Understanding Sundowning Dementia Treatment

Understanding Sundowning Dementia Treatment

Sundowning, or to use its other name, sundown syndrome, is one of the most challenging aspects of dementia that affects many individuals. Basically, when a day transitions into night, dementia patients begin to experience a heightened state of agitation and confusion in this condition. The state of restlessness increases in intensity with every passing hour. Because the condition aggravates the already miserable effects of dementia, researchers have tried their best to find strategies and interventions which can help with this condition. Let us have a look at sundowning dementia treatment plans…

Sundowning Dementia’s Symptoms and Effects

Sundowning Dementia Treatment and Management

It is important to understand the symptoms of sundowning dementia in the first place before we discuss any interventions or strategies to counter it. Usually, this condition is characterized by a set of symptoms that become more pronounced in the later parts of the day. Some of these symptoms include:

Once these symptoms are observed and the presence of sundowning dementia is affirmed, one can move towards appropriate management techniques.

How to Cope with Sundowning Dementia?

Best treatments for sundowning dementia

Ok, so let us talk about sundowning symptoms treatment. The first thing to do in such a situation is to establish a calm and soothing environment during the evening hours. This can help in cutting down the intensity of the symptoms associated with this syndrome.

Some of the things that can be done in this regard include dimming the lights, playing soft music and minimizing noise and distractions. As you can sense, the idea is to minimize anxiety and restlessness.

A consistent daily routine for individuals suffering from dementia is often considered quite important. It goes the same for people suffering from Sundowning dementia. By maintaining this consistent routine, a sense of security can be provided to the patients.

Here is another tip for coping with sundowning in dementia. Dementia care specialists often encourage Sundowning dementia patients to engage in daytime activities and exposure to natural light.

The goal of these exercises is to positively impact sleep patterns and overall well-being. Physical exercises can reduce restlessness and improve sleep quality, thereby minimizing the severity of Sundowning dementia’s symptoms.

Also, vascular dementia and eating problems often require a proper diet for dementia patients; take care of that as well.

Interventions to Consider For Sundowning Dementia Treatment

Sundowning Dementia Treatment

Light therapy:

Talking about sundown syndrome interventions, Light therapy is a technique that involves exposing a patient to bright light during specific periods of the day.

It has been observed that the intervention is quite an effective strategy in regulating circadian rhythms and improving the sleep patterns in individuals suffering from sundowning dementia.


Then, there are melatonin supplements, formulas that can address sleep disturbances in patients suffering from dementia.

However, one must consult their healthcare professional before decision for a melatonin supplement; Melatonin is a hormone that regulates the sleep-wake cycles. It must be used with great caution and care.


It so happens that the patients suffering from sundowning treatment often fall prey to communication disorders. They are often in need of proper and effective communication and chats that can minimize their anxiety and frustration.


Hence, dementia caregivers often rely on such techniques to calm down the patients suffering from Sundowning dementia. Also, validating the feelings and experiences of patients suffering from dementia can prove to be quite instrumental in comforting and reassuring them.

Distracting activities:

Activities such as listening to familiar music or scrolling through a photo album they own are often endorsed by caregivers.

Cognitive behavioral therapy:

We would also like to mention the importance of cognitive behavioral therapy here. This type of therapy, also known as validation therapy sometimes, is considered to be quite effective for individuals suffering from Sundowning dementia.

It so happens that often the behavioral patterns are off the normal routine in such patients. Addressing their emotional problems can often help overcome the challenge of Sundowning dementia.

Talking helps:

If there is a family member or friend that you know suffers from Sundowning dementia, talk to them. Sometimes, their agitation is quite visible as they watch the day transition from dawn to dusk.

Be with them, chat with them, and spend time with them. It is said that our friends are those who stay close to us in periods of darkness; well, you have to be that friend.

Final Thoughts – Sundowning Dementia Treatment 

Coping with sundowning in dementia

That would be all from this brief. As you read in these lines, sundowning dementia presents itself as a unique challenge for both dementia patients and caregivers.

The usual strategies that are employed to counter dementia are somewhat modified in the case of Sundowning dementia treatment. However, the important thing to note here is that it is not something that cannot be tackled.

The best sundowning  dementia treatment includes a clean environment, consistent routine, daytime activities and support during the darkest hours, can create a big difference.

Light therapy and melatonin supplements can also be relied upon. However, a healthcare professional’s opinion must be sought before relying on these techniques.

If all of this is done in a careful and coordinated manner, the life of Sundowning dementia patients can be improved by a great deal!

In fact, if one can keep a lookout for early signs of dementia in women and men, a lot of problems later can be avoided.



8 Reversible Dementia Causes and Symptoms

reversible dementia

If you have never clearly understood the reversible dementia causes and symptoms, you came to the right place. In short, in this article, we discuss the most common ones that you need to be aware of.

One of the most disheartening dementia facts is that it has no cure.

This implies that if a person gets a positive dementia diagnosis, they will have to live with it until their last day.

This said, it is important to note that some conditions exhibit dementia-like symptoms, which can make one confuse other diseases or infections for dementia.

These are often known as reversible dementia causes and some of them include:

Most Common Reversible Dementia Causes

1. Psychiatric Disorders

psychiatric disorders
Some psychiatric disorders, such as depression, can also cause dementia-like symptoms in seniors.

Worth noting is that depression can be one of the signs of dementia. Depression can make a person LACK motivation and have problems with paying attention or feeling lethargic about daily activities.

If someone does not have dementia, treating dementia can help to improve cognitive abilities.

It is important to understand depression symptoms as well as get an accurate assessment from the experts to get prompt treatment for better emotional and cognitive health.

2. Tumors

Tumors, especially the ones that develop in the brain, are known to be part of reversible dementia causes.

Depending on its size and location, many people may confuse this tumor for dementia.

Brain tumors are responsible for multiple symptoms that can negatively affect judgment, memory, impulse control, and personality changes, amongst many others.

Depending on the affected person, treatment can offer the benefit of full restoration, especially when it is a tumor that can be successfully removed.

3. Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus

normal pressure hydrocephalus
Also known as “water in the brain,” NPH (normal pressure hydrocephalus) is a condition that causes extra spinal fluid to build up in the brain instead of traveling to the spinal column via the brain.

When this happens, a person will normally experience a couple of symptoms, such as:

Proper diagnosis is essential in the event a person is going through the above.

This is because there is a HIGH chance of reversing some, if not all, of the confusion and memory impairment.

Early identification is always best because it allows treatment on time, which generally offers better results.

4. Subdural Hematomas

subdural hematomas
Older adults are at high risk of developing subdural hemorrhages, which are also known as subdural hematomas.

This is where blood vessels in the brain tear and break leaving behind a pool of blood between the dura and the brain. This typically makes a person experience symptoms like lethargy, confusion, headaches, and difficulties with speech.

When an individual with subdural hematomas does not undergo treatment fast enough, the condition can be fatal.

However, if this is detected early enough, treatment can involve surgery or medication that will drain off all the excess blood in the brain.

When everything goes to plan, the person will not experience any NEGATIVE symptoms related to this type of hematoma.

5. Low Levels of Thyroid Hormones

low levels of thyroid hormones
Thyroid disorders can also make individuals experience symptoms that might be mistaken for dementia.

This can include communication problems such as finding the proper words to complete sentences, reduced levels of concentration, memory loss, slower visual processing, and poor spatial organization.

Problematic cognitive symptoms can crop up because of both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism. Should a person experience any of the above symptoms, it is vital to see a specialist right away.

With PROPER treatment, all the symptoms may disappear after a while.

6. Sleep Deprivation

sleep deprivation
Lack of sleep also belongs to the category of reversible dementia causes.

Sleep deprivation is a major cause of memory loss. Experts also point out that when you do not get enough sleep, it can make some parts of the brain shrink.

Sleeping well is crucial for good health.

If you suffer from constant sleep deprivation, you will most likely go through cognitive decline and experience loss of memory. This can have a huge impact on how you reason and think.

Thankfully, this is not something you have to live with for the rest of your life. A professional medic can treat this successfully in regaining your memory and cognitive function.

