• Reducing disability via a family centered intervention for acutely ill persons with Alzheimer's disease and related dementias: Protocol of a cluster-randomized controlled trial (Fam-FFC study)

      Boltz, M.; Kuzmik, A.; Resnick, B. (BioMed Central Ltd., 2018)
      Background: Hospitalized older persons with Alzheimer's disease and related dementias are at greater risk for functional decline and increased care dependency after discharge due to a combination of intrinsic factors, environmental, policy, and care practices that restrict physical and cognitive activity, lack of family involvement and limited staff knowledge of dementia care. We have developed a theory-based intervention, Family centered Function-focused Care, that incorporates an educational empowerment model for family caregivers (FCGs) provided within a social-ecological framework to promote specialized care to patients with dementia during hospitalization and the 60-day post-acute period. Primary aims are to test the efficacy of the intervention in improving physical and cognitive recovery in hospitalized persons living with Alzheimer's disease and related dementias (ADRD) and improving FCG preparedness and experiences. Method: We will implement Family centered Function-focused Care in a cluster-randomized trial of 438 patient/FCG dyads in six hospital units randomized within three hospitals. We hypothesize that patients who receive the intervention will demonstrate better physical function, less delirium occurrence and severity, neuropsychiatric symptoms, and depression compared to those in the control condition (Education-only). We also hypothesize that FCGs enrolled in Family centered Function-focused Care will experience increased preparedness for caregiving, and less strain, burden, and desire to institutionalize, as compared to FCGs the control group. We will also examine the costs and relative cost savings associated with the intervention and will evaluate the cultural appropriateness of Family centered Function-focused Care for families from diverse backgrounds. Discussion: Our theory-based intervention makes use of real-world applicable approaches in a novel and innovative way to change the paradigm of how we currently look at acute care and post-acute transitions in persons with ADRD. Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov, ID: NCT03046121. Registered on 8 February 2017. Copyright 2018 The Author(s).
    • Sexual dimorphism in neurological function after SCI is associated with disrupted neuroinflammation in both injured spinal cord and brain.

      Li, Yun; Ritzel, Rodney M; Lei, Zhuofan; Cao, Tuoxin; He, Junyun; Faden, Alan I; Wu, Junfang (Elsevier, 2021-12-23)
      Whereas human spinal cord injury (SCI) is more common in men, the prevalence is growing in women. However, little is known about the effect of biological sex on brain dysfunction and injury mechanisms. To model the highest per capita rate of injury (ages between 16 and 30 years old) in humans, in the present study, young adult or a young/middle-aged male and female C57BL/6 mice were subjected to moderate contusion SCI. When mice were injured at 10-12-week-old, transcriptomic analysis of inflammation-related genes and flow cytometry revealed a more aggressive neuroinflammatory profile in male than females following 3 d SCI, ostensibly driven by sex-specific changes myeloid cell function rather than cell number. Female mice were generally more active at baseline, as evidenced by greater distance traveled in the open field. After SCI, female mice had more favorable locomotor function than male animals. At 13 weeks post-injury, male mice showed poor performance in cognitive and depressive-like behavioral tests, while injured female mice showed fewer deficits in these tasks. However, when injured at 6 months old followed by 8 months post-injury, male mice had considerably less inflammatory activation compared with female animals despite having similar or worse outcomes in affective, cognitive, and motor tasks. Collectively, these findings indicate that sex differences in functional outcome after SCI are associated with the age at onset of injury, as well as disrupted neuroinflammation not only at the site of injury but also in remote brain regions. Thus, biological sex should be considered when designing new therapeutic agents.