Outlook For People With Dementia
The outlook for patients suffering from dementia depends completely on the direct cause of dementia. The available treatments are used to make the symptoms of dementia manageable, but there is no sure-fire way of stopping the deterioration of the mind due to this disease.
Although vascular dementia can be slowed down in some cases, it can still shorten a patients lifespan. Some dementia variants are reversible, but most of them are irreversible and can cause physical and mental impairments, over time.
What Are The Symptoms Of Dementia
Everybody with dementia will experience symptoms differently. It also depends on what is causing the dementia. Most dementia symptoms fall into three categories.
- Difficulties with remembering, thinking and language. For example, being forgetful, disorientated and repeating questions. Or struggling to remember words and have conversations.
- Difficulties completing daily activities. For example, struggling to take care of yourself or your home, or getting lost in familiar places.
- Emotional problems and changes in behaviour. For example, becoming withdrawn, low or anxious, being restless and have trouble sleeping.
Sometimes people with Alzheimers struggle to communicate how theyre feeling because of the changes to their brain. This means they might get upset or act aggressively if theyre feel scared, upset or confused.
Symptoms Specific To Frontotemporal Dementia
Although Alzheimers disease is still the most common type of dementia in people under 65, a higher percentage of people in this age group may develop frontotemporal dementia than older people. Most cases are diagnosed in people aged 45-65.
Early symptoms of frontotemporal dementia may include:
- personality changes reduced sensitivity to others feelings, making people seem cold and unfeeling
- lack of social awareness making inappropriate jokes or showing a lack of tact, though some people may become very withdrawn and apathetic
- language problems difficulty finding the right words or understanding them
- becoming obsessive such as developing fads for unusual foods, overeating and drinking
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Why It’s Important To Get A Diagnosis
Although there is no cure for dementia at the moment, an early diagnosis means its progress can be slowed down in some cases, so the person may be able to maintain their mental function for longer.
A diagnosis helps people with dementia get the right treatment and support. It can also help them, and the people close to them, to prepare for the future.
Read more about how dementia is diagnosed.
What Is End Stage Lewy Body Disease
End-stage Lewy body dementia requires around-the-clock care for the patient, as they are no longer able to do many if not all of the activities of daily living. Other possible symptoms that can occur throughout the stages of the disease include: Depression. Drowsiness. Staring into space for long periods of time.
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How Many Americans Have Alzheimers Disease
Estimates vary, but experts suggest that more than 6 million Americans age 65 and older may have Alzheimers. Many more under age 65 also have the disease. Unless Alzheimer’s can be effectively treated or prevented, the number of people with it will increase significantly if current population trends continue. This is because increasing age is the most important known risk factor for Alzheimers disease.
The Effects Of Alzheimers On The Brain
Damage to the brain begins years before symptoms appear. Abnormal protein deposits form plaques and tangles in the brain of someone with Alzheimers disease. Connections between cells are lost, and they begin to die. In advanced cases, the brain shows significant shrinkage.
Its impossible to diagnose Alzheimers with complete accuracy while a person is alive. The diagnosis can only be confirmed when the brain is examined under a microscope during an autopsy. However, specialists are able to make the correct diagnosis up to
- behavioral changes
- difficulty speaking, swallowing, or walking in advanced stages of the disease
Some types of dementia will share some of these symptoms, but they include or exclude other symptoms that can help make a differential diagnosis. Lewy body dementia , for example, has many of the same later symptoms as Alzheimers. However, people with LBD but are more likely to experience initial symptoms such as visual hallucinations, difficulties with balance, and sleep disturbances.
People with dementia due to Parkinsons or Huntingtons disease are more likely to experience involuntary movement in the early stages of the disease.
Treatment for dementia will depend on the exact cause and type of dementia, but many treatments for dementia and Alzheimers will overlap.
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Alzheimer’s Disease: Symptoms & Treatment
Alzheimers is a progressive brain disease that is caused due to complex brain changes following cells to waste away, damage, and die. It slowly affects the brain causing impairment in cognitive abilities and memory. Alzheimers disease is progressive in nature and worsens over time.
The cause of this is unknown. In Alzheimers disease, there is a formation of abnormal structures in the brain, which blocks communication between the brain cells leading to the death of brain cells. It is not possible to diagnose someone with this disease with complete accuracy, but the patient is diagnosed as probable Alzheimers disease.
The symptoms of dementia and Alzheimers may overlap, but there are some differences. Similar symptoms include reduced ability to think, impairment in communication, and memory.
Symptoms of Alzheimers mostly include –
How Alzheimers Is Different
At its onset, Alzheimers tends to affect more of your learning and memory than other types of dementia, which might be more likely to impact your planning or language. In the brain of a person with Alzheimers disease, there are buildups of beta amyloid protein fragments between nerve cells as well as tangles of the protein tau inside cells. Scientists dont know exactly how these plaques and tangles contribute to Alzheimers disease, but some believe they throw off communication between nerve cells and interfere with normal cell processes, according to the Alzheimers Association. As the disease progresses and more of the brain is affected, a person may experience behavior changes, confusion, delusions, and difficulty speaking or walking. Other types of dementia can progress differently, depending on what parts of the brain are affected.
