Psychosis Linked to Higher Dementia Risk; Apps Improve Stroke Care; and Rare Diseases, From Stone Man to Live Corpse

Patrick Lee

October 25, 2022

Psychosis Linked to Higher Dementia Risk

People with psychotic disorders develop dementia at more than twice the rate of those without such disorders do, a new meta-analysis finds.

Different psychotic disorders mean a 2.5-fold higher risk for dementia later in life, regardless of the age at which such mental illness develops, according to a review of almost 13 million people in nine countries that was published in Psychological Medicine. People with disorders such as schizophrenia also develop dementia at a younger age. Two studies find that those with psychotic disorders are more likely to be diagnosed with dementia as early as their 60s.

Monitoring advised: Being aware of and watchful for symptoms of cognitive decline is advised for patients with psychotic disorders in middle and later life.

Other risks: People with psychotic disorders are also at higher risk for other health issues.

Apps Improve Stroke Care

Smartphone apps reduce the time healthcare providers take to treat stroke patients, a literature review finds. Such apps enhance communication between first responders and waiting hospital staff and reduce door-to-needle time in the management of acute and chronic stroke.

"In clinical practice, guideline-driven patient care is very important in improving diagnosis and outcomes, and apps provide a very practical and easy way to check available guidelines," said Fabio Pilato, MD, a neurologist at Università Campus Bio-Medico in Rome, and senior author of the review published in the Journal of Stroke.

Need for speed: Apps speed up stroke recognition, activate emergency medical services for speedier transport to the hospital, and facilitate communication with hospital stroke teams.

Studies reviewed: Researchers looked at 43 studies of stroke-related phone apps designed for clinical management of stroke from 2007 to 2022.

Strange Diseases, From Stone Man to Walking Corpse

Some rare diseases can cause tissue to harden, make water toxic, or convince patients that they are the walking dead. There are about 7000 such rare illnesses, which are defined as affecting fewer than 5 in 10,000 people. Just because a disease is rare doesn't mean that it can't be debilitating or affect a person's entire life. Here are some examples:

Munchmeyer's disease: Also called fibrodysplasia ossificans progressive, or stone man syndrome, it causes a person's connective tissue to turn progressively into bone tissue. A mutation of the ACVR1 gene is responsible.

Aquagenic urticaria: Patients with this very rare disease develop itchy papules when water touches their skin. It's not clear why this happens, though a theory suggests that water interacts with a component in the epidermis to form a toxic substance.

Cotard's syndrome: This delusional mental disorder convinces people that they are dead or no longer exist. It is also called walking corpse syndrome and is associated with schizophrenia and affective psychoses.

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