What You Need To Know
- Lewy body dementia is a form of progressive dementia that affects a persons ability to think, reason, and process information.
- Diagnosing Lewy body dementia can be challenging an estimated 1.4 million Americans are living with the disease.
- LBD has three features that distinguish it from other forms of dementia:
- Fluctuating effects on mental functioning, particularly alertness and attention, which may resemble delirium
- Recurrent visual hallucinations
- Parkinson-like movement symptoms, such as rigidity and lack of spontaneous movement.
Lewy bodies are clumps of abnormal protein particles that, for reasons that are not fully understood, accumulate in the brain. These deposits cause a form of dementia called Lewy body dementia, or LBD which is what the late actor and comedian Robin Williams suffered from.
LBD is not the same as Parkinsons, but the two are closely related: LBD causes some or all of the motor symptoms of Parkinsons. More than 1 million people in the U.S. are affected by Lewy body dementia, according to the Lewy Body Dementia Association.
New Study Links Coffee To Migraine Risk
In the study, the evidence for an association between high coffee consumption and stroke was less strong, Hypponen said. Indeed, doctors typically don’t think of caffeine as a stroke risk factor, Guzik said. The study also didnt find any troublesome associations with tea drinking.
Previous research has found caffeine has positive actions on the brain: It can increase alertness, help concentration, improve mood and limit depression, doctors have noted in the journal Practical Neurology.
With One In Three People Born Today Likely To Develop Dementia In Their Lifetime Brain Health Has Never Been More Relevant
As the worlds population ages, the prevalence of Alzheimers disease is predicted to reach epidemic proportions with huge financial impact on public healthcare, as well as being devastating for patients, families and caregivers.
Here in Scotland, researchers are leading the world in the field of life sciences, while organisations like Brain Health Scotland provide expert advice about brain health research, policy and healthcare.
We are increasingly aware of the lifestyle factors that can help us take better care of our brain, but what could the future hold for treatment?
Research on our doorstep
Professor Claude Wischik, co-founder of TauRx Pharmaceuticals, has been studying tau pathology for 30 years since his PhD fuelled an entire research programme. Much of that research now takes place at the University of Aberdeen where he is now professor of Old Age Psychiatry.
There is huge progress worldwide on brain health which is offering us all a greater understanding of the external risk factors, like a good diet and taking regular exercise, but a drug treatment is the key this is where our global clinical trial program underpinned by basic research aimed at understanding the molecular mechanisms responsible for tau pathology is vital, he explains.
He estimates the worldwide prevalence of tau aggregation in the brain where tau protein misfolds, accumulates and forms tangles to be around half of the population aged over 45.
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Diagnosing Frontal Lobe Dementia
No one test is able to diagnose frontal lobe dementia. Instead physicians are able to use the balance of evidence to diagnose frontal lobe dementia based on their best judgment. Because there is no foolproof test and diagnosis depends on the physicians knowledge, judgment, and observation of the patient, frontal lobe dementia is notoriously difficult to diagnose in its early stages. Although as the disease progresses, it becomes easier to definitely distinguish it between other disorders.
Rarer Causes Of Dementia
There are many rarer diseases and conditions that can lead to dementia, or dementia-like symptoms.
These conditions account for only 5% of dementia cases in the UK.
- problems with planning and reasoning
These symptoms are not severe enough to cause problems in everyday life.
If the underlying illness is treated or managed, symptoms of MCI often disappear and cause no further problems.
But in some cases, people with MCI are at increased risk of going on to develop dementia, which is usually caused by Alzheimer’s disease.
Read more about how to prevent dementia.
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Causes Of Frontotemporal Dementia
This is an important cause of dementia in younger people. It’s most often diagnosed between the ages of 45 and 65.
It’s caused by an abnormal clumping of proteins, including tau, in the frontal and temporal lobes at the front and sides of the brain.
The clumping of these proteins damages nerve cells in the frontal and temporal lobes, causing brain cells to die. This leads to shrinking of these areas of the brain.
Frontotemporal dementia is more likely to run in families than other, more common causes of dementia.
Read more about frontotemporal dementia.
Exercise For Brain Atrophy
A 2011 review suggests that regular exercise could slow or even reverse brain atrophy related to aging or dementia.
However, one found that high intensity exercise and strength training did not slow cognitive impairment in people with mild-to-moderate dementia. Additional research is therefore necessary to determine what effect, if any, exercise has on preventing or reversing brain atrophy due to dementia.
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Exercise Is Just As Good For Your Brain As It Is For Your Body
Aerobic exercise raises your heart rate and increases blood flow to your brain. As your increased breathing pumps more oxygen into your bloodstream, more oxygen is delivered to your brain. This leads to neurogenesisor the production of neuronsin certain parts of your brain that control memory and thinking. Neurogenesis increases brain volume, and this cognitive reserve is believed to help buffer against the effects of dementia.