7. Central Nervous System Infection

central nervous system infection
Several CNS (central nervous systems) infections are also known to cause treatable cognitive impairment. Examples of these include AIDS dementia complex, tuberculous meningitis, and bacterial meningitis, etc.

Most of these usually meet dementia’s diagnostic criteria.

For instance, HIV-associated dementia may present challenges with memory and concentration, as well as social withdrawal, apathy, and motor dysfunction.

Multiple studies state that with adequate treatment, we can REVERSE the symptoms. In the case of antiretroviral therapy produces the best results.

8. Metabolic Disorders

metabolic disorders
When talking about reversible dementia, it is important to mention that metabolic disorders vitamin B12 deficiency can make a person have symptoms that are similar to those of dementia.

These mostly include behavior changes like irritation and agitation, as well as memory loss. Many people will have low levels of vitamin B12 because of a poor diet.

Health issues like Crohn’s disease or pernicious anemia may also be responsible for this deficiency. As people grow older, the ability to absorb this particular vitamin may reduce.

Doctors may prescribe vitamin B12 supplements to people who have low levels of the vitamin. These may also help to restore or improve memory as well as cognitive functioning.

Rapidly Progressive Dementia (Treatment & Diagnosis)

rapidly progressive dementia

Over the course of our studies, we discovered different types of dementia, including rapidly progressive dementia (RPD).

This is a form of dementia where deterioration from onset happens at a SPEEDY rate when you compare it to other dementias.

Experts, most of the time, predict two years as the time frame for the development of the illness. However, in most cases, RPD usually develops sub-acutely in a few weeks or months.

Various factors can lead to the development of RPD like:

The progression of RPD is different from one person to another because it mostly depends on the cause.

Persons with the disease usually develop problems with communication, movements, thinking, and personality.

Let’s find out more RPD explicitly touching on the diagnosis process and available treatment options.

Rapidly Progressive Dementia Diagnosis

RPD is rare and challenging to diagnose. Nonetheless, accurate and early diagnosis is essential because a majority of the causes of the illness are treatable.

If you suspect that a person has the illness, it is advisable to see a doctor who specializes in these medical conditions.

The professional then makes a proper diagnosis.

The practitioner might ask some questions concerning the medical history of the person suspected to have the illness, the progression of symptoms, recent possible exposures i.e. from toxins, infections, chemicals, or travel as well as any similar diseases present in biological relatives.

Thorough documentation of all medications, both prescribed and non-prescribed, is also imperative.

The medics also perform CAREFUL physical examinations. These help spot any physical issues as well as evaluate the current mental function level.

These examinations determine whether there are other neurologic features present and whether there are any organs in the body that are affected by the illness.

To confirm whether a person has rapidly progressive dementia or not, doctors normally combine different types of diagnosis methods to come up with conclusive results. These include:

Rapidly Progressive Dementia Tests

Laboratory Tests

laboratory tests
Ancillary testing is crucial mainly because many RPDs have similar clinical features.

Doctors may request various laboratory tests that may include:

  • Blood tests
  • Urine tests
  • Brain imaging like electroencephalogram which measures electrical activity in the brain from the scalp, MRI or CT.
  • Cerebrospinal fluid tests which involves looking at the clear fluid that surrounds the spinal cord and the brain.

The results that the doctor will gather from the tests can HELP to determine the cause of the disease.

Lumbar Punctures

lumbar punctures
A lumbar puncture or CSF can also be performed on a person to determine if they have rapidly progressive dementia.

It is usually beneficial for persons who have neoplastic, infectious, or autoimmune disorders.


Some doctors also find that it is necessary to conduct EEG in a bid to rule out seizures as one of the causes of RPD.

Brain Biopsy

In a few cases, a brain biopsy is necessary.

RPD Treatment Options

treatment options
Regarding rapidly progressive dementia, it is important to mention that treatment for most cases of RPD is palliative.

The illness is perpetually fatal, and experts give it a median survival rate of 6-11 months even though some people can live for three years upwards.

On the other hand, some types of RPD are reversible if doctors can efficiently treat the cause of the disease.

For instance, if the illness is a result of hormonal imbalance or cancer, treatment CAN TARGET these specific conditions in a bid to help treat RPD.

Some treatment options that may help curb treatable RPD include:

Paraneoplastic and Autoimmune Encephalopathies

paraneoplastic and autoimmune encephalopathies
If medical practitioners suspect autoimmune encephalopathy, they will recommend a trial of immunotherapy for the ill person, which will help to treat RPD in responsive persons.

Immunotherapy, however, does not work when the person with dementia has infections that will become worse after immunosuppression.

Physicians also avoid steroids when lymphoma is differential because it can DELAY EFFICIENT treatment. Worth noting is that steroid trials work as diagnostic tests as well as treatment options.

This implies that doctors need to administer a high dosage for a clear clinical response.

The doctor will determine the number of steroids to give out because currently, there is no documentation on the minimum steroid dose that is sufficient to treat dementias that are immune-mediated.

Persons who cannot tolerate steroids will often go through PLEX (plasma exchange) or a course of IVIg.

Toxic Metabolic

toxic metabolic
To treat toxic-metabolic etiologies, doctors will first find out the specific disorder that they need to tackle.

Thiamine deficiency is one of the disorders that has proven to be more affordable and easier to treat empirically rather than going in to rest the thiamine levels.

Specialists use A COMBINATION of glucose and thiamine to treat a person who has Wernicke encephalopathy to help with treatment.

Taking Care of Infectious RPD

rapidly progressive dementia
When it comes to treating infectious rapidly progressive dementia, infectious disease specialists should first detect the type of infection that the person had before recommending the appropriate treatment.

For example, antivirals are normally suggested to individuals who have viral encephalitis. Medics also screen persons with RPD to look for infections like Lyme disease, syphilis, and HIV.

When diagnosed EARLY enough, such infections are treatable.

This is one of the reasons why it is essential to consult the specialists soon enough so that they have adequate time to identify and treat the infection before it is too late.

Maintenance Therapy

maintenance therapy
Studies indicate that persons who have positive responses to immunotherapy trials often require long-term treatment because relapse rates are usually high.

Individuals with RPD must, therefore, also go through maintenance therapy to maintain remission. Most people will go through suitable osteoporosis and screening for latent tuberculosis as part of this process.

Clinicians will, however, advise on the best approach for maintenance therapy depending on an individual’s progress regarding treatment.

Antiviral Medications

antiviral medications
These are medications that come in handy, especially in cases where prion diseases cause RPD.

The medicines, when administered in the right way, help to significantly improve clinical status where persons with the illness record a relapse of symptoms.

Depending on the individual, a doctor can also prescribe anticonvulsants to help deal with seizures.

Doctors may also prescribe other forms of medications that will offer relief to the persons with RPD, depending on why they got the illness in the first place.

In instances where the individual does not have the option to take medicine, the TREATMENT approach mainly FOCUSES on improving the quality of life and making sure that a person is as comfortable as possible.

Some of the options available when it comes to this include:

In-Home Care

in-home care
Because many people who have rapidly progressive dementia do not have many years to live, it is advisable to think of collaborating with an in-home care agency.

These are companies that have the experience and the expertise needed to care for a person who has medical conditions like RPD.

It works well for families that want their loved ones to stay at home while receiving expert care round the clock.

Staying in a familiar environment is beneficial as it helps to offer persons with RPD peace of mind and security.

This also allows NON-PROFESSIONAL caregivers (friends and relatives) to go on about their business so that they can spend time with their unwell relatives when they are free without feeling too overwhelmed.

In-home care professionals may offer services like assistance with dressing, walking, grooming, bathing, as well as medication reminders, appointment transportation, light housekeeping, meal preparations, errands, and shopping, amongst others.

Take time before working with any in-home agency to ensure you settle on the RIGHT FIT for the affected individual.

Above all, ensure that the person who will be spending time with the person with RPD has proper qualifications and preferably has experience working with persons who have this type of dementia.

When in-home care does not give the results a family is looking for, it is probably best to look for an appropriate care facility that will be in tune with the needs of the ill individual until they take their last breath.

Working with Routines

working with routines
It may also help to develop routines that the person will follow. Many individuals with RPD find comfort in routines. This is because, when crafted well, they help to reduce anxiety and confusion.

