• 38th Annual GAPNA Conference

    October 3-5, 2019 at the Paris Hotel, Las Vegas, NV.

    Focused education; lasting connections, networking, free access to the GAPNA Online Library.

    Earn up to 21 contact hours (including pre-conference workshops).

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  • 2019 Senior Report Senior Report: Older Americans have more options for home care, but still struggling.

    The United Health Foundation has released results of a sweeping new study benchmarking the health of older adults. The America's Health Rankings® Senior Report was created in partnership with GAPNA to improve the health of America's seniors.

    The data will help advanced practice nurses and other providers deliver quality care.

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  • AwardNew for GAPNA members: MCM Education

    GAPNA has partnered with a MCM Education to offer an ongoing series of CNE programs available to GAPNA members. "Diagnosing and Managing Parkinson’s Disease in Older Adults," is the latest program offered.

    Parkinson’s disease (PD) is characterized by both motor and nonmotor symptoms. It is diagnosed based on the presence of two of four motor symptoms including rest tremor, bradykinesia, rigidity, and gait imbalance...

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  • FREE continuing education credit is available for the following session:

    "Decisional Capacity"

    (session captured at the GAPNA 2018 Annual Conference)

    For July/August 2019 - Get Your Free CNE Now!

Cognitive Decline Signal

Scam Susceptibility May Signal Risk for Cognitive Decline

Older adults who are less likely to detect scams may be at an increased risk for developing dementia (Boyle, Yu, Schneider, Wilson, Bennett, 2019).

Scam awareness is a complex behavior that requires a variety of social cognitive abilities, including recognition that other people may have different intentions from yours, as well as awareness of others' personality traits.

The complexity of this behavior – particularly the need to integrate multiple abilities while managing a challenging social situation – may be the reason for its apparent status as an early harbinger of Alzheimer's disease and mild cognitive impairment (MCI).

Researchers measured scam awareness in 935 older adults without dementia who were part of the ongoing Rush Memory and Aging Project using a questionnaire that assessed knowledge of deception tactics and willingness to engage in behaviors that result in scams. Each participant had annual clinical evaluations that included cognitive performance tests, medical history interviews, and in-person neurological examinations.

Over the course of 6 years after the scam awareness assessment, 255 participants developed MCI and 151 developed Alzheimer's disease. Participants with low scam awareness were about twice as likely to develop Alzheimer's disease and MCI than those with high scam awareness.

Those who developed Alzheimer's also had lower levels of education, lower global cognition, and lower scam awareness than those who did not develop the disease. Further analysis demonstrated that associations between low scam awareness and Alzheimer disease and MCI remained strong even after controlling for global cognition, suggesting the researchers may be tapping into a construct that is distinct from cognition.

Researchers further found that in a subset of participants who were deceased and had a brain autopsy performed, low scam awareness was related to a greater load of pathology associated with Alzheimer's disease – beta-amyloid plaques and tau tangles. The researchers considered this finding strong support for the conclusion that low scam awareness may, in part, be a consequence of accumulating Alzheimer's pathology and therefore could be an important early sign of adverse cognitive outcomes.

Researchers cautioned the measure used in this study cannot predict at the individual level whether a person who is susceptible to scams will develop Alzheimer's disease or MCI. More research is needed to develop measures that can be used in clinical settings.

Problems managing money and with financial decision making in general may be among the first signs of Alzheimer's disease. All older persons – even those without MCI or Alzheimer's disease – could benefit from education on how to avoid scams and fraud and how to protect financial resources. For more info regarding fraud, contact the Department of Justice – Fraud Section.

Boyle, P., Yu, L., Schneider, J.A., Wilson, R.S., & Bennett, D.A. (2019). Scam awareness related to incident Alzheimer dementia and mild cognitive impairment. Annals of Internal Medicine, 170(10), 702-709. doi:10.7326/M18-2711

Related information from the GAPNA Clinical Research Corner:

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