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What Does A Brain Look Like With Dementia

Stimulating Activities For Someone With Dementia

What other diseases LOOK LIKE dementia? | Dr. Marc

Keeping in mind all the various stages of dementia, there are a few common activities that can be enjoyed in some fashion. Accommodation might be required, but these activities can be very engaging and encouraging:

  • Crossword puzzles. A great activity for people with early to mid-stage dementia are word games and crossword puzzles. They help reduce stress and help keep the problem-solving brain active and boosts confidence.
  • Jigsaw puzzles. There are online jigsaw puzzles and wonderful boxed puzzles that make for a stimulating activity for those in early states of dementia or Alzheimers disease. There are even online puzzles designed for people with dementia. Let your loved one choose a theme or image that they enjoy, and do the puzzle together.
  • Computer games. Whether it be puzzles, brain teasers like Sudoku or card games, coloring books, or watching videos on YouTube, there are an ever-increasing number of dementia-friendly computer games available for those who are able to use a laptop or tablet.
  • Bingo. A fun activity for just about everyone, Bingo is a classic game that can be easily adapted for people with dementia. It can help stimulate the thought process and stimulate the memory.
  • Card matching games. Matching images can be of birds, flowers, pictures of friends and family. Whether you buy a game or make one for your loved one, these types of games can help flex the memory muscle and provide for a fun way to spend an afternoon.
  • Brain Imaging In Patients With Cognitive Complaints Need To Be Viewed Differently When Using Mri To Diagnose And Treat Patients With Dementia Says Dr Christopher Hess Who Will Discuss The Role Of Mri In The Adjunctive Diagnosis Of Dementia In His Talk At The Garmisch Symposium

    In addition, general radiologists need to recognize the important findings related to dementia when making a diagnosis. While MRI is mainly called for in patients with suspected dementia to exclude other abnormalities, there are characteristics of dementia that clinicians can look for when reading the exams, such as specific patterns of regional brain atrophy or structural lesions in areas of the brain that alter cognition, Hess says. In his talk, Hess will discuss how radiologists can use these findings to support or refute the diagnosis of specific neurodegenerative processes, as well to recommend appropriate next steps in disease evaluation and management. He will share the approach that he takes with other clinicians during the talk.

    In his talk, Hess will discuss how radiologists can use these findings to support or refute the diagnosis of specific neurodegenerative processes, as well to recommend appropriate next steps in disease evaluation and management. He will share the approach that he takes with other clinicians during the talk. Brain MRI is often the first step in evaluation, Hess says. General radiologists dont necessarily recognize the important findings related to dementia. We will review dementia symptoms and how they should guide the eyes of radiologists, and look carefully at the critical importance of distinguishing between rapidly progressive and chronic dementia.

    Here are some key takeaways from Hesss talk:



    What Happens To The Brain In Alzheimers Disease

    The healthy human brain contains tens of billions of neuronsspecialized cells that process and transmit information via electrical and chemical signals. They send messages between different parts of the brain, and from the brain to the muscles and organs of the body. Alzheimers disease disrupts this communication among neurons, resulting in loss of function and cell death.

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    How Does Alzheimers Disease Affect The Brain

    The brain typically shrinks to some degree in healthy aging but, surprisingly, does not lose neurons in large numbers. In Alzheimers disease, however, damage is widespread, as many neurons stop functioning, lose connections with other neurons, and die. Alzheimers disrupts processes vital to neurons and their networks, including communication, metabolism, and repair.

    At first, Alzheimers disease typically destroys neurons and their connections in parts of the brain involved in memory, including the entorhinal cortex and hippocampus. It later affects areas in the cerebral cortex responsible for language, reasoning, and social behavior. Eventually, many other areas of the brain are damaged. Over time, a person with Alzheimers gradually loses his or her ability to live and function independently. Ultimately, the disease is fatal.

    Some Ideas For Simplifying

    Dementia : A Normal Part of Aging

    Over the course of your loved ones Alzheimers journey, it will be necessary to simplify activities to match his abilities. For instance:

    • A life-long reader may eventually enjoy being read to, and then progress to just looking at the pictures.
    • A love of gardening may go from gardening, to cutting flowers, to weeding, to watering plants, to watching squirrels.
    • A regular round of golf, or a weekly night of bowling may progress to walking only.
    • Playing music or singing may progress to listening to music only.
    • Preparing the evening meal may eventually progress to folding dinner napkins, and can be a very engaging for the one with Alzheimers.

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    Structural Magnetic Resonance Imaging

    Besides nuclear imaging methods, the clinical utility of structural neuroimaging with magnetic resonance imaging for differential diagnosis of dementias is also well established. Structural MRI has been widely used to compare regional structural changes in patients with DLB against AD, PDD and their healthy controls. In this section, we summarise the principal findings using MRI to distinguish DLB from other subtypes of dementia .

    Treatments For Frontotemporal Dementia

    There’s currently no cure for frontotemporal dementia or any treatment that will slow it down.