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Rem Sleep Behavior Disorder
LBD: People with LBD sometimes experience REM sleep behavior disorder, a dysfunction where they physically act out the situations in their dreams. Some research suggests that REM sleep behavior disorder can be one of the earlier predictors of LBD.
ALZHEIMERS VS. SENILE DEMENTIA
Old age and the loss of mental faculties are an unfortunate but harsh reality. Alzheimers disease is, perhaps, the most common and debilitating of this type of affliction. However, most people are unaware that Alzheimers disease is only one disease under the larger umbrella that is Senile Dementia. Alzheimers maybe the most infamous, but there are many other forms of this condition.
Difference Between Dementia And Alzheimers
Dementia is not a single disease but a general term, like heart disease, covering a range of specific medical conditions. The term dementia describes a range of specific medical conditions, including Alzheimers disease. In general, dementia describes disorders in which abnormal brain changes occur. These changes cause a decline in thinking skills that can impair independent function and daily life. Dementia also affects behaviour, feelings, and relationships. What is dementia disease? You can refer to our previous articles to find out the answer to this question.
With complex brain changes following cell damage, Alzheimers leads to dementia symptoms that steadily worsen. The main early sign of Alzheimers is difficulty learning new information because the disease typically affects the region of the brain associated with learning first.
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Is It Possible For Younger People To Get Dementia Or Alzheimers Disease
As we age, our risk of contracting dementia heightens. However, although not as common, it is still possible for younger people to develop the syndrome. This is known as early-onset dementia.
Symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease in most cases begin after a person turns 60 years old. Similarly to dementia, younger people can also develop the disease. For people over the age of 80, the time from diagnosis to death can be as little as 3 years. On the other hand, younger sufferers can live with the disease for a lot longer.
How Does Dementia With Lewy Bodies Start
Lewy body dementia or dementia with Lewy bodies is associated with protein deposits in the brain that cause disruptions in the normal functioning of the brain. Diagnosing the disease is extremely tough because its symptoms may resemble other brain diseases. DLB often starts with difficulty moving your body.
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Myth: Theres No Link Between Covid
The relationship between viruses, infections and dementia is really interesting and something were continuing to think about and do work on, says Prof Livingston.
Theres some evidence that when people who have dementia get flu infections, it accelerates the rate of their deterioration, even when the infection has cleared up. And were particularly interested in the impact of Covid-19 as we know a lot of people present with symptoms of mental confusion rather than respiratory ones, so there is concern about the impact Covid-19 might have on the future risk of dementia.
One small US study showed that when researchers looked at the cerebral spinal fluid of Covid-19 patients, there seemed to be an increase in the sort of markers associated with non-specific brain damage and also seen at higher levels in people with Alzheimers and motor neurone disease. It was just one study, but its definitely an area that needs further research.
In the meantime, it seems the message is clear: get vaccinated, get your boosters, wear a mask.
Is There Treatment Available
At present there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease. However, one group of drugs called cholinergeric drugs appears to be providing some temporary improvement in cognitive functioning for some people with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease.
Drugs can also be prescribed for secondary symptoms such as restlessness or depression or to help the person with dementia sleep better.
Community support is available for the person with Alzheimer’s disease, their families and carers. This support can make a positive difference to managing dementia. Dementia Australia provides support, information and counselling for people affected by dementia. Dementia Australia also aims to provide up-to-date information about drug treatments.
For more information contact the National Dementia Helpline on 1800 100 500.
For a range of books and videos contact our Library.
For advice, common sense approaches and practical strategies on the issues most commonly raised about dementia, read our Help Sheets.
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Visions Of The Future
Alzheimers and Parkinsons cause sweeping changes to the landscape of the brain before there are any behavioral shifts blood vessels atrophy, neurons die prematurely and snarls of misfolded proteins disrupt communication between surviving neurons. Current techniques for detecting these shifts, including PET imaging at $3,000 to $6,000, can identify Parkinsons and Alzheimers pathology in the brain before symptoms begin, but theyre too invasive and costly for widespread use. But identifying parallel changes in the retina is a different story.
Maya Koronyo-Hamaoui, a neuroscientist and professor of neurosurgery, studies early Alzheimers intervention and treatment at Cedars-Sinai. She and her team have pioneered a technique to visualize the plaques associated with Alzheimers in the retinal neurons of live patients with mild cognitive impairments, at a cost of about $285 a scan. All it requires is modified ophthalmological equipment and a lot of curry flavoring.
If Koronyo-Hamaouis imaging system seems low-tech to neuroscientists accustomed to PETs radioactive tracers and million-dollar scanners, Ruogu Fangs technique for Parkinsons screening is downright stone age.
Initial results suggest that computer algorithms are able to use these fundus images to distinguish Parkinsons patients from healthy controls with an accuracy upward of 70 percent.
