and examined a control group compared to a group which was deficient in cannabinoid receptors. Researchers found that the mice which were deficient in a particular cannabinoid receptor “showed impaired learning and memory deficits” compared to the control group.
According to the study’s abstract, “The surviving mice showed a reduced amount of APP and its fragments suggesting a regulatory influence of CB1 on APP processing, which was confirmed by modulating CB1 expression in vitro”.
Researchers conclude that these “findings indicate that CB1 deficiency can worsen AD-related cognitive deficits and support a potential role of CB1 as a pharmacologic target.”
These findings help to confirm a study published recently in the journal Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience, which found that cannabis can slow, and potentially even cure Alzheimer’s disease.
TheJointBlog

Read more at the Joint Blog 
(http://thejointblog.com/activation-cannabinoid-receptors-may-treat-alzheimers-disease/)

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Copper Identified as Culprit in Alzheimer’s Disease


By Neuroscience News
Copper appears to be one of the main environmental factors that trigger the onset and enhance the progression of Alzheimer’s disease by preventing the clearance and accelerating the accumulation of toxic proteins in the brain. That is the conclusion of a study appearing today in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
“It is clear that, over time, copper’s cumulative effect is to impair the systems by which amyloid beta is removed from the brain,” said Rashid Deane, Ph.D., a research professor in the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) Department of Neurosurgery, member of the Center for Translational Neuromedicine, and the lead author of the study. “This impairment is one of the key factors that cause the protein to accumulate in the brain and form the plaques that are the hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease.”
Copper’s presence in the food supply is ubiquitous. It is found in drinking water carried by copper pipes, nutritional supplements, and in certain foods such as red meats, shellfish, nuts, and many fruits and vegetables. The mineral plays an important and beneficial role in nerve conduction, bone growth, the formation of connective tissue, and hormone secretion.
Read the full article at NeuroScience News

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Your life’s purpose. Why finding your passion is essential to maintaining brain health.


My north starI’ve been writing this brain health blog since April, and very quickly it has become one of my life’s great passions – my ‘north star’. I wake up every morning buzzing with excitement and feeling so blessed I’m doing what I love.
Besides trying my hardest to be the best Mum and wife I can be, my passion is writing about neuroscience.  My goal is to provide impeccably-researched evidence-based stories that are told in a simple, fun and compelling way.
Your ‘purpose in life’. Your north star, your passion, your bliss, your inner voice, your wisdom, your calling.  What do you call it?
Chris Crowley of ‘Younger Next Year’ calls it a ‘kedge’ which is his term for ordinary people doing extraordinary things.
Whatever word you choose to call it …

Read the full article at Your Brain Health

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Artists 'better protected' against dementia, study finds


Music and art are less vulnerable to cognitive decline, Canadian neurologists say

Posted: Aug 22, 2013 5:03 PM ET 

Last Updated: Aug 22, 2013 10:58 PM ET


Art and music are less vulnerable to cognitive decline, a new Canadian study suggests.
Neurologists at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto found that artists suffering from vascular dementia may still be able to draw spontaneously and from memory, despite being unable to complete simple, everyday tasks.
"We discovered that there is a disproportion between the degree that artists lose some of their memory function, their orientation and other day-to-day cognitive functions. But at the same time, some of their art form is preserved," Dr. Luis Fornazzari, a neurological consultant at St. Michael’s Hospital memory clinic and lead author of the paper, told CBC News.
Artists compared with non-artists are better protected, he added. "Due to their art, the brain is better protected [against] diseases like Alzheimer's, vascular dementia, and even strokes. They have more reserve in their brain in order to give functions.
Read more at CBC News 

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Depression in diabetes patients linked to dementia, study finds




(HealthDay)—Type 2 diabetes patients who suffer depression also have more significant mental decline than those without depression, a new study finds.
Diabetes and depression are common among older people and up to 20 percent of adults with type 2 diabetes have , according to background information in the study. In addition, both of these disorders appear to be associated with an increased risk of .
"Both depression and diabetes have been identified as  for dementia in general and Alzheimer's disease in particular," noted Dr. Marc Gordon, an expert not connected to the new study.
Researchers led by Dr. Mark Sullivan of the University of Washington, Seattle, tracked outcomes for nearly 3,000 people who had  and were at high risk for heart disease. The patients' thinking and memory (or "cognitive") abilities and levels of depression were assessed at the start of the study and the participants were followed for 40 months.
Read the whole article at Medical Xpress 

