The aim of this NINR Mentored Patient Oriented Research Career Development Award application is to support my career objective to become an independent nurse investigator specializing in the relationship between neuroendocrine mechanisms and neuropsychiatric features of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Extensive basic research shows that neuroendocrine factors modulate core behavioral and cognitive processes. Recent findings indicate that neuroendocrine dysregulation influences the presentation of neuropsychiatric symptoms related to advancing AD. I propose a training plan that includes obtaining expertise in adrenocortical assessment, statistical design and analysis of studies integrating biological and behavioral data, and the design and testing of sensory-based interventions to alleviate neuroendocrine distress in older adults with AD. The proposed 3 year research plan represents a unique contribution to the field by merging the scientific insights and technologies gleaned from behavioral and social sciences with approaches from biomedical disciplines.
The specific aims of the proposed research are: (1) to determine the preliminary efficacy of the sensory based, tactile protocol in alleviating distress in a sample of older adults with AD using neuroendocrine and behavioral responses as endpoints;and (2) to determine the acceptability of the sensory-based protocol based on satisfaction expressed by caregivers. A total of 78 AD patient-family caregiver dyads will be recruited to participate in a randomized wait-list control study. If this study finds evidence of preliminary efficacy and acceptability, an R01 application will be developed to conduct a larger randomized controlled trial. The expectation is that the findings from this program of study will ultimately result in treatments to slow the course and/or manage symptoms of those with advancing AD.
The research outlined in this proposal aims to examine the interplay of neuroendocrine responses and neuro-psychiatric symptoms in older adults with dementia and to test novel intervention strategies that can be implemented in real-world contexts to advance dementia care.
|Hodgson, Nancy; Gitlin, Laura N; Winter, Laraine et al. (2014) Caregiver's perceptions of the relationship of pain to behavioral and psychiatric symptoms in older community-residing adults with dementia. Clin J Pain 30:421-7|