Routines can include waking up, sleeping, exercising, and eating at specific times.

For instance, an individual can wake up at six am have breakfast at seven am shower an hour later, rest, eat lunch at one, participate in an activity at three, go for an evening walk or exercise at five and retire to bed at eight pm.

Remember that when coming up with routines, it helps to consider the needs of the suffering person so that their day is full of activities they enjoy and love.

The routine should also not be cast in stone. It should be adjusted along the way to ensure the person with dementia has productive and comforting days.


Rapidly developing dementia, unlike other forms of dementia, usually develops at a fast rate.

While some cases of RPD are treatable after early diagnosis, others are irreversible, depending on the cause. If a loved one ever gets RPD, it is best to consult a doctor as soon as possible.

It is important to know the next steps to take to ensure a person receives the right treatment. Not to mention, lives comfortably until the illness runs its course.

Sugar And Dementia (Makes It Worse?)

sugar and dementia

We reviewed numerous studies that suggest a possible link between sugar and dementia.

This is after researchers confirmed that consuming TOO much sugar in any form puts a person at a higher risk of getting dementia.

One longitudinal study exposed the fact that persons with high levels of blood sugar experience faster cognitive decline rates than the ones with normal blood sugar levels.

Another study by Melissa Schilling reveals that elevated insulin plays a huge role in the development of dementia.

Seeing that too much sugar is one of the RISK factors of dementia, which still has no cure, to date, it is important to keenly study the relationship between the two to find out how both factors reconcile.

Below you will uncover some of the ways that consuming too much sugar can increase the risk of developing dementia EVEN at a young age.

Poor Insulin Control

poor insulin control
When your body always has to deal with insulin resistance, it means that you will be at a higher risk of developing dementia.

Note that when you eat different types of food, including sugar, starches, and carbohydrates, the body breaks them down into glucose.

When the digestion process takes place, the small intestines and the stomach absorb all the glucose and then sends it into your bloodstream.

Insulin, which is a hormone that the pancreas produces, transports the sugar/glucose in the bloodstream to the cells in your muscles and other organs.

Your body will produce MORE insulin when the levels of blood sugar are too high. This implies that insulin will, essentially, try to give the cells more sugar.

When this happens, the cells are bound to try and protect themselves from insulin’s powerful effect, thus creating insulin resistance.

The pancreas then responds to this resistance by giving the body even more insulin. This creates a vicious cycle where insulin resistance results in higher blood sugar levels.

Where there is an insulin spike, too much glucose will find its way to the brain through the bloodstream. This will eventually DESTROY the cells in the brain, a move that can lead to the development of dementia.

An Overdose of Glucose in Brain Cells

an overdose of glucose in brain cells
The brain needs glucose as a source of energy.

However, when there is too much sugar in the brain, the cells in this organ can easily absorb the glucose.

It is worth noting that brain cells, unlike other cells in the body, do not require insulin to absorb glucose. This means that the cells in the brain will DIRECTLY absorb the glucose from the bloodstream because sugar usually crosses the barrier in the brain fast.

When too much sugar is flowing in the brain, it will NOT PRODUCE useful mental energy. This is because the brain can only convert sugar into energy with the help of insulin.

After a long period of consuming simple carbohydrates and sugar, the brain will have an overflow of sugar that is not beneficial in any way.

In fact, when talking about sugar and dementia, it is safe to say that a high insulin load will prevent the brain from using glucose as a source of energy because it will have excess levels.

When the brain cells do not get the energy they need from glucose, they eventually die off one of the events that lead to the onset of dementia.

The sad fact is that brain cells get too much sugar but CANNOT make good use of it.

Too Much Sugar Clogs the Brain and Causes Inflammation

too much sugar clogs the brain and causes inflammation
Another front that shows evidence of the link between sugar and dementia is the fact that obese individuals have a doubled risk of developing dementia.

Most people will become overweight because of a poor diet that mostly consists of too much sugar.

As a result, this causes clumps in the brain that affect how it functions. To better understand this concept, it is essential to know that obese persons typically have TOO MANY amyloid proteins in the brain.

These proteins are toxic to the brain because they stick together and start forming clumps. These clumps are usually present in the brains of people who have different forms of dementia.

In the medical world, there is still a huge debate as to whether the clumps that amyloid proteins form are responsible for dementia even though they are generally present in persons who already have dementia.

Experts also believe that HIGH sugar amounts in the body can cause inflammation.

Inflammation has been LINKED to dementia, diabetes, heart diseases, and cancer. Inflammation inside the body is akin to a swollen red, infection on the skin that is full of puss.

When there is inflammation in the brain or other parts of the body, the body has to get into a position where it is always fighting infections.

When this happens, it will lead to cognition breaking down because the brain, as well as the blood vessels, are irritated and swollen.

Eating Sugar Leads to Addiction

eating sugar leads to addiction
Experts have established that excess sugar in the brain can impair both cognitive skills as well as self-control. Many people experience cravings after consuming a little sugar.

Sugar is known to have a drug-like effect on the brain’s reward center. Scientists propose that sweet, salty, and fatty foods can produce addiction effects in the brain.

This results in overeating, loss of self-control, and CONSEQUENTLY weight gain.

This drive, on the other hand, can lead to excess amounts of sugar in the brain, which is a dementia risk factor.

Too much sugar in the brain is harmful as it can result in deficits in attention, memory, and slow cognitive function.

Too much Sugar Leads to Strokes

too-much sugar leads to strokes
Another possible variable when discussing sugar and dementia is the fact that too much glucose in the blood vessels can lead to stroke.

This is because a spike in blood sugar can cause the vessels to become weak. Meaning, they will not function as they should leading to strokes, which can make a person get various dementia forms.

In such a case, the brain cells will die because they lack oxygen.

How to Reduce Adverse Effects of Sugar and Dementia

how to reduce adverse effects of sugar and dementia
It is almost IMPOSSIBLE to cut off sugar in your diet, seeing that most fruits are loaded with sugar. This, however, does not mean that you should not try and limit the amount of sugar that goes into your system.

There are several steps you can take to prevent getting dementia because of too much sugar like:

Balancing blood sugar

balancing blood sugar
This has everything to do with the things that you put into your mouth.

Avoid those high-fat and sugar diets because they will only lead you into trouble. Take off the unhealthy stuff that includes alcohol, refined carbs, caffeine, dairy, processed foods, etc.

Instead, your diet should constitute healthy alternatives like leafy green vegetables, nuts, good fats, and grass-fed meats, among many others.

These foods are not only great for your waistline, but they will also make the brain very happy.

If you are NOT TOO sure about the foods to be eating, it is best to work with a dietician who will give you proper guidance.

Remember that sugars present in soft drinks and sweets can lead to a spike in blood sugar levels. The ones from complex carbs are absorbed in a slower rate.


Another way to tame blood sugar is to get physically active. This helps to reduce blood sugar levels and weight if need be.

If you have not been working out for long, try and schedule at least 150 minutes of exercise every week.

You DO NOT have to go into a gym or start working with an expensive professional trainer.

Brisk walking for a few minutes every day can do the trick. Take short but frequent breaks as you walk. This can be as short as forty seconds or one minute.

This can help to lower blood sugar effectively.

Some experts also advise taking a walk after meals. Exercising can also mean taking the stairs more than using the lift, parking a little further from your destination, and moving around if you sit around for hours.

When you are more active, your muscles will increase their glucose intake, which will prevent instances of insulin resistance.

Get enough rest and avoid stress

get enough rest and avoid stress
Giving the body enough rest is crucial if you want to protect the health of your brain. This includes getting quality sleep and listening to your body when it needs to rest.

Additionally, it is also important to avoid stress triggers because they are not good for your health.

Do things that you love and enjoy and talk to a trustworthy person if you feel like things are getting out of hand to keep stress at bay.

Sugar and Dementia Conclusion

It is now evident that there is a connection between sugar and dementia.

Experts agree that faster cognitive decline happens when there are high sugar levels in the blood, whether the sugar levels make a person diabetic or not.

It is one of the reasons why you should control sugar consumption while ADOPTING a healthy lifestyle to reduce the risk of dementia and other diseases.