The Difference Between Dementia And Alzheimers Disease According To Experts
In everyday conversations, its common practice to use the terms Alzheimers and dementia as if they mean the same thing. Many people do think that theyre interchangeable, but there are differences,Claire Sexton, D.Phil., director of scientific programs and outreach for theAlzheimers Association, points out. Knowing the difference can help you navigate the world of brain health a little more easily and get the right diagnosis.
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Why You Dont Want To Install A Wood
The Lancet research flagged that reducing your exposure to air pollution was one of the 12 most significant ways you could reduce your risk of dementia.
When youre out and about, try not to walk along the most polluted roads, says Prof Gill Livingston. Just walking two or three roads back can make a difference.
And if you have no choice, wear a mask. Although there are no long-term studies on masks, pollution and dementia, we know that masks filter out particles, so it makes sense they would make a difference, even if we dont know for sure.
You should be pretty safe once youre at home, says Prof Livingston unless you have an open fire, or you smoke. She warns against installing a wood-burning stove, though andnot just for green reasons. Wood-burning stoves are intensely polluting of the air, and the particles that they produce are of the size that can lead to dementia.
Radiators might not be as trendy, but they might just save your brain.
Is There A Link
According to the Alzheimers Association, Alzheimers disease and LBD can overlap. Lewy bodies can occur in people with Alzheimers, and plaques and tangles key markers of Alzheimers disease occur in many individuals with LBD.
Although LBD and Alzheimers disease may share similar symptoms, they are different conditions and do not appear to lead to the other.
The following table compares the two conditions.
|Lewy body dementia|
Both conditions typically affect older adults.
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Identification Of Common Molecular Mechanisms
Common molecular mechanisms between AD and PD were identified with the help of a systematic literature mining approach with post-hoc manual curation. More specifically, the text mining engine SCAIView was used to construct cause-effect relationships between molecules, pathways, biological processes and imaging features in both, AD and PD, see Domingo-Fernandez et al. and Kodamullil et al. for details, for details. After manual curation, two computable disease maps, one for AD and one PD were created. Finally, we have also made them interactively usable via a dedicated web application .
Calculation of the intersection of cause-effect relationships described in the AD and PD disease maps resulted into 27 genes grouped into 15 cause-effect relationship sub-graphs, called mechanisms from now on . While some of these mechanisms describe only posttranslational modifications of a single protein, others reflect more complex proteinprotein interactions and signaling cascades . Key proteins described in both diseases include e.g. APOE, TAU, SNCA and TOMM40. These proteins are involved into several known disease relevant processes that we have made computationally accessible via our earlier developed NeuroMMSig database.
We mapped 148 genetic variants measured in ADNI1, ADNI2/GO as well as PPMI to the 27 common AD/PD disease genes via a combination of two strategies: a) proximity and b) eQTL mapping, see details in Supplements on page 2.
The Types Of Dementia
There are many different types of Dementia. In addition to Alzheimers-related dementia, some of the most common types are:
Lewy Body Dementia
According to the National Institute on Aging,Lewy body dementia affects more than one million individuals in the United States. Lewy body dementia affects cognitive abilities, with the average age of encounter being 6085, and death typically occurring 56 years from the onset.
Lewy bodies are protein deposit abnormalities found in the brain tissue within the cerebral cortex. It can involve visual hallucinations, erratic changes in concentration abilities, disorganization, and difficulty in distinguishing time and place. Visual hallucinations are quite common, affecting 80% of people with Lewy body dementia.
Vascular dementia often occurs after a stroke but that is not always the case. It can also be caused by high blood pressure and other conditions that restrict blood flow to the brain and reduce circulation. Harboring high blood pressure can cause damage to the steady blood flow throughout your body, thus posing a risk to your brain health and leading to high systolic blood pressure.
It creates issues with remembering, planning, logic, and other cognitive functions. It can result in symptoms of confusion, difficulty paying attention, unsteady gait, slowed thinking, indecisive thinking abilities, restlessness, and agitation.
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What Are The 7 Stages Of Dementia
According to theReisberg Global Deterioration Scale, these are the indications of the seven stages of dementia.
Stage 1: No Cognitive Decline
No indications of memory deficit symptoms.
Stage 2: Age-associated Memory Impairment
Indications of forgetfulness of familiar names and objects.
Stage 3: Mild Cognitive Impairment
Displaying signs of more than one of the following:
- geographical confusion and getting lost when traveling to an unfamiliar place
- poor work performance
Denial becomes an attribute and can be followed by symptoms of mild to moderate anxiety.
Stage 4: Mild Dementia
Exhibiting signs of not being up to date on current events, memory difficulties about personal past, concentration deficit involving mathematical computation, lowered ability to travel and manage finances, difficulties in recognizing familiar people and faces, and lack of ability to perform complex tasks. Denial sets in as a defense mechanism. They may become apathetic and withdraw from the new changing and challenging environment.
Stage 5: Moderate Dementia
The patient becomes dependent on assistance and has trouble recalling current data, including historically familiar addresses, phone numbers, and names of close family members. They may appear disoriented about time and season. They may experience indecision about their choice of clothing, but dont typically require assistance with going to the restroom or eating.
Stage 6: Moderately Severe Dementia
Stage 7: Severe Dementia