VOLUME 37, NO. 3 • SEPTEMBER 2020
Tzung-Jeng Hwang, IPA Bulletin Editor-in-Chief
Since the widespread of COVID-19 over the past eight months, many countries have been heavily impacted with severe consequences. We hope our members all stay safe and healthy and continue to support older adults around the world. Under the proactive leadership of Dr. Reichman, IPA has become more active in serving our members and promoting our missions during this period through a new way of utilizing the internet and telecommunication. In terms of products and programs, IPA has created COVID-19 resources on our website, followed by special issues of COVID-19 in International Psychogeriatrics and IPA Bulletin. Recently, we also published a special eBulletin on telehealth (https://www.ipa-online.org/publications/ipa-bulletin/featured-articles/ special-issue-telehealth). These publications are good reads for our members to understand better the current status quo and future perspective after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Besides, our board of directors has created a new e-space, “IPA café”, for all members around the globe to share our thoughts while we drink coffee, tea, or even cocktails! The first IPA café was held on 13 August with the topic “How COVID-19 has changed our lives: as family - as professionals in different fields - as members of our communities - and more.” (see president message of this issue) The second IPA café will be held on 29 October with the topic of “What do you do to combat stress and burnout? Don’t forget to join these exciting and relaxing events.
To share experiences related to the impact of physical distancing on persons with dementia, their rights, and how caregiving has changed during the COVID-19 pandemic, IPA (in collaboration with INTERDEM) held a webinar on 23 May with great success. The next webinar was on 10 September 2020, with the topic of “The voices of persons with dementia and their carers during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
IPA has been actively promoting mental health and human right for older adults. The president and the Advocacy committee have published a paper in the International Psychogeriatrics Journal on “Loneliness and social isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic” in June. Recently, IPA stands together with all advocates to call attention to World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) and World Suicide Prevention Day.
Plan to join the upcoming virtual congress on 2-3 October 2020. This event is rich in its content, with six LIVE Symposia, ten ON-DEMAND symposia, more than 60 Free/ Oral presentations, and nearly 75 poster presentations. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn and connect with our speakers and colleagues.
In this issue, we have a total of seven articles reporting different aspects of research and practice in old age mental health.
First, Dr. Mark Rapoport (Canada) describes a recent observational study showing beneficial cognitive outcomes (especially for autobiographical memory) of ultra-brief pulse electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) in older adults with major depression. In the second report, Dr. Rapoport summarizes the results of a Swedish dementia cohort study aiming to explore whether prescriptions for acetylcholinesterase inhibitors (AChEIs) delayed or prevented prescriptions for other psychotropics. The results found AChEIs reduced the frequency of prescribing antipsychotics and anxiolytics, but not antidepressants.
Drs. Tarek Takkoush and Rita Khoury (Lebanon) review the advancement and value of imaging biomarkers for Alzheimer’s disease, demonstrating the clinical usefulness of amyloid and tau PET imaging. The sensitivity of the two imaging biomarkers is excellent; however, their specificity isn’t. Given that senile plaques and NFTs can also be found in cognitively intact older adults as well as in those with non-AD dementias or mixed dementias, they are not recommended to be routinely used in clinical settings.
Dr. Laura Valzolgher (Italy) updates us on the neurological manifestations of COVID-19, including anosmia and ageusia, encephalopathy, and hypercoagulable states leading to stroke. She reminds clinicians to consider this possibility, especially in patients with no respiratory disease or hospitalized patients with possible nosocomial transmission.
Drs. Migita M. D’cruz & Debanjan Banerjee (India), both are young psychiatric residents, point out an invisible human rights crisis: the marginalization of older adults during the COVID-19 pandemic. They briefly outline factors leading to marginalization and recommend specific and targeted interventions.
Sara López de Hierro Martínez and colleagues (Spain) introduce the Camberwell Assessment of Need for the Elderly (CANE) questionnaire used to identify needs and care resources. The CANE questionnaire makes adopting a multidisciplinary and individualized approach easier when loneliness is present.
Finally, in the Technology corner, Ying- Jyun Shih and Dr. Yung-Jeng Yang (Taiwan) recommend a useful online resource for understanding dementia: the iGeriCare website, created by McMaster University (Canada) in cooperation with other dementia associations. The highest recommended feature of iGeriCare is a course with ten online interactive lessons useful for the understanding of dementia.
I want to thank our editors for their contribution to the Bulletin, and cordially invite you to submit articles to share thoughts and experiences with us! You can reach us at IPABulletin@ipa-online.org.