Dementia and Aggression (Complete Guide)

dementia and aggression

Since dementia and aggression, both physical and verbal, are very common in patients, we will look at all the possible causes and steps to soothe the situation.

People with dementia might sometimes become verbally or physically aggressive because of the damage that is happening in the brain.

In fact, it can be pretty common, as we experienced it 100s of times.

It is a normal part of the illness, and it can happen to seniors who have NEVER been violent all their lives.

Aggressive outbursts can be difficult and scary for ill persons as well as those around them.

Persons with the illness may start to curse, scowl, scream, hit, bite, grab, throw things, or push.

Family members and friends may not know how to react accordingly when their loved one with dementia starts to behave aggressively.

Below we discuss the possible causes of aggression and how to best approach it in people with dementia.

Causes of Aggression

causes of aggression
With most dementia cases, affected persons who start to showcase aggressive behaviors normally do so because they cannot communicate their needs.

They may lash out for various reasons like:

  • Pain or discomfort
  • Hunger or thirst
  • Stress or depression
  • Soiled clothes or diapers
  • Lack of enough sleep or rest
  • Feelings of loss
  • Constipation
  • Excessive noise in the room
  • Sudden changes in routine, well-known places, or people
  • Feeling lonely
  • Medicine interactions
  • The person may misunderstand the good intentions of caregivers
  • Being pushed by others to complete certain tasks like going out to socialize or remembering events or loved ones, etc.

Practical Tips for Dealing with Aggression

practical tips for dealing with aggression
Caregivers may not always understand why dementia patients behave the way they do.

It is, however, important to familiarize yourself with some of the aggressive scenarios that may arise during the illness so that you prepare well for such.

Below we look at some of the best ways to respond when a person with dementia experiences anger outbursts.

Remain Calm

remain calm
It’s natural to want to fight back or argue when you encounter an aggressive person.

Avoid the urge to do this and, instead, step back, and take several deep breaths before reacting. This will give the person with dementia some space and time.

Although it may not be easy, you should always try to remain as calm as possible when dealing with an individual who is being aggressive for one reason or the other.

You can leave the room if this is what it takes to feel calmer.

If the individual with the illness is showing signs of physical violence, try your best not to show any fear, anxiety, or alarm because this may increase the person’s agitation levels.

It may be difficult, especially in a situation where you feel threatened. If you genuinely feel like the person is a threat, get away from them and immediately call for help.

Unless it is necessary, avoid trying to restrain the person because this escalates the problem further.

Remember to speak calmly, stay positive, and keep reassuring the angry person.

Try and Identify what is Triggering Aggression Episodes

try and identify what is triggering aggression episodes
Another way to help an individual with dementia when they are being aggressive is to think about what was happening before the flare-ups.

Frustration, fear, or pain are among likely triggers. For instance, an individual may start yelling at an empty chair or commanding people in the room to leave.

When you look around, you may notice that the room is getting darker; and shadows may start showing up in corners so that it feels like there are other persons in the room.

To help calm the weak person, you can turn on the lights so that the shadows disappear.

If the aggression ceases, you will know to turn on the lights in a room before it becomes shadowy.

Rule out Pain

dementia and aggression
When a person who has dementia is feeling pain and they cannot voice this out, they are bound to become aggressive.

Before coming up with other solutions, it is important to try and rule out eliminate pain as the cause of aggression.

Some of the things that may cause the individual pain include:

  • Infections like UTI’s or chest infections
  • Existing medical conditions like arthritis
  • Constipation
  • Bruises, cuts, or other injuries
  • Sitting, sleeping, or moving around in an uncomfortable position
  • Earache, toothache, or issues with dentures
  • Finger or toenails that need trimming, amongst others

You can take the person for eyesight and hearing testing so that they can get hearing aids or glasses if obligatory.

Validate the Person’s Feelings

validate the persons feelings
When dealing with dementia and aggression, you must also try to put yourself in the shoes of the person exhibiting aggression.

Study their body language and try to imagine what they are trying to express or how they are currently feeling.

For example, if a person starts to remove their clothes, they may be feeling too hot, itchy, may need to use the washroom, or they may be feeling like the clothes are too tight.

If you can identify the issue that is bringing out the aggressive behavior, you can solve it with greater ease.

Worth noting is that the individual with dementia will most probably respond to facial expression, body language, and the tone of your voice rather than the words you choose to use.

Smile, use eye contact, or a reassuring touch to show compassion and pass your message. Remember that these behaviors are not personal.

Use Distractions

use distractions

During anger outbursts, you can try and distract a person so that they can focus on something else.

Soothing or classical music is one of the things that work well for people with dementia and aggression.

If the person is not feeling this type of music, you can always play their favorite tunes.

Singing along to some music as you complete some tasks like brushing teeth or dressing can make these easier.

Other than music, you can also shift focus to another enjoyable activity. This primarily works if a previous or current event is the cause of the agitation.

Give the person with dementia a moment to vent before you introduce a new activity so that you do not surprise them and make the problem worse.

Moreover, exercise can also be part of the distraction. Working out will not only help to reduce aggression, but it will improve sleep as well.

This can also offer social interaction opportunities providing caregivers a much-needed break.

Calm the Environment

calm the environment

At times, the room that a person is in may be the cause of aggression. A high percentage of people with dementia are usually sensitive to their environment.

This is especially if there is too much noise that is coming from other people, TV, radio, or other sources.

If the individual cannot get out of the room for one reason or another, you can politely ask the others to tone down.

Switching off devices that are making noise can also help to calm the situation.

Other steps that you can take to create a relaxing environment include carefully selected decorations.

Do this by contrasting the colors of floors and walls, and making sure that you cover mirrors when they are not in use.

It also helps to improve lighting and ensuring that the things that a person needs are within reach.

Be Realistic with Expectations

be realistic with expectations
When you are trying to cope with dementia and aggression, it is also important to be realistic about expectations.

Note that some calming techniques can work within no time while others take a while before bringing forth any positive results.

Depending on an individual some may not even work.

Learn to practice patience and understand that the person is not aggressive because they want to.

Always ask for help when you feel that you are stuck so that you remain in the right frame of mind when looking after the person with dementia.

Ensure Safety

ensure safety
You will notice that sometimes the person with dementia just needs a few minutes on their own to calm down or even forget that they are angry.

This means that you should leave them alone in the room so that they can regain balance.

Before you leave a person on their own, it is essential to ensure that the room is safe.

There are a couple of things you can do to enhance safety such as getting rid of clutter so that a person can move around with ease.

Marking doors or leaving them open can also help reduce confusion inside the house.

Experts also suggest that adding keepsakes or photos can help to evoke positive memories creating a pleasant environment.

If you feel like the individual with dementia is not safe at home, it may be time to consider a care facility.

All you need to do is carefully look for one that will take care of the needs of your loved ones so that they live a comfortable life despite dementia.

Dementia and Aggression Closing Thoughts

It is advisable to always look for the early warning signs of dementia and aggression.

This is because it is easier to deal with the cause before extreme behavior problems start.

Never try and ignore this issue because it will only become worse. When the aggression becomes overwhelming, consulting a doctor might be the only solution.

The medic will perform a medical exam to identify the cause of aggression.

When the need is, the professional may prescribe medication that can help to prevent or reduce aggression.

Statins and Dementia Risk (For Prevention?)

statins and dementia risk

We take a closer look at the possible connection between statins and dementia risk? Could the medication prevent the disease? Or does it cause memory loss?

Statins are a class of medication that lower cholesterol levels in the human body.

They block the enzyme responsible for making cholesterol in the liver.

This helps to reduce the risk of heart attack, chest pain, and stroke.

Additionally, some studies are now focusing on the use of statins and dementia risk.

Dementia has fast grown to become a healthcare concern around the globe. The disease already affects millions of people, and there are predictions that the numbers will double after two decades.

This means that the number of people who have dementia might rise to 74.7 million in 2025 and a whopping 152 million by 2050.

The fact that the disease does not have a cure does not help.

There was excitement when earlier studies revealed that there might be a connection between dementia prevention and statins use.

Later studies, however, did not draw similar promising inferences.

