10 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts & Figures 2021

alzheimers facts

We want to share with you some of Alzheimer’s disease facts and figures to truly understand how much impact this disease has.

There are only a few more diseases that cause more deaths than Alzheimer’s disease.

Thus it’s important to be familiar with its global effect, so you act AS SOON AS POSSIBLE and get appropriate treatment.

10 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts You Should Know

1. Approx. 6.2 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease

This is a startling statistic. It is even more amplified by the fact there are aging adults who are currently undiagnosed and not receiving treatment.

Worldwide, there are already around 50 million people with AD or other types of dementia. The number keeps on expanding by millions a year.

2. Alzheimer’s disease cannot be reversed.

alzheimer's disease facts
There isn’t a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. The progressive symptoms of the disease cannot be halted or prevented. Researchers are searching for answers and more viable treatment options.

Planning for palliative care and supportive environments must be an integral part of the conversation for patients and their families.

3. Dementia and Alzheimer are not the same.

dementia and alzheimer's disease are not the same
Many times, we hear these two terms interchanged as a synonymous disease. They are not the same, but rather dementia is a subset of Alzheimer’s disease.

Dementia is defined as a decline in mental cognition and ability. It is a blanket term for a set of symptoms associated with compromised brain function.

Whereas, Alzheimer’s disease is classically defined as when brain cells progressively die over time that results in memory loss, brain function, cognitive function, and behavior.

Alzheimer’s disease is almost always confirmed at the time of death after analyzing brain tissue.

The clinical findings that assist to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease are tangles or plaques, which act as evidence of damaged brain cells.

Additionally, the causes vary for patients suffering from forms of dementia.

4. There are Six Main Types of Dementia

5. Alzheimer’s disease does not have a cure.

alzheimer's disease facts -does not have a cure
Currently, there are approximately 132 agents in Alzheimer’s disease-related clinical trials across the globe.

Researchers are tapping into RNA-type clinical data that has been made available due to the increases in technology and molecular chemistry.

The objectives are to gain knowledge for the purpose of developing more effective treatment strategies and interventions.

6. Alzheimer’s disease ranked as the 6th leading cause of death in the United States.

alzheimer's disease is ranked as the 6th leading cause of death in the united states
Wellness efforts have helped decrease preventable diseases and conditions that stem from high blood pressure, obesity, exercise deficiency and poor nutrition.

However, systemic and genetically derived blood and health conditions rank high among those contributing to early morbidity.

Diseases and conditions that are associated with the brain are some of the most difficult to prevent and have zero cure.

Therefore, Alzheimer’s disease is among those that affect don’t have much of a preventable precursor aside from aging.

7. Causes and Risk Factors for Alzheimer’s disease

8. Women are more likely than men to be affected by Alzheimer’s disease.

women are more likely than men to be affected by alzheimers disease
Several leading experts are opening the conversation about why women are more likely than men to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

Researchers cite that women in their sixties are two times more likely to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease than breast cancer.

Some of the speculations point to genetics, longevity, and life experience. The questions are out there, and researchers are diving deep to answer them.

We need to stay tuned and see what is revealed in the future regarding possible links between female related risk factors for this disease and others.

9. Vulnerable Populations at Risk for Alzheimer’s disease: Latinos and African Americans.

alzheimer's dAlzheimer's disease facts- vulnerable populations at risk for alzheimers disease include latinos and african americans
It is estimated that by 2030, Latinos and African Americans will make up as much as 40% of the 8.4 billion people projected to suffer from Alzheimer’s.

10. Life Expectancy Varies by Individual Case.

alzheimer's disease facts- women are more likely to get Alzheimers Disease than men
The prognosis for patients with Alzheimer’s disease is assessed in the scope of three distinct stages; early stage, middle stage and late stage.

What we know about this disease, is that the presentations and hallmark symptoms are consistently represented in one of these stages.

The disease, unfortunately, is very progressive. While living with Alzheimer’s is possible for an undetermined number of years, the degenerative process isn’t reversible.

The goals for caregivers and families are centered around supportive care and safety protocols.