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Dementia Symptoms: Famous Faces Help Spot Cognitive Troubles

dementia symptoms
The Huffington Post  |  By  Posted: 

Trouble recalling names is a common sign of old age. And now a new study suggests that simple tests measuring one's ability to recognize and name famous people such as Albert Einstein or Oprah Winfrey may help doctors identify early dementia in those 40 to 65 years old.
“These tests also differentiate between recognizing a face and actually naming it, which can help identify the specific type of cognitive impairment a person has,” said study author Tamar Gefen, a doctoral candidate in neuropsychology at the Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer's Disease Center of Northwestern University.
Gefen told Huff/Post50 that, although several tests have assessed knowledge of famous faces in the past, many have included stimuli unfamiliar to younger people (some even age 40) seeking neurologic assessment or treatment for early dementia.
"This test includes images of faces [like Oprah] that are appropriate for a younger generation," she said.
Gefen also said that if anyone has difficulty identifying a famous person, or even a close loved one, they should seek a formal evaluation from a neurologist.
Read more at the Huffington Post 

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Why Not Everyone Gets Alzheimer's


why not everyone gets alzheimers
Posted:   |  Updated: 08/12/2013
Scientists are a step closer to understanding why not everyone develops Alzheimer'sas they get older.
While the exact cause of Alzheimer's is still not completely understood, it's generally observed that people with the condition have a buildup of plaques called amyloid-beta in their brains, as well as tangles of tau protein in inside neurons.
Researchers from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine found that in order to create the beta-amyloid plaques that are so characteristic in the memory-robbing disease, an enzyme called BACE-1 has to first combine with a protein called amyloid precursor protein. This enzyme chops up the protein into little fragments. Therefore, the key to preventing these beta-amyloid proteins might involve separating the enzyme from the amyloid precursor protein.
Read more at the Huffington Post 

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5 Things to Never Say to a Person With Alzheimer's


Posted: 07/29/2013 


Alzheimers


Yesterday afternoon, I walked into the spacious room belonging to Mary, a woman with dementia who has few visitors and with whom I've volunteered to spend a little time every week. I greeted her, complimented her on her beautiful turquoise sweater, and shook her hand.

Then I sat down at her little table that was overflowing with books, photographs, the newspaper and other items she wants to keep close at hand. I started off by picking up a small framed photo of Mary with her husband and three children -- two sons and a daughter.

"Tell me about your daughter," I said, using an open-ended question because they have no right or wrong answers. That's a tip I picked up from The Best Friends Approach to Alzheimer's Care by Virginia Bell and David Troxell.
"Oh, her name is Connie," she told me. "She has four children -- two boys and two girls."
She continued, giving me several details about Connie and her family. I then picked up a photograph of Mary and her twin sister, Bernice, and she told me about how they took piano lessons together when they were children. After a few minutes, I asked her if her daughter ever played a musical instrument.
"I don't have a daughter," she said matter of factly.
"Oh," I countered, picking up the family photo again and holding it out for her to see. "You just told me you have a daughter. Here she is."
Mary's face fell and she said very quietly, "I guess I do have a daughter."
I immediately felt sorry for her embarrassment and was disgusted with myself for having pointed out her mistake. I realized I'd just broken one of the cardinal rules for interacting with a person who has dementia. I'd just read it in The Best Friend's Approach that very morning: "Let the person save face."
When relating to a person with Alzheimer's, there are many guidelines to follow. I'm going to discuss five of the most basic ones here: 1) Don't tell them they are wrong about something, 2) Don't argue with them, 3) Don't ask if they remember something, 4) Don't remind them that their spouse, parent or other loved one is dead, and 5) Don't bring up topics that may upset them.
Read more at Huffington Post

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Using the Montessori method to combat dementia




The Globe and Mail
A retired cardiologist sits at a table at Toronto’s L’Chaim Retirement Home, sorting through cardiograms. He’s not volunteering his time helping others, however. Unbeknownst to him, he’s working at keeping what memories he has.
L’Chaim is using the Montessori Method for Dementia program, a novel approach to combat dementia that has been rolling out in day centres and nursing homes across the country over the last few years. Taking the principles of the Montessori method created for children in the early 20th century and applying them to adults suffering from a range of cognitive diseases, the program is seen as a ray of hope in what is often a heartbreaking reality. More than half a million Canadians are currently affected by dementia, and with an aging population, it is poised to become an even greater concern.
Read the full story at the Globe and Mail 

