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MRC Prion Unit
From fundamental research to prevention and cure

Psychiatric and Behavioural Issues.

Not all patients with Prion disease will present with behavioural problems. Even within families carrying the same mutation in the inherited forms of the disease presentation of the disease can manifest itself very differently. It is important among the families who are at risk of inherited prion disease to know, that if a parent suffered and died from the illness, that their presentation should they be positive may not necessarily be the same.

Some behavioural issues are born of frustration. This tends to occur when the patient has lost the ability to carry out certain tasks but retains insight into their disability. This is difficult to treat and we can provide support for the family and local teams through this difficult time. Other behavioural difficulty are due to severe damage within the frontal lobes of the brain, which control emotion. These are easier to treat and we can provide symptomatic management advice on treatment. It is also a comfort to relatives to know, that it is unlikely that the patient has any awareness of their difficult behaviour or abusive language.

People with prion disease experiencean irreversible, long-standing and/or progressive deterioration of intellect and personality characterized by decreased ability to interpret environmental stimuli, decreased capacity for intellectual thought process and manifested by disturbances of memory, orientation, and behaviour.

Chronic confusion is not limited to any one age group, gender, or clinical problem. Chronic confusion can occur in a variety of settings including the home, hospital, and long-term care facilities. While often associated with older adults with dementia, younger adults with dementia may also be affected. Chronic confusion can have a profound impact on family members and family processes as the patient requires more direct supervision and care. This care plan discusses the management of chronic confusion in any setting. It also identifies the importance of addressing the needs of the carer’s.

MRC Prion News