It has been noted that exercise promotes the production of neurotrophins, leading to greater brain plasticity, and therefore, better memory and learning. In addition to neurotrophins, exercise also results in an increase in neurotransmitters in the brain, specifically serotonin and norepinephrine, which boost information processing and mood.
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How To Support Your Brain Health As You Age
As you get older, there are things you can do to support your brain health and help prevent cognitive decline.
Get physically active every day. Getting exercise increases blood flow to your entire body, especially your brain. Experts also believe that regular exercise can help reduce stress and depression and improve memory.
Eat healthy. Did you know that eating a heart-healthy diet also benefits your brain? Foods like fresh fruits, fish, lean meat, and skinless chicken are all good options.
As you get older, its best to avoid overusing alcohol, as too much can lead to memory issues and confusion.
Stay mentally active. Activities like reading, playing word games, taking up a new hobby, enrolling in classes, or learning how to play an instrument are all great ways to stay mentally active. Consistent mental activity can help keep your memory and thought processing in good shape.
Stay social. Keeping up with friends and family is not only enjoyable, but it also helps ward off depression and stress. You may want to try volunteering or joining an organization so you get the satisfaction of helping people while maintaining positive social interaction.
Keep an eye on cardiovascular disease. Medical diseases like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes can increase your risk of cognitive decline. Talk with your doctor about treatment options and how they can help.
A few fun ways to incorporate vitamin B into your diet include:
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Vascular Factors And Dementia
Increasing evidence points to vascular factors not only contributing to cognitive problems in ageing but also to the two most common dementias seen in this population. The prevalence of dementia increases almost exponentially with increasing age with around 20% of those aged 80 affected rising to 40% of those aged 90.
The issue of normal ageing is a difficult one because there are studies that show cognitively intact adults aged 100,,and yet a high percentage suffer from dementia and the line between mild cognitive impairment and normal memory changes is still a little blurred., What is in no doubt is that changes in brain vasculature, WML and intra/extra cellular changes are likely to begin in midlife. There are many influences on the ageing brain, genetics, biological, and environmental influences all of which contribute to the physiological and cognitive changes, Mattson provided a review.
Risk factors that have been put forward with regard to ageing and development of dementia include hypertension, diabetes, hyperhomocysteinaemia, and a high cholesterol although the evidence for all but hypertension is far from clear.,,,,,,, Protective factors include diet, alcohol, exercise, and intellectual pursuits.
Prevention And Prognosis Of Cerebral Atrophy
Cerebral atrophy is not usually preventable, however, there are some things you can do to reduce your risk. These include:
- Regular exercise: This can be as simple as taking frequent walks every day. By following a regular workout regimen, you can minimize the possibility of cerebral atrophy.
- Minimizing vitamin deficiencies: Ensuring that you eat a balanced and healthy diet, particularly eating foods rich in vitamins, such as B12, will give you the best chance of preventing cerebral atrophy.
- Drinking enough water: Dehydration can lead to the increase of stress hormones and acute brain damage. Therefore, it is recommended to drink plenty of water every day to stay hydrated.
- Consuming fruits and vegetables: It is recommended to eat five servings of fruits and vegetables every day. These may include blackberries, blueberries, cranberries, cherries, strawberries, spinach, raspberries, plums, broccoli, beets, oranges, and red bell peppers. They are not only delicious to eat but are packed with vitamins and minerals as well as being rich in antioxidants.
The level of brain functioning is directly related to the area of the brain affected by cerebral atrophy. In the majority of cases of focal atrophy, fatal outcomes are not particularly common but can still cause impairment of normal functioning. Cerebral atrophy outcomes will generally vary from person to person, with advanced stages often leading to complete dementia.
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End Stage Of Dementia
The end stage of dementia is the most difficult stage for those suffering from the disease, and also for family members, caregivers, and healthcare professionals. Victims lose what is left of their intellectual and physical capabilities and become completely dependent on others. The model is still shifting in considering end stage dementia an end of life condition experts are pushing this model in order to advocate for better pain and distress management for those suffering at their end.
Signs Of Dying In The Elderly With Dementia
Dementia is a general term for a chronic or persistent decline in mental processes including memory loss, impaired reasoning, and personality changes. Alzheimers disease is the most common form of dementia, accounting for 60-80% of all cases of dementia. It is also the 6th leading cause of death in the United States, and over 5 million Americans are currently living with Alzheimers disease.
Alzheimers disease and most progressive dementias do not have a cure. While the disease inevitably worsens over time, that timeline can vary greatly from one patient to the next.
Caring for a loved one can be challenging and stressful, as the individuals personality changes and cognitive function declines. They may even stop recognizing their nearest and dearest friends and relatives. As dementia progresses, the individual will require more and more care. As a family caregiver, its important to be able to recognize the signs of dying in elderly with dementia. Hospice can help by offering care wherever the individual resides, providing physical, emotional and spiritual care to the patient and support their family.
