Memory

Memory

Failing memory is a serious concern as we grow older. While medical solutions for memory loss remain elusive, diet, exercise, socialization and lifelong learning can push back cognitive impairment.

What is dementia? It refers to memory loss and other cognitive problems that are severe enough to interrupt a person’s daily life. Alzheimer’s, vascular dementia, and dementia with Lewy bodies are all types of dementia.

More than 5 million Americans currently live with Alzheimer’s disease—the most common form of dementia. By 2050, that number is expected to rise to 16 million Americans.

In Alzheimer’s disease, abnormal proteins called tau and beta-amyloid clump together to form deposits in the brain. These deposits gradually damage nerve cells and destroy areas of the brain. Vascular dementia often occurs after a stroke that damages blood vessels in the brain. The damaged vessels prevent enough blood from reaching brain tissues. People who have dementia with Lewy bodies have an abnormal buildup of a protein called alpha-synuclein in the brain. It’s possible to have a combination of these different dementia types, known as “mixed dementia.”

Dementia symptoms vary by type, but can include difficulty remembering names and events, trouble communicating, depression, poor judgment, confusion, behavior changes, and sleep disturbances. People who are suspected of having dementia will undergo a series of dementia tests, or Alzheimer’s tests, to determine whether they have lost memory and cognitive function. Doctors will ask the person and his or her family members about any memory problems and trouble completing daily activities.

Other tests involve evaluating memory, attention, problem-solving, and language skills. During these tests, the health care provider will ask the person a series of questions and assign tasks, such as remembering the names of common objects or drawing a face of a clock. Brain scans such as computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or positron emission tomography (PET) may also be done to assess brain structure and function.

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4 Types of Dementia and Their Warning Signs

4 Types of Dementia and Their Warning Signs

· · Memory

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common of the various types of dementia and has become something of a “catch-all” term for severe cognitive impairment, but it isn’t the only type of dementia to which older adults are vulnerable.

“Figuring out which type a person has is important, since the drug treatments that  … Read More

Lewy Body Dementia: Outlook and Action Steps

Lewy Body Dementia: Outlook and Action Steps

· · Memory

Researchers are exploring new approaches that are increasing scientific understanding of dementia with Lewy bodies (or DLB), also known as lewy body dementia. In one study, the transplantation of stem cells into DLB-damaged areas of the brains of mice revitalized those regions and resulted in dramatic improvements in the animals’  … Read More

What Is Early-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease?

What Is Early-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease?

· · Memory

Alzheimer’s disease does not affect just the elderly—sometimes it can attack people in their 50s, 40s, and even 30s. And when it does, the effects can be devastating. So what is early-onset Alzheimer’s disease (EOAD)?

Simply put, EOAD involves the onset of Alzheimer’s before the age of 65, when it will  … Read More

What’s New in Parkinson’s Treatment

What’s New in Parkinson’s Treatment

· · Memory

Today’s Parkinson’s treatment options address the symptoms of tremors, stiffness, and slow movement to improve quality of life. However, they do little to slow the progression of this disease.  Fortunately, research is helping us better understand Parkinson’s. While early signs of Parkinson’s disease can be overlooked, once it’s diagnosed, treatment  … Read More



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