Experts continue to explore different avenues to introduce solid ways of preventing the development and progression of dementia.

While on this journey, researchers stumbled on the likelihood of statins reducing the risk of dementia. There are different types of statins that slightly differ from one another.

Some are also more likely to enter the brain than others.

Researchers claim that statins are instrumental when it comes to preventing and treating dementia, especially in middle-aged people.

Worth noting is that the results of one type of statin may not necessarily translate to another. This is because the drugs will regulate and prevent cholesterol metabolism in the brain.

Do statins have the potential to prevent dementia?

do statins have the potential to prevent dementia
Although statins have the potential to prevent the development of dementia, there are still some concerns about the safety of the drugs that need to be addressed.

It is mostly due to the conflicting results that studies have concerning the association of dementia and the use of statins.

Some observational studies report that in some cases, the use of statins is associated with a decrease in the risk of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and dementia, as well as improvement of cognitive impairment.

Other studies refute these findings stating that statin use is not related to the risk of dementia.

One of the studies that support the fact that the meds can help with dementia risk decrement base their results on the fact that elevated serum cholesterol and high-cholesterol diet are risk factors for dementia and coronary heart disease.

They further support the theory by stating that hypercholesterolemia can be deposited in the hippocampus part of the brain.

This causes degeneration of neurons, which results in Alzheimer’s disease.

Statins may come in to reduce B-amyloid formation, which is possible through decreasing harmful cholesterol levels.

Statins are known to have a stable homeostasis effect on the nervous cholesterol system.

This gets in the way of cholesterol synthesis which lowers the cholesterol levels; thus, preventing metabolism of the amyloid precursor protein

The connection between Dementia and Cholesterol

the connection between dementia and cholesterol
Research suggests a possible connection between dementia and high cholesterol levels.

This is important to study when looking at how statins and dementia relate. Cholesterol is a fatty substance present in the body’s cells and blood.

A doctor can measure a person’s cholesterol levels to determine if there are healthy or harmful levels in the bloodstream.

The body makes this substance naturally, and you can also consume it in certain foods.

Studies are seeking to prove the connection between dementia and cholesterol look at several ways that link these two.

Evidence, although scanty, shows that high levels of cholesterol in a person’s blood can increase the risk of a person developing dementia, especially during mid-life.

Furthermore, if you have high levels of cholesterol in your blood, there is a high chance that you have other factors that can cause dementia.

These include factors like diabetes and high blood pressure.

This implies that it is complex to separate cholesterol and dementia.

Investigations are also going on to determine the role that cholesterol plays in the brain to lead to dementia development.

Statins and Memory Loss

statins and memory loss
When discussing statins and dementia, it is also important to talk about memory loss as one of the side effects of medications.

A section of patients who have high cholesterol has been on record saying that they experience memory loss while taking the meds.

This led the FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) to update statins safety information to include confusion, forgetfulness, and memory loss as possible side effects or risks.

Researchers have done several tests about this, but to date, there is still no evidence that statins are responsible for memory loss.

Researchers from John Hopkins Medicine in 2013 took to examine 41 studies to uncover the link between memory loss and statins.

All the studies followed 23,000 women and men who did not have any history with memory problems for about 25 years.

The professionals did not pick up on any evidence that supports the notion that statins cause loss of memory.

Note that the percentage of people on statins who had memory issues was not significantly different from those taking other medication that helps to lower cholesterol.

Instead, analyzing those studies revealed evidence that long-term use of statins may protect people against dementia.

Experts believe that some dementia types are brought about by blockages in the blood vessels that supply the brain with blood.

Taking statins can help to reduce some of the blockages.

Cognitive Function and Statins

cognitive function and statins
To further understand the relationship between statins and dementia, you must note that cholesterol is essential for brain function.

Around 25% of the body’s cholesterol is present in the brain. This helps with membrane function. It is possible that inhibition of cholesterol synthetic pathways theoretically results in adverse neurocognitive effects.

Statins might reduce cholesterol synthesis in a person’s brain; hence, interfere with myelin function and formation.

On the other hand, statins can also induce a decrease in coenzyme- Q10 levels, which may result in weakened mitochondrial functioning, as well as an increase in oxidative stress, which can also affect cognition.

Statins may as well have an impact on cholesterol levels.

Can Statins Reduce Risk of Dementia after Concussion

can statins reduce risk of dementia after concussion
JAMA Neurology published a study that suggests the use of statins reduces the risk of dementia in older adults after a concussion.

Researchers in this study evaluated billing data from physicians from the Ontario Health Insurance Plan.

They combined this with computerized health care records for dementia risk after a concussion in seniors over 66 years with and without statins use.

The population that took part in the study were older people who had experienced a concussion without a diagnosis of severe brain injury.

After thorough investigations, it revealed that the use of statins reduces the development of dementia by 13% when compared to the persons who were not on the medications.

An increase in prior hospitalization, physician visits, urban home location, total prescriptions, lower socioeconomic status, and older age were factors considered to increase dementia risk.

The experts also noted that other medications that participants took did not make a difference in the reduction of dementia risk. The meds did not make things better or worse.

Statin was the only exception among the other cardiovascular and lipid-lowering medicine.

Because there are different types of statins, deeper analysis showcased that Rosuvastatin was responsible for the largest reduction risk while simvastatin had the opposite effect (smallest reduction risk).

There was a correlation between the time participants took statins with higher/lower benefits, but the dosage did not affect the results.

Researchers in this study concluded that although elderly individuals have a higher dementia risk after suffering a concussion, there is a modest reduction in the risk of dementia for the persons who receive a statin.

Clinical Trials on the Use of Statins to Reduce Dementia Risk

clinical trials on the use of statins to reduce dementia risk
Studying statins and dementia demands looking into suitable clinical trials that can either support or refute the claim that statins are beneficial for reducing the risk of dementia.

There are multiple clinical trials in medical databases that compare administering statin as a pretend medicine or placebo to individuals with normal cognitive function and those who are at the age where they risk getting dementia.

Many trials did not show a reduction in the occurrence of dementia in people who use statins or placebo.

Side effects were also low in both groups.

It is, however, impossible to give accurate results of the trials because several limitations exist in these studies to provide proper results.

Researchers will, nonetheless, continue to improve these trials so that in the future, they can give an adequate deduction as to whether or not the use of statins can help with the prevention or treatment of dementia.

Statins and Dementia Closing Thoughts

The topic of the use of statins and dementia is COMPLEX. There is a need for more research to give conclusive results on how taking the medications can help reduce the risk of dementia.

In the future, experts may be in a position to identify individuals who can benefit from the use of statin based on genetic profiles of other factors of dementia risk.

For now, medics recommend that people follow healthy lifestyles first and foremost.

This includes regular exercise, eating well, and getting quality sleep.

The aforementioned are some of the ways that can help to reduce dementia risk.

Negative Thinking and Dementia (Link?)

negative thinking and dementia

We’ve dealt many times with negative thinking and dementia. We also found several studies revealing the possible link between the two.

Thus conducted this article that will help you and your loved ones with the impact of negative thinking.

Does Negative Thinking Influence Dementia?

Researchers from University College London conducted the research suggesting that repetitive negative thinking also known as perseverative cognition is linked to a higher number of harmful protein deposits in the brain which is linked to cognitive decline.

Subsequently, this INCREASES the risk of developing dementia.

Natalie L. Marchant the lead investigator of the study said that they were prompted to carry out the research based on the fact that anxiety and depression are known as dementia risk factors in mid- and old-age.

The research revealed that certain thinking patterns implicated in anxiety and depression could be the reason individuals experiencing disorders are MORE LIKELY to get dementia.

negative thinking anxiety depression can promote dementia development

She further explained that chronic perseverative cognition patterns over long periods of time could increase the risk of dementia.

However, there was no evidence showing that SHORT-TERM setbacks increase an individual’s risk of developing dementia.

More details of the novel study below.

Participants and Duration of the Research

The researchers observed hundreds of participants who were above 55 years over a four year period.

All the participants were in good cognitive and physical health and had a parent or sibling with Alzheimer’s disease.

The authors of the study looked at two cohorts of participants.