Early Stage Common Symptomology:

  • Difficulty naming common things
  • Forgetting things that were read or written moments before
  • Misplacing valuables and money

Middle Stage Common Symptomology:

  • Unstable Moods and Irritability
  • Slight Incontinence
  • Problems choosing weather appropriate clothing
  • Getting lost/wandering aimlessly
  • Forgetting the date, address, appointments, etc.

Late Stage Common Symptomology:

  • Trouble communicating
  • Requires 24-hour supervision
  • Vulnerable to illness and infection
  • Compromised physical abilities

Conclusion: What does the future hold for Alzheimer’s patients

As a degenerative disease, Alzheimer’s can spark a hefty amount of uncertainty and fear especially, as we begin to age.

It is hard to know what care and treatment options might be available for future generations.

Research efforts are aggressive, and many strides have been made in the way of early detection, drug therapies, and advanced knowledge.

Collectively, the medical community and information hubs like this one serve to present current updates on Alzheimer’s disease news and research.

Bonus: About Alzheimer’s disease facts

Alzheimer’s disease facts- history and hope.

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) was named based on the work of Alois Alzheimer. In the year of 1906, Dr. Alzheimer noticed usual brain lesions and clumps taken from a mentally ill woman.

Her condition, which was designated as rare, included symptoms including memory loss, language problems, and unpredictable behavior.

Following her death, an autopsy was conducted.

Dr. Alzheimer found many abnormal clumps (now called amyloid plaques) and tangled bundles of fibers (now called neurofibrillary, or tau, tangles).

These were the foundation elements that now represent the widely accepted scientific biomarkers for Alzheimer’s disease.

The brain is something that even researchers agree there is much they just don’t yet understand.

However, through decades of active clinical trials, patient-case anomalies, and advanced technology, the knowledge base is ever-expanding.

We should even be encouraged by this.

Every notable clinical finding serves to introduce new avenues for treatment and early diagnostic techniques.

More importantly, it gives way to enhanced potential for genetic interventions.

Depression And Alzheimer’s Disease (Common?)

depression and alzheimers disease

We reviewed and studied the possible connection between depression and Alzheimer’s disease with out team of experts.

Almost HALF of the population with Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) will experience depression symptoms at some point.

Depression is a condition that causes people to feel irritable, sad, or hopeless most of the time. This can occur during any stage of the disease and most of the time, it makes symptoms of AD more severe.

For instance, depression can make an ill person experience more confusion, anxiety, and forgetfulness.

Experts agree that depression plays a significant role in disease progression, disability, and caregiver burden.

Some people will showcase depressive signs during the early stage, while others will have these in the middle or later stages of Alzheimer’s.

In some cases, depression may COME AND GO while in others, it stays for long periods.

Below we look at more in-depth details of depression and Alzheimer’s, including possible causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options.

Causes of Depression in Persons with Alzheimer’s

causes of depression and Alzheimer's disease
It is not easy to pinpoint the exact cause of depression in a person who has AD.

However, there are a few factors that might lead to depression like:

  • After hearing the diagnosis, a person may fall into depression during the early stages of the illness.
  • Losing independence as the illness progresses can also be the cause of depression.
  • Side effects of certain medications can also result in depressive symptoms.
  • Social isolation and fatigue might also cause depression.
  • Feeling stressed or worried about issues like the future, relationships, and money.
  • Physical illness.
  • Having a genetic predisposition to depression.

Symptoms of Depression in People with Alzheimer’s Disease

symptoms of depression in people with alzheimers disease
Depression affects individuals in different degrees and ways. Medics usually talk of severe, moderate, and mild dementia.

Diagnosing depression in a person who has AD can be challenging.

This is because the symptoms of depression and Alzheimer’s tend to overlap.

Examples of common signs for both include:

  • Social withdrawal
  • Apathy
  • Loss of interest in hobbies and other activities a person previously enjoyed
  • Impaired thinking
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Feelings of low self-esteem
  • Pains and aches that seem to have no physical cause

Worth noting is that cognitive impairment that people with Alzheimer’s experience typically makes it CHALLENGING for them to articulate guilt, sadness, hopelessness, and other feelings that come with depression.