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The Powerful Effects of Music in Memory Care


by: Rita Altman / Posted: 07/24/2013
Have you ever witnessed a person who can no longer speak in a full sentence, but still can sing an entire song? Or have you ever listened and watched as a person with advanced memory loss beautifully plays an entire piece on a piano? In my work in memory care, I have had the privilege of having these types of experiences on many occasions. Regardless of how often this occurs, each time it happens I am no less inspired or amazed. The following are some ways that music plays such an important role in memory care.
1. Music stimulates the mind.
Some of the best memory care approaches are designed to tap into the retained abilities of the person with memory loss, focusing on their remaining strengths rather than their losses.According to Concetta Tomaino, executive director and co-founder of the Institute for Music and Neurologic Function and senior vice president for Music Therapy at CenterLight Health Systems, "We now know from clinical case studies that music can affect -- in very specific ways -- human neurological, psychological and physical functioning in areas such as learning, processing language, expressing emotion, memory and physiological and motor responses."
Current research, also explains that the brain processes music in multiple areas. Interestingly enough, those areas tend to be less damaged by Alzheimer's disease. A great way to put this concept into practice is to include music into your loved one's day to bring them moments of enjoyment, familiarity and well-being.
Music therapy and music-appreciation programs are becoming a regular activity in some memory care and senior living communities. In fact, some forms of music therapy are even covered by medical insurance. Music is a wonderful medium for reminiscing with those with memory loss. While they may not recall every detail from events in the past, certain songs and types of music can stimulate the brain to recall some of the emotions and memories of days past.
Read more Huffington Post

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Watch How Silly People's Reaction Times Are in Slow Motion



Watch How Silly People's Reaction Times Are in Slow Motion

CASEY CHANFriday 9:00pm



This is fantastic. Distort measured people's reaction time by making them catch a falling ruler to see how quickly (or slowly) their brains can translate what they see into what they do. Putting the video to slow motion emphasizes how silly our reaction times can be. Some of us are so slow we might not even catch the ruler!
Reaction time is a complicated thing! Most people have a delayed response of about 190 milliseconds. Using a falling ruler to test people's reaction times cleverly gives the test a form of measurement. And though you'll probably laugh and be surprised at how slow people can be, don't make too much fun of them because we're all probably just like that. 

Watch the video here at Gizmodo

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Finding Simple Tests For Brain Disorders Turns Out To Be Complex


Finding Simple Tests For Brain Disorders Turns Out To Be Complex


If you're having chest pain, your doctor can test you for a heart attack. If you're having hip pain, your doctor could test for osteoarthritis.
But what if you're depressed? Or anxious? Currently there are no physical tests for most disorders that affect the mind. Lab tests like these could transform the field of mental illness. So far efforts to come up with biomarkers for common mental health disorders have proved largely fruitless.
That doesn't stop people from trying. Doctors are looking to create them, and patients are taking them, too, even though they know that existing biomarkers — for Alzheimer's disease, for instance — have serious limitations.
Six years ago, Robin Jones of Menlo Park, Calif., found himself in a parking lot. He had no idea where his car was. That was unlike him. A 67-year-old scientist who worked on nuclear energy plants, he was good with details. "It was, you know, I can't believe this," Jones says now. "I can always remember where the car is."
At work, he had a hard time finding the right words. He'd come home and tell his wife, Anne, "Something's different."
Robin Jones made an appointment at the Stanford Center for Memory Disorders, where he went through the standard cognitive evaluation for Alzheimer's disease — memorizing lists of words and so on.
Jones did pretty well on the tests. Better, says Stanford neurologist Michael Greicius, than you'd expect from someone in the early stages of the disease.
"He didn't fit neatly into this classic presentation of Alzheimer's disease," Greicus says, "and that's one of the reasons we talked fairly early on about looking at biomarkers."
When Greicius says "biomarkers," he's referring to a very new thing in Alzheimer's disease and a very old thing in many other diseases: objective lab tests. Those are physical measures that can help doctors understand what is going on in a patient's body.
Read the full story at NPR