The first came from the PREVENT- AD (Pre-symptomatic Evaluation of Experimental or Novel Treatments for Alzheimer’s disease) research project.

Other participants were drawn from IMAP+ (Multi-Modal Neuroimaging in Alzheimer’s disease) study.

Both studies involved 360 participants.

Research nurses conducted DETAILED medical examinations before enrolling the subjects to ensure they were eligible for the study.

During this time, participants were asked to respond to questions that indicated how they normally felt about various negative experiences.

The queries were primarily centered on patterns that are usually observed in repetitive negative thinking.

These include worrying about the future or thoughts of past events.

The research team also assessed the cognitive function of the subjects including language, attention, and spatial cognition.

In the quest to find out if there is a relationship between negative thinking and dementia, 113 participants had PET scans.

These were done to measure the amount of amyloid and tau deposits in the brain.

Alzheimer’s disease is linked to an excessive accumulation of these two proteins in the brain.

Results of the Study

Researchers found that the participants who demonstrated HIGHER LEVELS of repeated negative thinking patterns had more memory and cognitive decline.

Additionally, the group of participants also had more tau and amyloid deposits when compared to the ones who did not have repetitive negative thinking patterns.

Marchant concluded that repetitive negative thinking could be one of the new risk factors for dementia.

It could contribute to the development of the illness in a unique manner.

Researchers also noted some limitations of the study.

While there may be an association between repetitive negative thinking and dementia, the casual relationship between the two is still not clear.

Authors believe that perseverative cognition contributes to the development of Alzheimer’s by ELEVATING an individual’s stress levels.

Furthermore, the experts could not ignore the fact that early signs of Alzheimer’s disease could also lead to repetitive negative thinking.

Tips for Avoiding Repetitive Negative Thinking

tips for avoiding repetitive negative thinking
Seeing that there could be a link between negative thinking and dementia, it is possible that the risk of developing the illness can be reduced by being more positive.

Researchers are currently taking up projects to see whether interventions such as meditation, mindfulness training, and targeted talk therapy can help REDUCE repeated negative thoughts.

Dr. Gael Chetelat co-author of the study stated that people’s thoughts have a biological impact on physical health.

It can either be negative or positive.

He believed that mental training practice CAN PROMOTE positive thinking.

The doctor advised individuals to take care of their mental health.

He says that this should be a major public health priority.

It is important for people’s well-being and health in the short term and can reduce the risk of dementia.

Responding to this, Dr. Jacob Hall a neurologist at Stanford Health Care said that experts must use scales to determine what is considered normal or abnormal when it comes to negative thoughts.

Positive thoughts increase the quality of life

positive thoughts can reduce dementia development
This is because some negative thoughts are considered to be a normal part of life.

Hall said that there it is still not clear whether perseverative cognition causes, accelerates, or is just associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

He, however, noted that a positive mindset is associated with tons of benefits.

He went further to state that healthier thinking patterns can lead to a higher quality of life reducing the risk of multiple health problems including dementia.

There is no doubt that a positive outlook is great for the mind, body, and brain.

Previous research supports the hypotheses of the study indicating persons who are more positive usually have a better shot at avoiding death from cardiovascular risks than pessimistic people.

A study conducted in 2019 revealed that more positive individuals enjoyed GREATER protection from stroke, heart attacks, and other causes of death.

Moving Forward

Based on the results of the study, researchers hope for more studies on the link between negative thinking and dementia.

We can use the findings to develop effective strategies to IMPROVE the quality of life.

These can lower the risk of people developing dementia by curbing repetitive negative thoughts.

Dementia and Weight Loss in Patients

dementia and weight loss

Due to our close experience with dementia and weight loss, we found it essential to conduct this extensive article.

People who have dementia may, at one point in the illness, may deal with weight loss at the same time.

This especially happens in the later stages of the disease.

This can be very heartbreaking, due to the fact that food is a very crucial part of a person’s existence and health.

Below we talk about weight loss in people who have dementia.

We mention causes, negative effects, and how to manage this distressing condition.

Causes of Weight Loss

Several factors can contribute to weight loss in people who have dementia, such as:

Not Eating Enough

not eating enough
A person with dementia may lose weight because they are not getting enough food.

This may be because their preference of food has changed, or caregivers are serving the WRONG consistency, which makes it difficult to swallow.

Others fail to consume enough food because they lose their ability to recognize food.

Some individuals with dementia may be hungry but forget how to put the food in their mouths.

Medical Conditions

medical conditions
Some medical conditions may be behind weight loss in people with dementia.

These can include constipation, depression, dehydration, thyroid disease, pain, chronic infections, and end-organ diseases, amongst others.

Oral Problems

oral problems
Many people struggling with dementia and weight loss often have oral issues that affect their ABILITY to communicate and eat.

A person might have challenges while eating because they have mouth ulcers, poorly fitting dentures, or bad teeth.

Poor oral health leads to pain, which can make it DIFFICULT for a person to chew and swallow food.

Certain medicines

certain medicines
Weight loss can also be a side-effect of the many medications that persons with dementia take.

These TYPES OF DRUGS may include cardiac medications, endocrine drugs, psychotics, neurologics, joint, bone, and pain medicines.

Psychological Issues

psychological issues
Persons with dementia who are psychiatrically disturbed may become delusional about food. They can decline to eat for fear of food poisoning.

Others may refuse to enter the dining area because of distractions like hearing voices in their heads.

Some may start eating well but leave before completing the meal.

Burning more Calories

burning more calories
A person with dementia may end up losing more weight because they burn calories fast. This is specifically those people who are always in motion pacing and wandering.

Negative Effects of Losing Weight

negative effects of losing weight
The immune system of persons dealing with dementia and weight loss may become weak, which makes it more challenging for the body to fight off other illnesses and infections.

The risk of falling also increases, which makes it challenging for an individual to remain independent.

Managing Weight Loss in Persons Who Have Dementia

Dementia and weight loss management
To avoid a majority of the complications that develop with dementia and weight loss, it is advisable to offer ill persons all the support they need when it comes to HEALTHY eating and drinking.

If the person still shows interest during meal times, there are a few steps you can take to ensure they eat well, such as:

Support for healthy eating

1. Choosing a plate that has a different color from the food so that the person with dementia can see it more clearly.

It also helps to offer flavourful food.

2. Feeding them or putting a drink in their hand if they have difficulties seeing it.

3. Giving the individual enough time to eat and drink.

4. Encouraging the person to participate in exercise during the day can help to increase appetite.

You can opt for activities like taking short walks, swimming, dancing and playing games that the person with dementia finds pleasurable.
increase appetite

5. Try and give them foods that they enjoy, especially if you can provide a healthier option so that the suffering person can always look forward to mealtimes.

For instance, if a person prefers sweet food, you can always serve them a lot of fruit and a little forward so that at the end of the day, they still consume a balanced diet that is good for their health.

Note that smells and tastes from their favorite foods can stimulate the appetite.

Additionally, it is essential to serve tender food that is cut into small bites so that the person with dementia does not have a tough time chewing and swallowing the food.

6. Avoid distractions and overstimulation in the dining areas.

Turning off the TV or radio and making sure people do not make too much noise during meal times can help create the ideal eating environment.

7. Another management strategy when dealing with dementia and weight loss is to ensure that the affected persons eat with dentures, glasses, and hearing aids intact with working battering.

When a person cannot sit still for over fifteen minutes, it is best to give them snacks between meals because hunger is one of the leading causes of agitation in persons with dementia.

8. At times, in dire cases, family members may consider going the artificial feeding route.

This is where experts feed the ill person using tubes that are directly inserted into the stomach.
experts feed the sick person using tubes

If you feel like you cannot solve the problem at home, consult a professional speech pathologist or a dietician who will advise on the best way forward.

Treatment primarily focuses on FIBER, FLUID, and CALORIES for the affected persons.

This is because ill persons require sufficient fiber, proper hydration, and adequate food to maintain the ideal caloric function, nutrition, and weight.

You should also schedule a visit to the dentist if eating problems are stemming from oral issues.

Professionals may also prescribe psychotropic medications to treat problems like depression, hallucinations, and delusions.

