Do you remember what your last conversation was about?

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Dementia is a loss of brain function that occurs with certain diseases. Alzheimer's disease (AD), is one form of dementia that affects memory, thinking, judgement, perception and emotional behavior and progressively worsens over time. Most people experience normal forgetfulness due to aging and mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is the next stage before the development of AD. Symptoms of MCI include difficulty performing more than one task at a time, difficulty solving problems, and forgetting recent conversations. Imagine losing the ability to work on homework and carry on a conversation with a friend or forgetting that conversation only five minutes later. Eventually, the progression of the disease results in loss of language skills getting lost in familiar routines (like getting dressed in the morning or baking cookies), and inability to learn new routines (like a route you need to drive to get to a new job).

alzheimers-brainpuzzle-512.jpg
People with AD often feel like their brain is a jumble of puzzle pieces

Common causes of dementia include a brain tumor or stroke that twist or even destroy nerve cells. The loss of nerve cells means the brain has a harder time communicating to the rest of the body. Unfortunately, because of the complexity of the nervous system, there is no cure for AD at this time. On the other hand, the goals for treatment include slowing the progression of the disease through use of medication, managing sleep problems, and changing the home environment to make daily activities easier to perform. Although these are all important, support from family members and dedication of caregivers are probably even more essential to maintain the behavior and personality of the AD patient.

Even though there is no proven way to prevent AD as it is commonly passed down from parent to child, there are a few practices that can be incorporated into a daily routine to delay its onset. For instance, comsuming a low-fat diet, eating fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids, reducing intake of butter, increasing intake of antioxidants like vitamins E and C, maintaining a normal blood pressre, and staying mentally and socially active throughout life have been shown to help. Interestingly enough, females and those with a history of head trauma are more at risk to develop AD.

An interesting breakthrough in AD treatment involves the use of an FDA-approved drug that rapidly clears Amyloid from the brain and reverses cognitive and memory defects:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HdYdYeNAYpU

source:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001767/

3 Comments

I could never imagine myself having AD. Just reading about the effects of the disease makes me feel like I would lose the whole person that I am. There seems to be so many things your mental and physical body could turn into and destroy you, rather than helping. I wonder why it is that females are more likely to experience this disease? It is an interesting concept to think that our physiology makes us more likely for a certain disease.

I think it's difficult subject to approach because there are so many ideas of what you can possibly do to put off the onset of AD- but which ones are actually accurate? From 2000 to 2008 deaths from AD increased by 66%, which makes it difficult to believe that you can delay AD by diets and exercise. Do women actually have a higher percentage of falling prey to AD or is it simply because women live longer?

Losing yourself a piece at a time may be the hardest thing anyone has to experience. Without a good cure for AD right now, I think the best way to prevent it is simply to leave a healthy lifestyle. Not only focusing on food and exercise, but also mental exercises and games focused on memory and concentration. Maybe playing more board games or word puzzles--simply "thinking" more instead of being immersed in technology. We could also train our concentration so that we're not always trying to do 5 things at once. There are so many factors that cause AD, but there are simple things we can do to possibly prevent it.

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This page contains a single entry by janki001 published on March 6, 2012 10:54 PM.

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