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Depression May Increase The Risk Of Dementia Later On



Depression May Increase The Risk Of Dementia Later On


Depression can have physical consequences. Research now suggests that when people get depressed in middle age and beyond, they're more likely to develop dementia in old age.
But the link between depression and dementia remains something of a mystery. Researchers are working to understand why that occurs and what might be done to prevent dementia.
Brain researcher Meryl Butters with the University of Pittsburgh School Of Medicine has spent years trying to answer this question. She asks, "What is it about a mood disorder that is relatively treatable, that people can recover from; what is it in the brain that may increase one's risk for dementia many years later?"
Dementia can be caused by different diseases, including Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia, which follows a stroke or series of mini strokes
. In a recent study, Butters found that the risk for both of those types of dementia nearly doubled among people who had suffered depression after the age of 50.
There are some clues as to why that may be. Depression is associated with inflammation in the body, and inflammation also appears to play a role in cardiovascular disease. Scientists are trying to figure out if the inflammation in the two disorders is linked.
The thickening of blood vessel walls in atherosclerosis makes it "difficult for blood to get through to nourish the brain and give the brain all the oxygen that it needs," Butters says, and a less nourished brain might mean greater vulnerability to dementia. Even if this theory doesn't hold up, she says, there's no harm in doing for your brain what you do for your heart: maintain a normal weight, eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly.
"It just so happens that the hippocampus has lots of cortisol receptors," Butters says. "So it may be that if you have high levels of cortisol circulating for long periods of time, they can sort of burn out, for lack of a better term, and die and then the hippocampus shrinks."

Butters suggests another clue that may link depression to dementia. It involves the stress hormone cortisol. When people get depressed, they produce excess amounts of cortisol. Butters says that could beproblematic for a part of the brain called the hippocampus.
The hippocampus is responsible for learning and short-term memory. In early-stage dementia, the hippocampus is one of the first regions of the brain to show symptoms. People often forget things that just happened, like what they ate for breakfast or what they just said to someone.
One study found that women who had a long history of depression had a smaller hippocampus compared to women of the same age who didn't. But researchers have yet to prove that the brain changes seen in depression contribute to dementia later on.
Dr. Charles Reynolds, a geriatric psychiatrist at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, says preventing depression could be an important defense against dementia. "I think the good news is that we can help older people and their family caregivers take steps to protect themselves from becoming clinically depressed", he says. If successful, that might ultimately help delay or prevent dementia...
Read the whole story at NPR

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Sex After Dementia


Earlier this year, a sex worker in Sydney, Australia -- I'll call her Emma -- got a call from a woman whose 93-year-old father was confined to a nursing home with dementia.

"You could tell in her voice that she was really nervous. But you could also tell that she knew what she wanted for her dad," Emma said. He missed the intimacy of sex.

Emma works a day job in elderly care, but she has also been a sex worker specializing in working with people with disabilities, including dementia, for 30 years.
"

This nursing home resident had been an "openly sexual" person in his later life and had now asked his daughter to find him a woman. The nursing home staff was supportive, welcoming Emma into the facility and assisting her to move the elderly man into a comfortable position.

Many of Emma's clients don't have long to live. The man died within a month and a half of her visit, but his daughter said he was more relaxed, less agitated, after seeing Emma. She remained grateful to her for her services.

"I've got something to give," said Emma. "I've got the most intimate gift of all."
How residents in care facilities should receive this gift is an ethical minefield. Astudy by Australian researchers found that nursing home residents "including those with dementia, saw themselves as sexual beings and with a continuing need and desire to express their sexuality." But a further study in theAustralian Journal of Dementia Care by some of the same authors found that only 20 percent of Australian nursing homes had policies about sexuality or sexual health. Most of them framed intimacy among residents as disruptive or problematic behavior.

According to the World Health Organization, 35.6 million people have dementia worldwide and that number is projected to double every twenty years. A large proportion of those people with dementia will die in a residential aged care facility. While the elderly are free to do what they like in their own homes, once in facilities, their sex life is regulated by staff. Far from all of them are as sympathetic as the nursing home that Emma described.

The study in the Australian Journal of Dementia Care found that staff were anxious about addressing sex among their residents. They were chiefly concerned about the reactions of a resident's family, as well as the legalities of the arrangements.