Closing Thoughts

It is QUITE COMMON for seniors to experience dementia and weight loss concurrently.

A person with the sickness may lose weight rapidly despite getting all the food they want.

With some individuals with dementia, weight loss may be a part of the dying process.

This is especially if contract cachexia an advanced disease which inhibits the body from absorbing nutrients from food even when a person is getting enough to eat.

With time, the individuals lose appetite, become tired and weak and the body gradually slows down and prepares for passing.

Pick’s Disease and Connection with Dementia

pick's disease

Are Pick’s disease and dementia/Alzheimer’s disease in any way connected?

Around 50,000 to 60,000 Americans suffer from bvFTD (behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia).

It is one of the causes of dementia that specifically affects the temporal and frontal lobes in the brain.

This can also be referred to as Pick’s disease.

Reports indicate that it was first described in 1892 by Arnold Pick, a Czech psychiatrist and neurologist. The disease got its name from this doctor.

What Causes Pick’s Dementia?

Earlier on, frontotemporal dementia and the disease were terms that were used interchangeably. Today, the illness is understood to be one of the causes of frontotemporal dementia.

The illness develops when there is an abnormal collection of tau proteins in the temporal and frontal brain lobes

These protein clusters are called Pick bodies.

The Pick bodies interfere with the brain’s transport system, which means that nutrients do not get to their destination.

As a result, some brain cells begin to die off, causing irreversible brain damage. This ends up causing behavioral, emotional, and cognitive changes in a person’s functioning.

It is mainly because the frontal lobe of the brain controls essential facets of a person’s everyday life which can include multitasking, inhibition, judgment, and planning, among others.

The temporal lobe, on the other hand, primarily affects language. The same thing happens to individuals who have other types of dementia.

Symptoms of the Pick’s Disease

symptoms of the disease

When a person has Pick’s illness, there are certain symptoms they can showcase, such as:

  • Sudden mood changes
  • Poor personal hygiene
  • Depression-like symptoms like disinterest in activities or people they loved before
  • Repetitive behavior
  • Hard time keeping a job
  • Withdrawal from social interactions/poor social skills
  • Inappropriate or compulsive behavior
  • Changes in eating habits where an individual starts to eat greedily or overeats consuming too many sweets or large amounts of alcohol. The person may end up gaining weight.
  • Selfishness
  • Agitation
  • Changes in sexual behavior
  • Childlike behaviors
  • Apathy
  • Irritability, etc.

A person may also experience neurological and language changes like:

  • Reduced reading or writing skills
  • Shrinking vocabulary
  • Difficulties speaking, inability to speak, or trouble understanding what others are saying
  • Repeating or echoing what another person says
  • Stuttering
  • Copying simple shapes with a paper and pencil becomes challenging
  • Rigidity
  • Physical weakness
  • Muscle stiffness

Occasionally, people with the illness will also experience:

  • Problems moving
  • Challenges with incontinence
  • Trouble with coordination

It is important to understand that the symptoms of this illness may vary widely from one individual to the next.

The symptoms of the illness are usually progressive which means that they become worse as times goes by.

The rate of worsening may also vary from one individual to another.

In most cases, memory loss does not happen immediately. This usually comes in in the later stages of the illness.

It is important to seek medical attention as soon as one spots any of the above symptoms. This is because an expert can differentiate between the disease and Alzheimer’s during early onset.

A person can also get Pick’s illness at an earlier age than what is common for Alzheimer’s.

Some people will develop the disease when they are in their 20s although most people will get a diagnosis from ages 45-70.

Studies also show that more men than women get the disease.

When to See a Doctor about The Illness

pick's disease leading to dementia

Changes in mood, personality, and behavior, especially in middle-aged persons, can be a signal of the disease.

It is advisable to consult a health care provider if these changes start to interfere with:

  • How a person looks after themselves
  • An individual’s interest in participating in activities they enjoy
  • A person’s ability to maintain safety and health
  • An individual’s ability to effectively work at their job
  • A person’s ability to sustain relationships
  • How an individual handles daily tasks

One of the reasons it is important to have symptoms thoroughly checked is the fact that a majority of conditions that lead to dementia are reversible.

These include both psychological and medical problems that affect middle-aged persons and seniors as well.

When you see a doctor on time, he or she will be in a position to treat the curable conditions or at least slow them down if they cannot be stopped.

Early diagnosis of the disease also facilitates the start of early treatment.

It is usually the best time because it enhances the chances of symptoms improving.

Furthermore, it also allows the person with the illness to have ample time to plan for their future.

It may include making the necessary arrangements for care when they are no longer in a position to fully take care of themselves or make sound decisions.

Diagnosing Pick’s Disease

diagnosing picks disease
To date, there is no single test that doctors can perform to confirm that an individual has the illness.

The only way to confirm that a person has the disease is by studying the brain directly to identify the swollen neurons and Pick bodies.

The brain needs to be biopsied to make this possible.

This implies that a neurosurgeon takes a small part of the brain for testing. A pathologist will then examine the brain tissue using a microscope.

This typically happens during an autopsy after death.

When a person is alive, doctors study a person’s medical history and use special imaging tests and other tools to perform the diagnosis.

After taking a complete medical history, a qualified medical practitioner may also:

  • Ask the person to complete various writing and speech tests
  • Conduct detailed neurological examination and physical examination
  • Use PET, CT, MRI scans to look at the brain tissue
  • Talk to family members to learn about an individual’s behavior
  • Lab tests: These usually include blood tests so that the experts can rule out blood disorders, infections, hormonal disorders, chemical abnormalities, kidney or liver issues that may cause dementia symptoms

Biopsy is also becoming a popular method for offering a definite diagnosis when an individual is still breathing.

Many families are opting for this route because, in the absence of biopsy, diagnosis is based on symptoms plus ruling out other medical conditions.

Research suggests that about 25% of the people with this illness usually receive a gene from a parent that causes it.

It is still not clear what happens in other cases.

Treating Pick’s Disease

treating pick's disease
Just like the other forms of dementia, there are still no known cures for the illness.

However, doctors usually prescribe some treatments that can help deal with the symptoms of the disease.

For instance, a person may be under antipsychotics and antidepressants to help take care of behavioral and emotional changes.

The treatment aims to maximize the comfort and functioning of the people with the illness as much as possible.

Self-Care for People with Pick’s Disease

self care for people with the disease
A person with Pick’s disease should try their best to remain socially, mentally, and physically active.

Some of the things that an individual can engage in include:

1. Physical exercise

It will help to maximize mind and body functions while maintaining a healthy weight. This does not have to be something strenuous.

Something simple like taking a brisk walk for at least twenty minutes a day might do the trick.

Consuming a balanced diet for all meals and avoiding smoking and drinking too much alcohol might also help.

2. Mental exercises

Individuals are advised to participate in as much mental activity as they can handle.

Experts believe that mental stimulation may slow down the progression of the illness.

Reading, games, puzzles, crafts, and safe hobbies are examples of some excellent choices.

We have an in-depth article written on cognitive and physical exercises for dementia.

3. Social interactions

These are not only enjoyable, but they are also stimulating for a majority of people with the disease.

Many community or senior centers have a long list of scheduled activities perfect for those people with the illness.

Research on the Illness

Many institutes, including NINDS (The National Institute of Neurological Disorders) continue to invest in the research of the disease.

Among the multiple research projects include studying the harmful effects of protein build-up and how this relates to the development of frontotemporal dementia.

Additionally, experts seek to identify the genes that are involved with this medical condition.

This can help to identify effective therapeutic approaches that will facilitate the delivery of normal genes in the hope that this will restore or enhance brain function.

Other research projects may also help people get a better understanding of the disease.

This is in regards to the doctors and caregivers who deal with people with the illness as well as the individuals who have the illness.

Life Expectancy and Prognosis

life expectancy and prognosis
A person can live with Pick’s disease for an average of five-to-nine years.

Some people, however, survive for two decades or more with the illness.

During the early stages of the disease, a person may remain independent and able to do a majority of things on their own.

As time goes by, they may need assistance to complete their day-to-day activities well.

In the advanced stages of the illness, things typically take a different turn where an individual may need to be under 24/7 care.