Other signs that are common with depression include:

  • Trouble sleeping
  • Loss of appetite and weight
  • Lack of energy
  • Not wanting to be around others
  • Crying all the time
  • Feeling worthless
  • Being irritable and agitated most of the time
  • Having thoughts of suicide or death repeatedly

Diagnosing Depression in Individuals with AD

diagnosing depression in individuals with AD
Experts have not yet come up with a single questionnaire or test that medics can use to diagnose depression in persons who have Alzheimer’s disease.

Medical professionals must conduct a thorough evaluation, particularly because there are medical conditions and side effects of medicines that can produce comparable symptoms.

It is essential to diagnose depression in persons with AD because it can respond positively to treatment.

Evaluation for depression usually includes:

1. Mental and physical examinations
2. Review of a person’s medical history
3. Interviews with relatives who know the individual well

It may be helpful to consult a geriatric psychiatrist to handle the evaluation because of the complexities that are involved in the entire process.

The professionals specialize in identifying and also treating depression in older adults.

Treatment Options

treatment options
When it comes to treating depression and Alzheimer’s, the timing of the condition will determine the most appropriate treatment option.

There are two main approaches for treating depression, and these are using medications, therapies, and non-drug approaches.

Use of Medications

use of medications
A doctor may prescribe antidepressants to treat severe or persistent depression in persons with AD.

These can include drugs like SSRIs (serotonin reuptake inhibitors) and others that can help to ease sadness and lift moods.

Some people with Alzheimer’s may also be put on mood-stabilizing medicine or specific antipsychotic drugs to help treat depression.

A person must be cautious when taking these medications because some may not be helpful for somebody with Alzheimer’s.

This is particularly in cases of mild depression.

Another reason is that chemicals in the brain that cause depression are usually different for persons with Alzheimer’s.

Additionally, the cause of distress for some people may be something that medicine can’t fix, such as social withdrawal.

Depression mediation might also cause problems like dizziness, falls, and confusion amongst other side effects. It is usually advisable to try other treatment options before taking the medicine route.

Because every person with AD is unique, they might need to try different drugs under a doctor’s instructions to identify the ones that will work and present fewer side effects.

At times, one person may need to consult several doctors before determining what works for them.

Therapies

therapies
A person with depression and Alzheimer’s can try different therapies to try and get rid of depression. This mostly works for individuals with moderate depression.

Examples of helpful therapies include:

Psychotherapy

This is where an individual works closely with a professional psychiatrist or psychologist to come up with an effective solution to the depression problem.

These are professionals who specialize in treating mental health.

Talking therapy

These are therapies that encourage suffering people to talk about how they feel.

Professionals base this on the model of how the human mind works. Psychotherapists, counselors, and other experts can conduct the sessions so that that participant can get the desired results.

Studies show that after several sessions of talking therapy, depression reduces in persons who have Alzheimer’s.

Various forms of talking therapies exist, including CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy), interpersonal therapy, and counseling as well.

Some medics may also recommend transcranial magnetic stimulation or electroconvulsive therapy as part of treatment. These are brain stimulation techniques that can help a person with AD.

A GP can also suggest other therapies that they feel will be helpful to the individual with AD.

These therapies typically need to be modified to suit a person’s level of memory, understanding, and communication.

It is usually best to work with therapists who have experience working with persons who have dementia.

Non-Drug Approach

non drug approach
There are several options that people with Alzheimer’s and depression can try if not on medication to treat depression such as:

1. Exercise

Getting physically active can also help reduce depression symptoms significantly. This also helps a person to stay fit which ultimately improves their health.

Make sure that the individual only takes part in ENJOYABLE physical activities depending on their ability so that working out does not stress them out.

If a person has more energy in the morning, program exercise activities at this time.

2. Counseling and support groups

Professional counseling and being part of helpful support groups can also help to take care of depression in people with AD.

This is usually helpful for mild depression that lifts by itself after some time.

