Dementia Summary

My reading of this week’s New Scientist magazine has inspired me to create a quick summary of Dementia which I thought I would like to share on my blog. I formulated this as a Microsoft Word document as a mind map so that it will be accessible to me in the future.

Symptoms

  • Problems with short-term memory
  • Lack of ability to focus
  • Poor visual perception
  • Poor communication
  • Difficulty in multitasking

Causes

  • Myelin sheaths around neurones erode
  • Arteries narrow
  • Memory and function parts of brain shrink
  • Gene variants (eg APOE gene that codes for clearing of beta-amyloid)
  • Alzheimer’s: hard plaques called beta-amyloid between brain cells = inflammation

Prevention

  • Challenge brain during education
  • Keep on top of cardiovascular health – eg blood pressure, diabetes
  • Social connection
  • Healthy diet
  • Exercise
  • Good sleeping habits
  • ‘An hour-long walk a few times a week’

Types

Alzheimer’s: 62% – memory, language and reasoning problems, usually develops in older age 65+

Vascular Dementia: 17% – impaired judgement, difficulty with motor skills and balance, heart disease/strokes increase likelihood

Mixed Dementia: 10% – several types lead to many different symptoms, usually develops in much older age 85+

Dementia with Lewy body proteins: 4% – hallucinations, disordered sleep

Frontotemporal Dementia: 2% – personality and language change, usually develops in middle age 45-60

Parkinson’s Disease: 2% – dementia symptoms as condition progression

Other: 3% – Creutzfeld-Jacob disease, depression, multiple sclerosis

Why are most cases now?

  • More people living longer due to advances in medical knowledge and medication

 

Emily Buchanan

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