    But there are treatments that can help control some of the symptoms, possibly for several years.

    Treatments include:

    • medicines to control some of the behavioural problems
    • therapies such as physiotherapy, occupational therapy, and speech and language therapy for problems with movement, everyday tasks and communication
    • dementia activities such as memory cafes, which are drop-in sessions for people with memory problems and their carers to get support and advice
    • support groups who can offer tips on managing symptoms from dementia experts and people living with frontotemporal dementia, and their families

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    Living With Vascular Dementia

    Vascular dementia is a progressive disease that has no cure, but the rate at which the disease progresses can vary. Some people with vascular dementia may eventually need a high level of care due to the loss of mental and physical abilities. Family members may be able to care for a person with vascular dementia early on. But if the disease progresses, the person may need more specialized care.

    Respite programs, adult daycare programs, and other resources can help the caregiver get some time away from the demands of caring for a loved one with vascular dementia.

    Long-term care facilities that specialize in the care of people with dementias, Alzheimer’s, and other related conditions are often available if a person affected by vascular dementia can no longer be cared for at home. Your healthcare provider can recommend caregiver resources.

    How Vascular Dementia Develops

    Imaging Dementia-Mayo Clinic

    Symptoms of vascular dementia can appear suddenly if they are caused by a single stroke, or if they are caused by silent strokes they may appear gradually over time. Vascular dementia sometimes develops in steps, so that symptoms will stay the same for a while and then suddenly get worse. These steps are usually due to new strokes.

    You can read more about treatments to slow down the progression of dementia.

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    Stimulating Activities For Dementia Patients

    There are many recommended activities for dementia patients. However, a diagnosis of dementia certainly does not mean that one must abandon activities they enjoy. Many activities can be modified as dementia progresses, allowing your loved one to continue to participate and enjoy. If your loved one isnt enjoying an activity, dont worry. Simply take a break and try again later, or choose another activity instead.

    All of these recommended activities are designed to:

    • Help your loved one recall certain memories
    • Allow them to reminisce about their life
    • Develop or renew an emotional connection with loved ones
    • Help them feel productive and more engaged with life
    • Encourage self-expression

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    Symptoms Of Frontotemporal Dementia

    Signs of frontotemporal dementia can include:

    • personality and behaviour changes acting inappropriately or impulsively, appearing selfish or unsympathetic, neglecting personal hygiene, overeating, or loss of motivation
    • language problems speaking slowly, struggling to make the right sounds when saying a word, getting words in the wrong order, or using words incorrectly
    • problems with mental abilities getting distracted easily, struggling with planning and organisation
    • memory problems these only tend to occur later on, unlike more common forms of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease

    There may also be physical problems, such as slow or stiff movements, loss of bladder or bowel control , muscle weakness or difficulty swallowing.

    These problems can make daily activities increasingly difficult, and the person may eventually be unable to look after themselves.

    Read more about the symptoms of frontotemporal dementia.

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    Loss Of Neuronal Connections And Cell Death

    In Alzheimers disease, as neurons are injured and die throughout the brain, connections between networks of neurons may break down, and many brain regions begin to shrink. By the final stages of Alzheimers, this processcalled brain atrophyis widespread, causing significant loss of brain volume.

    Learn more about Alzheimers disease from MedlinePlus.

    Alzheimers Disease Symptoms And Treatment

    Does Fungus Cause Alzheimers Disease?

    Patients with Alzheimers disease suffer progressive disability over the course of the illness. Generally, patients with Alzheimers can live from 2 to 20 years from diagnosis on average patients life expectancy is 8-10 years. Alzheimers disease usually causes a decline in thinking ability, memory, movement, and language. Bizarre, withdrawn, or paranoid behavior may also occur as the disease progresses.

    Early in the disease, patients may only have subtle symptoms such as changes in personality or lapses in memory. As the disease worsens, patients may experience bouts of disorientation, and may notice difficulty in performing daily tasks. In later stages of the disease, patients can no longer care for themselves, and they may become paranoid or hostile. In the later stages of the disease patients lose the ability to swallow and control bladder and bowel functions. They may no longer recognize family members and may not be able to speak. Fatal complications of Alzheimers include loss of ability to swallow that can lead to aspiration pneumonia, and incontinence leading to urinary tract infections or sepsis .

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    Signs Of Vascular Dementia

    If you or the people around you notice any of the signs below, you should visit your GP:

    • Not being able to understand or respond to things very quickly.
    • Not being able to remember things.
    • Finding it difficult to concentrate.
    • Not being able to find the right word when youre speaking.
    • Struggling to plan ahead for everyday tasks.
    • Difficulty in learning new tasks
    • Seeming down or depressed.

    At a later stage, signs may include:

    • Becoming confused.
    • Behaving differently, especially if youre being aggressive or behaving inappropriately.
    • Lacking motivation.
    • Not being able to control your emotions.
    • Finding it difficult to walk and keep your balance.
    • Having problems controlling your bladder.