3. Being around other people

It is important for people with Alzheimer’s and depression not to spend all their time alone because they will sink further into depression.

Participating in enjoyable group activities with loved ones or even other people in similar conditions can decrease depression symptoms.

4. Routines

A reassuring routine can reduce the negative effects of depression.

It helps to schedule predictable routines that take advantage of a person’s best time of the day to undertake activities they may find challenging like taking a bath.

5. Interaction

One-on-one interactions with other people may also help. This includes hand-holding, conversations, and gentle massage when appropriate.

6. Living environment modifications

Modifications to the affected person’s living environment are also advisable. This is where changes like reducing loud noises and bright lights can help create more comfortable and soothing living spaces.

Some people may not be comfortable in areas that have too many people.

7. Familiar places and activities

Coming up with a list of places, activities, and people that the ill individual enjoys and scheduling them more frequently can also help treat dementia.

8. Positive vibes

Caregivers and other people around the person with depression need to emit positive vibes at all times. Remember to celebrate small occasions and successes as this helps everyone to feel better; thus, fight depression.

Spark happiness in them.

Nurture the affected person with inspirational or soothing activities or their favorite foods.

Caregivers also need to reassure the person, letting them know that they appreciate, love, and respect them as a valuable member of the family or society.

Depressed persons also need to know that they will not be abandoned. Furthermore, people should also have realistic expectations when dealing with individuals with the illness.

Expecting too much can upset all parties.

Caregivers need to look after themselves, too

Caregivers of persons with depression and Alzheimer’s should also remember to take care of themselves.

Looking after persons with AD is usually not easy.

If caregivers do not indulge in self-care, they risk experiencing too many frustrations and other negative feelings to a point where they will not be in the right frame of mind to care for the individual.

Taking adequate breaks and seeking help when feeling overwhelmed are some of the steps caregivers can take so that they do not become worn out.

Depression and Alzheimer’s Closing Remarks

It is common for people with Alzheimer’s to experience depression often. This is not something to ignore and wish away.

Proper diagnosis needs to be carried out so that the treatment of depression and Alzheimer’s can start as soon as possible.

Early treatment often leads to a better quality of life for persons with AD, and it also makes life more enjoyable and easier for caregivers and other people around the person with Alzheimer’s.

Can Alzheimer’s Medication Make You Worse?

can alzheimer's medication make you worse

One of the questions that seniors ask us regularly is: Can Alzheimer’s medication make you worse?

Even though there is still no cure for the progressive illness, some dementia specialists may prescribe Alzheimer’s medication that may help to manage symptoms.

But can the condition get worse?

Let’s explore the effects of AD medication below and whether or not you should be taking it.

The Effect of Alzheimer’s Medication

the effect of alzheimer's medication
Different scenarios play out when a person with AD takes Alzheimer’s medicine. For some, the medication offers relief to some symptoms an individual is facing.

A percentage of individuals will not get any results after taking the medicine.

Some people can become worse after they start taking the medication.

This goes to show that it is not possible to say yes or no when answering the query can Alzheimer’s medication make you worse.

David Perlmutter a professional neurologist is of the point of view that medication should be a last resort when taking care of an individual with AD.

He states that most drugs prescribed to treat AD are associated with more aggressive cognitive function decline.

David urges physicians to change their care approach.

He reports that he has dealt with the progressive illness for years having lost his dad to the disease and has not yet identified any medication that helps.

Should you Take Alzheimer’s Medication

should you take alzheimer's medication
The decision on whether or not to take Alzheimer’s medicine is not a simple one. Several factors come into play.

Examples of things a person should consider before taking the medication include:

  • Understanding that the medication does not work for everyone and even if it works it may not make a significant difference.
  • Finding out what’s the medication for and the results to expect after taking the medicine.
  • Cost implications: AD medicine may be quite costly. A person can try taking them for some time to see if they are helpful and worth the investment.
  • Side Effects: most drugs that people with Alzheimer’s take have a variety of side effects that an individual may have to deal with. Make sure you discuss this with your doctor to get expert advice on whether or not to take the medication.
  • Drug Interaction: if the person with AD is taking other types of medication, it is important to discuss this with the physician to know whether it is okay to take additional medication.
  • How the medication will be taken: Affected persons and their caregivers should also consider how the medication should be taken to ensure they do it in the right way. Always take medication as directed by a professional physician to be on the safe side. Record any changes that happen after taking the meds and discuss this immediately with the doctor to know the next course of action.