As with any other dementia type, it is a challenging illness for the persons experiencing it as well as the caregivers.

A report by California University revealed that the symptoms usually progress over eight-to-ten years.

When the symptoms first start appearing, it may take several years before a person goes in for the correct diagnosis.

These are some of the factors that reduce the average span between diagnosis and death to less than ten years.

The origin of the illness remains unknown. Common causes of death may include skin infections, heart failure, urinary tract, and lung diseases.

Gum Disease and Alzheimer’s (Cause?)

gum disease and alzheimer's

Many professionals conducted studies on the possible connection between gum disease and Alzheimer’s. Is there a link? YES and no.

Experts continue to discover startling results regarding the causes of Alzheimer’s as they persistently conduct multiple studies.

One study concluded that gum diseases might increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers who conducted the study found that there is a link between the bacteria that cause gum disease and Alzheimer’s Disease.

Does Gum Disease Cause Alzheimer’s?

This discovery might also open up more treatment ways for progressive neurodegenerative disorder. Some doctors and researchers, on the other hand, are not too sure about this discovery.

Let’s try and decipher whether it is possible to link Alzheimer’s to gum disease.

How the Conclusion Came To Be

causes of gum disease and Alzheimer's
Researchers who support the notion that gum diseases can lead to Alzheimer’s studied the brain tissue of people who had died with Alzheimer’s.

Most of the researchers in this study were part of a private biotech firm that goes by the name Cortexyme.

Others were working in various Universities in America like the University of California and Harvard University School of Dental Medicine.

Some employees at the Jagiellonian University in Poland, the University of Melbourne and the University of Auckland were also part of the study.

Researches on gum disease and Alzheimer’s

The researchers published their study in the Science Advances Journal.

The experts claimed to have found Porphyromonas gingivalis in the tissues. This is a bacteria that triggers gingivitis (gum disease).

This is one of the primary pathogens that make people suffer from gum disease.

Additionally, they also observed that the spinal fluid from people living with Alzheimer’s contained the bacterium’s DNA.

To further support their results, the team also detected that the brain samples of many people with Alzheimer’s had the presence of toxic enzymes that the bacterium produces.

The brain samples that recorded higher amounts of gingipains also had high amounts of ubiquitin and tau proteins that, for a long time, have been linked to Alzheimer’s.

Some experiments involved mice

The tests did not stop with human beings. The professionals also worked on several experiments with mice.

The results suggested that there is a connection between Alzheimer’s and the bacterium that causes gum diseases.

Infections and Alzheimer’s Disease

The researchers in a bid to find more conclusive results infected the gums of healthy mice with P. gingivalis.

They later observed that this bacteria was present in the brains of the mice. Other than this, there was also damage to the neurons of the animals and higher levels of beta-amyloid (a protein) in the brain tissue of the mice.

Previous studies confirmed that when beta-amyloid proteins clump together, they form what is known as plaques in the brains of people who have Alzheimer’s disease.

After this move showing a positive connection between gum diseases and Alzheimer’s, the researchers were also able to get rid of the infection caused by P. gingivalis in the brains of the mice. This was through the use of a molecule that blocks and binds to the gingipains.

As a result of clearing the infection, there was also a reduction in neural damage and the production of beta-amyloid.

The researchers explain that this was possible because the bacteria feeds on enzymes to produce energy and gather nutrients.

Naturally, because their work had positive results on mice, the researchers were positive that this was a treatment option for people who are living with Alzheimer’s.

What Was The Research All About?

research on gum disease and Alzheimer's
As seen above, the study was a combination of laboratory experiments on the brains of mice and those of humans.

The researchers observed post-mortem brain tissue samples from about one hundred people with and without Alzheimer’s.

They wanted to know if the brains of the people with the illness had more gingipains.

Cerebrospinal fluid and saliva that surrounds the brain and spinal cord were also put under test to confirm if there was the presence of P. gingivalsis DNA.

The experts also worked with cultured cells grown in a lab. These were infected with P. gingivalis to observe the effect it had on proteins that are usually present in the brains of people who have the illness.

Regarding the experiments on mice, the experts sought to know if infecting mice with P. gingivalis would make bacterial show up in the brain of the mice.

The mice also got a substance that inhibits gingipains to see if it would effectively treat gingipain infection.

The experts also wanted to know how this treatment compares to other antibiotics that people with gingivitis use. The researchers in this study found that more than 90% of the brain tissue from individuals with Alzheimer’s had gingipains.

The concentration was higher in persons with Alzheimer’s. P. gingivalis DNA was also present in a majority of the cerebrospinal fluid samples and all saliva samples.

All the mice also showcased signs of brain infection after a month and two weeks. After this, the researchers state that the findings of their study provide evidence that gingipains and P. gingivalis play a significant role in the development of Alzheimer’s.

Previous Evidence

previous evidence
In the past, there have also been other studies that link gum diseases and Alzheimer’s.

One of them is a Taiwanese Study that uncovered the fact that people with a decade or longer history of CP (chronic periodontitis) were more likely than individuals without the condition to develop Alzheimer’s by a whopping70%.

Another study also indicated that person’s with moderate to mild Alzheimer’s with gum disease experience faster cognitive decline rates when you compare them to the other ill people without dental issues.

How Does the Bacteria Travel to the Brain

how does the bacteria travel to the brain
When looking at the possible link between gum diseases and Alzheimer’s, it is also important to touch on how the bacteria makes its way to the brain.

P. gingivalis is responsible for causing gum diseases like periodontitis. This is a bacteria that is quite common, seeing that one person in a group of five people under thirty usually has some level of the bacterium in their gums.

When this grows uncontrollably, it can trigger an immune response that can lead to inflammation increase. This is usually a key factor that is associated with Alzheimer’s. Experts reveal that it is very easy for P. gingivalis to travel to the brain from the mouth using the mouse model.

To show evidence of this, researches infected healthy mice with the bacterium and later found it in the brain. The experts concluded that bacterial from gum diseases might access the brain by spreading through cranial nerves via the jaw and head or through the infection of immune system cells.

Reasons some Doctors Refute the Results of the Study

reasons some doctors refute the results of the study
Even though some experts agree with the fact that there is a connection between gum diseases and Alzheimer’s, others claim that there is no way this is possible.

Dr. Rawan Tarawneh an assistant professor and cognitive neurologist is one of the professionals who does not believe that it is possible to link Alzheimer’s to gum diseases. He claims that the research has numerous limitations.

For one, he says that the research does not showcase strong evidence to support the cause and effect relationship between Alzheimer’s and P. gingivalis. He also points out that the researchers should take time to search for amyloid deposits in people’s brains and not just in mice.

A Ph.D. professor of neurology Rudolph Tanzi also supports this, saying that the study is still so small; thus, there is no need for overhyping the results.

He said that there was still a need for other researchers to take up the study in a bid to provide more conclusive results that the industry can use without any doubts.

Worth noting nonetheless is that the study is still very young and as time progresses and researchers can offer more evidence, some professionals may end up changing their stand on this topic.

Gum Disease and Alzheimer’s- The Way Forward

the way forward
Despite some professionals saying that there may be no link between gum diseases and Alzheimer’s, participants of the study are starting clinical trials that will test a drug that is similar to the one they used on mice.

The experiments may give scientists and other professionals better insight on the role that P. gingicalis plays in Alzheimer’s development.

The drug, however, still has a long way before the FDA approves it.

Closing Remarks

While a section of experts can prove that there is a link between gum diseases and Alzheimer’s, ultimately, it may not be right to state that a single infectious agent or toxin is responsible for causing Alzheimer’s disease in everyone who has the illness.

This is because numerous factors may be involved in the development of the disease that takes about 15-20 years to run its course.

These may include genetic predispositions like APOE4, gender, and age, amongst others.

Regarding dental hygiene, extensive research still needs to be done to determine its true relationship to Alzheimer’s. This said, it is vital to take care of your dental health every day. Brush your teeth, floss, and visit a dentist regularly.

This way, you may escape being at higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s because of neglecting dental hygiene.

If you happen to have any gum diseases, treat them right away.

Experts also link these to other health problems, including heart diseases, diabetes, and stroke.

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