dementia

Dementia is a medical condition or disease that has serious consequences on the Brain that especially affects the mind.

 

In a Normal Adult

As age progresses – Function of the brain will, in some manner, worsen – this is typical and expected.

Memory, thought processes, concepts, and much more will all be affected.

A “normal” loss of brain function is probable in the typical adult and is expected.

Misplacement of keys or forgetting birthdays or such can be seen.

 

In Adults with Dementia

Dementia, however, is a level of brain deterioration that is above and beyond the “normal” loss of function.

Typically affects the older population but can be seen any adult age.

Often diagnosis required 6 months of symptoms prior to the diagnosis.

It is not a single disease but rather a syndrome.

It can affect language, memory, problem solving, attention, and more.

A disorientation of memory can occur – this deals with not knowing – time, place, day of week, and even the year.

 

Symptoms:

  • Jaundice
  • Change in memory – both short and long – one or the other is often more affected
  • Change in language
  • Change in problem solving
  • Disorientation of place
  • Disorientation of time
  • Depression
  • Anger
  • Confusion

cerebral cortex

 

Types or Classifications of Dementia

1.)  Cortical Dementia

  • Dementia that are the result of changes to the cerebral cortex
    Often things such as loss of speech, ability to remember language and memory problems can be seen.

2.)  Subcortical Dementia

  • Dementia that are the result of changes below the cerebral cortex.
  • Changes in personality, and/or speed of thinking and the ability to stay on task are variably affected.

 

Examples of the 2 types of Dementia:

1.) Cortical Dementia

2.)  Subcortical Dementia

dementia testing

 

Examination of Dementia includes:

1.)  Mini-Mental State Exam
2.)  Drawing
3.)  Memory recall
4.)  Informative questionnaires
5.)  Neurophyschological testing
6.)  Blood tests
7.)  CT or MRI
8.)  PET scan
9.)  others

 

Treatment

Often no curative treatment exists

When treatment is an option it is usually due to dementia of an underlying condition as mentioned above

Acetylcholinesterase inhibitors

. Tacrine  (Cognex)
Rivastigmine  (Exelon)
Donepezil  (Aricept)
Galantamine  (Razadyne)

N-Methyl-D-aspartate Blockers

. Memantine  (Namenda)

Antidepressant drugs

Anti-psychotic drugs

Others

. Selegiline  –  used in treatment of Parkinson’s disease

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