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How Much Does Your Brain Shrink By 70
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Your brain is bound to shrink as you age it’s unavoidable. But there are certain lifestyle factors that hasten the process, according to a new study by researchers at University of California, Davis. The study included 1,352 adults who had an average age of 54 and did not have dementia at the start of the study.
One may also ask, how much does the brain shrink over a lifetime? The super-agers may have just had good genes, or they may have been more mentally active over their lifetime and had healthier diets, more exercise, and less stress than those in the average group. Notably, some shrinkage did occur in the super-agers, on average at a rate of 1.06 percent per year.
Likewise, which part of brain shrinks with age?
And previous studies of human brains have suggested that these brain regions, which include the frontal lobe and the hippocampus, are especially prone to shrinkage with age.
What does it mean if your doctor says that your brain is shrinking?
Pick’s disease, along with other FTDs, is caused by abnormal amounts or types of nerve cell proteins, called tau. When they accumulate in the nerve cells of your brain’s frontal and temporal lobe, they cause the cells to die. This causes your brain tissue to shrink, leading to the symptoms of dementia.
Multiphysics Model Of Cerebral Atrophy
Our goal is to identify differences in spatiotemporal atrophy patterns characteristic for healthy and AD-related brain aging. Therefore, we formulate a multiphysics approach that couples mechanics-driven volume loss and the biology-driven spreading of toxic proteins . In our constitutive model, we pose that healthy aging is linked to a steady volume loss in gray and white matter tissues, while AD accelerates atrophy proportional to the local toxic protein level . We solve our continuum problem on an anatomically accurate finite element brain model and quantify hallmark features of cerebral atrophy including volume loss, cortical thinning, ventricular enlargement, and sulcal widening.
2.1.1 Continuum Model for Protein Spread
AD is characterized by the accumulation and spreading of misfolded, neurotoxic proteins . Post-mortem studies on AD patients have shown that protein spread follows a characteristic spatial pattern that is characterized by consistent onset locations and spreading pathways . Mathematically, these progression patterns are well approximated by a reaction-diffusion model known as the Fisher-Kolmogorov equation . We define the concentration of misfolded protein, c, that spreads via linear diffusion.
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Which Brain Parts Are Affected By Cerebral Atrophy
While having generalized cerebral atrophy will affect the entire brain size as a whole, there are several instances where certain parts of the brain may be affected more significantly than others. In Alzheimers disease, the most common cause of dementia, the hippocampus and the cortex are two areas especially affected. These regions of the brain are responsible for forming new memories and helping us think, plan, and remember, respectively.
Another form of dementia called frontotemporal dementia is known for affecting the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain more significantly. These regions of the brain are known for being responsible for personality and behavior, which succumbs to atrophy as the condition progresses.
In cases of vascular dementia, the location of injury on the brain will determine what regions of the brain are affected. This will not only lead to neurological deficits but also cerebral atrophy.
Surprising Causes Of Dementia
Many other conditions can cause dementia, including:
- Low oxygen in the blood , either from a specific incident , or chronic disease can cause damage to brain tissue.
- Acute infections such as meningitis, encephalitis, untreated syphilis, and Lyme disease.
- Brain tumors or metastases from other cancers in the body.
- Thiamine , B6, or B12 deficiencies, and severe dehydration.
- Acute traumatic injury to the brain such as a subdural hematoma.
- Side effects from medications taken for other medical conditions.
- Electrolyte abnormalities.
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Brain Deformations In Healthy Brain Aging And Alzheimers Disease
FIGURE 5. Representative axial and coronal views of the displacement magnitude and structural images at six time points during the aging process. We show healthy aging and Alzheimers disease-related aging in the top and bottom rows, respectively. Brain deformation is higher in Alzheimers disease than healthy aging, and is largest around the ventricles. Moreover, we observe significant enlargement of the ventricular horns in the vicinity of the hippocampus, see coronal view. The forth time point clearly shows a distinct separation of the displacement trajectories.
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Key Biological Processes In The Brain
Most neurons have three basic parts: a cell body, multiple dendrites, and an axon.
- The cell body contains the nucleus, which houses the genetic blueprint that directs and regulates the cells activities.
- Dendrites are branch-like structures that extend from the cell body and collect information from other neurons.
- The axon is a cable-like structure at the end of the cell body opposite the dendrites and transmits messages to other neurons.
The function and survival of neurons depend on several key biological processes:
Neurons are a major player in the central nervous system, but other cell types are also key to healthy brain function. In fact, glial cells are by far the most numerous cells in the brain, outnumbering neurons by about 10 to 1. These cells, which come in various formssuch as microglia, astrocytes, and oligodendrocytessurround and support the function and healthy of neurons. For example, microglia protect neurons from physical and chemical damage and are responsible for clearing foreign substances and cellular debris from the brain. To carry out these functions, glial cells often collaborate with blood vessels in the brain. Together, glial and blood vessel cells regulate the delicate balance within the brain to ensure that it functions at its best.
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