PHOTO BY RICHARD KOCI HERNANDEZ/MERCURY NEWS/SAN JOSE/JULY 11, 2003–A senior, left, in the daycare program at Yu-Ai Kai Senior Community Service Center in Japantown is led by a staff member, right, to another room, where they will enjoy a performance by local kids. The organization services mostly Japanese seniors who are very frail or suffering from dementia. Also some Chinese, Filipino and Koreans. The programs idea is to keep seniors at home with their sons and daughters so they don’t have to go into nursing homes. Day care for the elderly lasts from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. It’s this component of the program that is most threatened by possible cuts to the county budget.

Synthetic marijuana, bright lights could help dementia patients

Synthetic marijuana and brighter lights could help improve the lives of people with dementia, according to new research presented Tuesday at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Chicago.

Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias are best known for the breakdown in cognitive abilities. But a host of other symptoms — including agitation, anxiety, depression, and insomnia — reduce patients’ quality of life, create more challenges for caregivers and are the leading causes for placement in assisted living facilities or nursing homes.

The Food and Drug Administration has not approved any drug treatments for these symptoms, although some pharmaceuticals, such as antipsychotics, approved for other diseases are prescribed off-label for Alzheimer’s patients. However, they are associated with increased apathy, strokes and deaths.

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