dementia

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

This serious medical condition is brain deterioration that is above and beyond the “normal” level or loss of function. Typically it affects the older population but it can be seen any adult age.

Often the diagnosis requires 6 months of symptoms. It is not a single disease or a single symptom 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.

 

What Symptoms can be seen in Dementia:

–  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
–  Jaundice
–  Falling
–  Dizziness
–  Getting lost

cerebral cortex

 

Types or Classifications of Dementia

1.)  Cortical Dementia

–  This results from 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

–  This results from changes below the cerebral cortex.
–  It can include 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

–  Alzheimer’s Disease
–  Dementia with Lewy Bodies
–  Creutzfeldt Jakob Disease
–  Alcohol-Induced Persisting Dementia
–  Vascular Dementia

2.)  Subcortical Dementia

–  Parkinson’s disease
–  Hypothyroidism
–  Huntington’s disease
–  Hypoglycemia
–  Vitamin B1 deficiency
–  Vitamin B12 deficiency
–  Subdural hematoma
–  AIDS dementia complex
–  Dementia of unknown origin
–  Dementia not otherwise classified
–  many others

dementia testing

 

Examination to help the diagnosis 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 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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