Takeaway

When it comes to Alzheimer’s medication it is important to note that they do not work the same for everyone.

The medication will also not cure the illness or stop its progressions.

Experts also state that the effects of pharmaceutical drugs normally wear off over time.

It is one of the reasons it is not easy to answer the query can Alzheimer’s medication make you worse?

For some people, the medication will help while in others it can end up making things worse.

It is, therefore, ideal to take Alzheimer’s medication for as long as they prove useful.

In cases where medication does not work, affected persons, physicians, and caregivers should explore other ways of managing symptoms and improving quality of life.

Research is, however, ONGOING to identify or develop more effective drugs that can help people with Alzheimer’s disease.

Bonus: 2 Types of Alzheimer’s Medication

2 types of alzheimers medication
Mayo Clinic reports that there are two types of pharmaceutical drugs approved by the FDA that might help manage the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease (AD).

1. Cholinesterase inhibitors

These help boost the amount of acetylcholine in the nerve cells by preventing its breakdown in the brain.

One of the hallmarks of an Alzheimer’s brain is decreasing levels of acetylcholine a chemical messenger that is important for memory, alertness, judgment, and thought.

Because cholinesterase inhibitors cannot stop the destruction of nerve cells or reverse AD, their effect ends up dwindling as the illness continues to progress and brain cells are forced to produce less acetylcholine.

Common side effects include diarrhea, vomiting, and nausea. It normally helps to start with a low dose and gradually move to a higher/recommended dose.

Examples of cholinesterase inhibitors include:

1. Galantamine: It is primarily i use to treat mild or moderate Alzheimer’s. Affected individuals can either take a pill once every day or an extended-release capsule two times a day.

2. Rivastigmine: Approved for mild to moderate AD and it comes as a pill. A skin patch is also available for persons who have severe Alzheimer’s.

3. Donepezil: Taken as a single pill daily, this is used to treat all Alzheimer’s stages.

2. Memantine

Can Alzheimer’s medication make you worse? Memantine
This is mostly in use to treat moderate to severe Alzheimer’s.

It helps to regulate glutamate activity a messenger chemical that is involved in multiple brain functions including memory and learning.

It is available as a syrup or pill. Common side effects include agitation, confusion, dizziness, and headache.

As Alzheimer’s disease continues to progress your symptoms may change which leads to adjustments in care plans.

Your doctor will conduct an ongoing review to decide whether or not to include AD medication in the care plan.

Note that there is also different medication that doctors prescribe to help deal with emotional and behavioral symptoms that persons with AD may have.

These include agitation, lack of sleep, appetite issues, confusion, paranoia, and many others.

The medicines can include antipsychotics, anti-depressants, sleep aids, and anti-anxiety medication, etc.

Aluminum and Alzheimer’s Disease (Cause?)

aluminum and alzheimer's disease

we continue to explore the link between aluminum and Alzheimer’s when examining the causes and risk factors of the progressive disease.

Note: Aluminum (Al) is one of the elements that are in abundance in the world.

It occurs naturally in water and food.

The element is also widely in use by multiple industries as well as products that people use daily. These include cosmetics, cookware, cans, and medication, etc.

Some studies suggest that this chemical element associates with Alzheimer’s disease (AD). There are two main reasons this may be the case:

1. A considerable percentage of people with AD have been found to have HIGHER LEVELS of aluminum in the cerebrospinal fluid, serum, and brain.

2. Al bioaccumulates in cells, which results in bringing changes that are associated with loss of atrophy and function consistent with MRI findings in Alzheimer’s patient’s brains.

These factors led researchers to believe that elevated Al levels may either play a role in the development of the progressive disease or have a hand with its progression.