    What Is Mixed Dementia

    It is common for people with dementia to have more than one form of dementia. For example, many people with dementia have both Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia.

    Researchers who have conducted autopsy studies have looked at the brains of people who had dementia, and have suggested that most people age 80 and older probably have mixed dementia caused by a combination of brain changes related to Alzheimer’s disease,vascular disease-related processes, or another condition that involves the loss of nerve cell function or structure and nerve cell death .

    Scientists are investigating how the underlying disease processes in mixed dementia start and influence each other. Further knowledge gains in this area will help researchers better understand these conditions and develop more personalized prevention and treatment strategies.

    Other conditions that cause dementia-like symptoms can be halted or even reversed with treatment. For example, normal pressure hydrocephalus, an abnormal buildup of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain, often resolves with treatment.

    In addition, medical conditions such as stress, anxiety, depression, and delirium can cause serious memory problems that resemble dementia, as can side effects of certain medicines.

    Researchers have also identified many other conditions that can cause dementia or dementia-like symptoms. These conditions include:

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    Dementia Symptoms And Areas Of The Brain

    Knowing how different types of dementia affect the brain helps explain why someone with dementia might behave in a certain way.

  • You are here: Dementia symptoms and areas of the brain
  • Dementia and the brain

    Until recently, seeing changes in the brain relied on studying the brain after the person had died. But modern brain scans may show areas of reduced activity or loss of brain tissue while the person is alive. Doctors can study these brain scans while also looking at the symptoms that the person is experiencing.

    The most common types of dementia each start with shrinkage of brain tissue that may be restricted to certain parts of the brain.

    Do Activities Matter For A Person In The Later Stages Of Dementia

    What does dementia look like?

    It can be easy to assume that when a person is no longer communicating with words or is spending much of their day in bed, the emphasis will be on keeping the person physically comfortable and activities become less relevant. However, a person in the advanced stages of dementia can still experience emotions such as loneliness, boredom or frustration.

    A person might no longer be able to move independently or hold a conversation. However, many people with dementia will respond positively to close one-to-one attention using the eyes to communicate or hands to touch and make a connection.

    Nearly all the external things, the ones we take for granted and which the world values, may be swept away, but the real Malcolm, the essence he was born with, was there right to the end.

    Barbara Pointon cared for her husband Malcolm, who had dementia

    For more on these ideas, you might like to look at the feature on Communication in the later stages in the section on Communicating well.

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    Early Symptoms Of Dementia

    Although the early signs vary, common early symptoms of dementia include:

    • memory problems, particularly remembering recent events
    • increasing confusion
    • apathy and withdrawal or depression
    • loss of ability to do everyday tasks.

    Sometimes, people fail to recognise that these symptoms indicate that something is wrong. They may mistakenly assume that such behaviour is a normal part of the ageing process. Symptoms may also develop gradually and go unnoticed for a long time. Also, some people may refuse to act, even when they know something is wrong.

    What Are The Benefits Of Early Diagnosis

    Early planning and assistanceEarly diagnosis enables a person with dementia and their family to receive help in understanding and adjusting to the diagnosis and to prepare for the future in an appropriate way. This might include making legal and financial arrangements, changes to living arrangements, and finding out about aids and services that will enhance quality of life for people with dementia and their family and friends. Early diagnosis can allow the individual to have an active role in decision making and planning for the future while families can educate themselves about the disease and learn effective ways of interacting with the person with dementia.

    Checking concernsChanges in memory and thinking ability can be very worrying. Symptoms of dementia can be caused by several different diseases and conditions, some of which are treatable and reversible, including infections, depression, medication side-effects or nutritional deficiencies. The sooner the cause of dementia symptoms is identified, the sooner treatment can begin. Asking a doctor to check any symptoms and to identify the cause of symptoms can bring relief to people and their families.

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    Dementia And The Brain

    Knowing more about the brain and how it can change can help to understand the symptoms of dementia. It can help a person with dementia to live well, or to support a person with dementia to live well.

  • You are here: Dementia and the brain
  • These pages explain which areas of the brain are responsible for certain skills and abilities, and how these are affected by dementia. We explain how changes to the brain relate to changes a person may notice as the condition progresses.

    This information is helpful for anyone who wants to find out more about how the brain is affected by dementia.

    How Hospice Can Help With End

    What does an MRI of the brain look like in a patient with ...

    In addition to helping you in recognizing the signs of dying in the elderly with dementia, bringing in hospice care will help with the physical and emotional demands of caregiving. Nurses will be able to adjust medication and care plans as the individuals needs change. Aides can help with bathing, grooming, and other personal care. Social workers can help organize resources for the patient and family. Chaplains and bereavement specials can help the family with any emotional or spiritual needs. Additionally, family members can contact hospice at any time, and do not need to wait until it is recommended by the patients physician.

    To learn more about the criteria for hospice eligibility or to schedule a consultation, please contact Crossroads using the blue Help Center bar on this page for more information on how we can help provide support to individuals with dementia and their families.

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