Dementia- a close up study
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The 40th president of the United state recognized for his conservative Republicanism, his fervent anticommunism, and his appealing personality style, personified by a jaunty friendliness and social charms. Designated November as National Alzheimer awareness month, prior to his political career, he was a Hollywood actor, a successful screen performer who typecasted in a consecution of chiefly b movies as a sincere, healthy, mild manner “good guy”.
His character was an ideal representation of himself in movies this was something viewers attested to. His childhood already wounded by his Father’s strident alcoholism was not short of “best life experience” something Reagan couldn’t deny. What made him different from his movie persona was his inability to have a happy ending, he died at the age of 99 as a cause of dementia.
The now-deceased nonagenarian outwardly appeared undefiled, his health wasn’t something that deteriorated due to terminal disease but rot as a result of his folding skin made feasible by nature, no doubt on several occasions his memory proved redundant and retarded but his unphased appearance underscores the tragedy of his condition and dementia’s reputation as a silent hitman.
Similarly, Sugar Ray Robinson, Famous for his now achievable feat, was just 62 when he started warming a coffin. His fame wasn’t carried by fans and newspapers alone it was something that spanned from generation to generation enough to immortalize his name in history as a famous and easily the greatest 80’s fighter of the last 80 years. He, although old didn’t reach age expectancy “death, laid its icy cold hands on the crown”.
The likes of Reagan, Sugar, Hayworth and many others led a fight against dementia through the public revelation of their conditions, which resulted in their not so imminent demise, the degenerative disorder was easily destigmatized.
Each year an estimated figure of 7.6 million people are being diagnosed with dementia, the most conjunct appearance of it is Alzheimer’s disease.
Alzheimer’s is characterized by an impaired ability to think and remember and a concurrent swap in moods and social behaviour. It is unrepealable and progressive, while some cases are inherited the majority are sporadic and thus have no known cause.
As a matter of fact, outside of traumatic brain injury, metabolic discord, nutritional deficit, certain infectious diseases and vascular disease that alters the brain such as stroke, few instances of dementia have an unidentifiable cause.
This is especially true of Lewy body dementia, which is composed of the deposition of alpha-synuclein protein in the brain region involved in thinking and movement and for which no casual factors have been discovered. this as many have concluded, appears to be related to Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.
Likewise, genetic mutations were associated with specific types of frontotemporal dementia which neuronal degeneration found in the frontal and temporal lobes leads to altered personality and loss of language skills.
Around the annual of 2012, the figure of people already vulnerable to dementia had surmounted at an all-time high, and with estimates made from potent research work detailed how further the number would skyrocket in coming years. Against the 35.6 million people affected in 2010, an approximation made mention of a heightened figure of 65.7 million by 2030.
Dementia comes in 3 stages, Mild (early stage), moderate( middle), late(severe). The pattern through which such symptoms conjoined with these stages manifest differs noticeably, and there is, however, an overlap between stages.
The early stage, basically characterized by symptoms such as asperity in judging distances visually or spawning the right words when speaking or writing, is most times very subtle to be easily noticed. But yet indications made by copious research and non-chimerical study shows that even in this early phase, pathophysiological changes in the brain which are related to later development of Alzheimer, are apparent.
Pathophysiological changes taking place at early stages are associated with the consequent formation of neuritic plaques and neurofibrillary embroil in the brain, which can be pinpointed relatively in advanced stages of the disease with the aid of imaging techniques such as positron emission tomography(PET).
Catching dementia at infant remains a focused task that keeps radars on biomarkers in the blood and cerebrospinal fluid(CSF)- (Biomarkers are biological, biochemical derived indicators of a process, event, or condition). Cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers, such as proteins beta-amyloid which are deposits conjoint with neuronal plaques and embroils were unearthed to differentiate Alzheimer’s disease from other forms of dementia. The production of methodical armament to detect these substances was a result of personal realizations upon generic mutations associated with inherited onset Alzheimer’s disease.
Preventing cognitive decline
Keeping the brain agile is a catalyst for starving dementia.
At large, the brain mass is overruled by the growth and the resilience of neurons-processes that are pivoted upon neuroplasticity (the ability of neurons to modulate their activity and rewire their connections in response to new environmental inputs.) Sensory stimulation elevates the production of efficient neuronal connections, and connections that are not stimulated are pared away. Through development, even as established pathways become more robust, neurons continue to adapt and change when new information is discovered.
The adult brain retains much of the plasticity of its youth, the continued ability of neurons to adapt to new information was identified as a potential mechanism that the brain uses to combat dementia. Central to this idea of neurogenesis. When neurons adapt to new information, they grow new branches or strengthen existing ones, and scientists suspected that this could act to maintain brain volume. Possible thesis detailed that continuous learning at mid and late-life could help prevent dementia,
Furthermore, discoveries suggested that several nutritional factors and exercise are key influencers that make the facilitation of neurogenesis and the adaptive capabilities of neutral networking possible thereby abridging the effect of dementia, high caffeine intake, for example, stirs effects in persons with mild cognitive impairment by reducing the progression towards dementia. same conjunct research emphasized exercise regimes enhancing cognitive functions in elderly women.
Other wildly carried out research proposed that exercise may sustain and enhance cognition through cardiovascular alterations and blood circulation that takes place in the brain.