Dementia can be caused by a range of pathology -- most commonly Alzheimer's, as well as small blood clots in the brain, and abnormal proteins called Lewy Bodies, among others. In some cases the frontal lobe, which is responsible for sexual drive and interest as well as inhibition, may be affected. As Carmelle Peisah, New South Wales branch chair of the faculty of psychiatry and old age at the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists, told me, it can affect "the part of the brain that stops people from acting on their sexual urges in public, such as masturbating. People have thoughts that they wouldn't act on without dementia, but with dementia they might act on it because of this lack of impulse control."

In instances where residents might express their sexuality inappropriately -- say, by masturbating in public spaces of a nursing home, Peisah says that it is crucial for staff not to chastise the person. Instead they should be redirected to a private space, or be provided with an appropriate outlet for the expression of their needs and behavior -- or both.

Other aspects of sexuality, such as emotional feelings like intimacy and warmth, are driven by the limbic system of the brain. "The needs and importance for social and physical relationships and in particular intimacy continue well into the moderate to severe stages of dementia," Peisah said.
Then there is memory loss -- the most infamous and obvious symptom of dementia, eventually including the diminished ability to recognize people. Residents may not know who the object of their erotic interest is. "Sometimes people can't tell the difference between their spouse, the care worker, or a fellow nursing home resident," Peisah said.

In Alice Munro's 1999 short story "The Bear Came Over The Mountain," which was subsequently made into the critically acclaimed film Away From Her, the protagonist has to cope with his Alzheimer's-stricken wife entering a nursing home and falling for another resident, forgetting about her husband. The scenario is not uncommon in real life.

Last year, my own grandmother entered a residential aged care facility with vascular dementia. When I visited, she had little interest in talking to me. Instead, she held hands with Eric, a cheerful fellow resident with a room across her corridor. He introduced my grandmother as his wife. In Russian (she spoke no English), she told me that he was a neighbor from Belgorod, our hometown. I hope for their sake that whatever they had -- if they wanted it to -- extended beyond handholding, because within six months both of them had died. Neither Eric nor my grandmother had living spouses, and situations like Munro's story can be very distressing for living partners who feel they have been replaced. Still, considering the importance of the happiness and well-being of your loved one in their current, new reality, can be reassuring.



via The Atlantic 

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Alzheimer's patients get a trip down memory lane: Care home recreates 1950s street... including a pub




With its traditional local pub, quaint cafe and greengrocers, Oxo adverts on the walls and ration books on the tables, a stroll along this street is like stepping back to the 1950s.
But this is a road that is special not merely for its nostalgia.
For Memory Lane has been carefully constructed by a care home to help its residents who suffer from dementia and Alzheimer’s to feel more comfortable. It is even hoped it could improve their ability to recall their own pasts.
Reliving the past: Arthur Lloyd, an 86-year-old care home resident from Liverpool, is taken down 'Memory Lane', with its authentically decked out greengrocers and Post Office by care assistant Rebecca Stone
Reliving the past: Arthur Lloyd, an 86-year-old care home resident from Liverpool, is taken down 'Memory Lane', with its authentically decked out greengrocers and Post Office by care assistant Rebecca Stone
Architects studied photographs of 1950s streets to properly capture the era in the design of the shops and pub.
Then staff combed through scrap yards, charity shops and auction websites to unearth the perfect objects to fill the buildings.
They found original adverts for Oxo, Bisto and Wall’s, as well as an authentic phone box and post box.
Residents can read newspapers and magazines from the period, detailing the Queen’s Coronation, or choose (freshly made) cakes from the greengrocers, which has weighing scales inside and an old delivery bike propped up nearby.
In the White Hart pub, they will find tobacco tins, vintage beer mats and beer stools, where they can sit and sup a cold beer or tea and coffee.
Parkinson's confectionery
Ration book
Treats: Period memorabilia includes tins of sweets and ration books


Manager Christopher Taylor, 38, of Grove Care, said the company decided to build the street on land between two homes it runs, Blossom Fields and The Grove, caring for 80 residents in Winterbourne, Bristol.
He said: ‘It is really important for those with dementia who are mobile to have a destination. They can visit the pub or the post office – this makes it a walk with a purpose, which is so important. 
'When they are there they can look at the memorabilia. Our staff can then start a conversation about it with them.’

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