The idea was introduced in 1965 when researchers conducted a study with rabbits.

They found that the animals developed poisonous tau tangles in the brain after they were injected with high levels of aluminum.

This is another observation that led experts to believe that the chemical element plays a role in the development or worsening of Alzheimer’s disease.

The results of the injections were only positive after exposure to EXTREMELY high levels of the element. Note that this far exceeds the standards present in food or aluminum cookware that get into the human body.

How people consume aluminum?

Ever since the study, researchers have been trying to figure out if it is true that aluminum is one of the elements that causes Alzheimer’s.

Currently, only a couple of studies show a link between the illness and aluminum.

The others, which are a majority, conclude that there is nothing to worry about when it comes to Al and Alzheimer’s.

A couple of scenarios play out when looking for evidence on the same. There are different ways people consume aluminum.

Drinking Water

drinking water
Different meta-analyses studied the association between aluminum levels in the water people drink and the risk of dementia.

The results were inconclusive. One particular study involved around four thousand seniors in France.

It concluded that taking water with excess aluminum by just 0.1 mg a day increased the risk of Alzheimer’s three times.

The studies also reveal that other elements present in drinking water, such as iron, copper, zinc, or fluoride, might also affect cognitive function.

Drinking Tea

drinking tea
Surprisingly, tea is one of the few plants whose leaves have a huge trace of aluminum. This element typically seeps into the brewed beverage.

Even so, there is still no evidence that Alzheimer’s is more prevalent in cultures that drink a lot of tea.

Medication

medication
Some medications, specifically antacids and anti-ulcerative, usually have high aluminum levels.

A majority of antacids have about 35-208 mg per dose and it is higher for anti-ulcerative at 35-1450 mg per dose.

This is because aluminum hydroxide reduces acidity in the stomach.

Luckily, there are some aluminum-free options available, like Tums and Rolaids. Multiple studies, however, report that taking antacids regularly has nothing to do with Alzheimer’s disease.

More investigations are needed to give a true reflection of the relationship between the risk of Alzheimer’s and the use of antacids.

Use of Aluminum Pots and Pans

use of aluminum pots and pans
Many people fear that when they use aluminum cookware, beverage cans, foil, and other products, they will be exposed to harmful levels of the element.

The use of aluminum pans and pots contributes to a tiny percentage of the average intake of aluminum in human beings.

Realistically, it is also difficult to reduce exposure to aluminum significantly by avoiding aluminum kitchen products.

Use of Antiperspirants

use of antiperspirants
Another subject that needs to be studied more when it comes to the correlation between aluminum and Alzheimer’s is antiperspirant usage.

These contain aluminum salts that dissolve into the surface of the skin to form a barrier with the sweat ducts temporarily.

This stops sweat from flowing to the skin’s surface.

To date, there is still no study that pinpoints Alzheimer’s risk to the use of antiperspirants that have aluminum.

However, some show a link between breast cancer and the use of antiperspirants.

Multiple studies report that the body does not easily absorb aluminum salts in antiperspirant products. If some of the element gets in, the kidneys readily flush this out.

Conflicting Findings

conflicting findings
When talking about aluminum and Alzheimer’s, years of research has brought forth a lot of conflicting information.

Some of the findings support the notion that excessive aluminum can be a risk factor for Alzheimer’s, while others dispute this heavily.

Examples of some of the conclusions published include:

1. A few studies suggest that people who have Alzheimer’s disease have increased levels of aluminum in the brain. Other studies state this is not the case.

2. Some studies have found that there is a higher risk of people with occupational exposure to get dementia.

Understanding the Role of Aluminum in Alzheimer’s disease

understanding the role of aluminum in alzheimer's disease
Several environmental factors like diabetes, aging, drinking alcohol, smoking, trauma, and ischemia, etc. pose as risks of Alzheimer’s disease.

Al, on the other hand, may not play a significant role when it comes to cognitive decline and AD.

Nevertheless, the element might contribute to faster cognitive decline, especially in the older population, whether a person has Alzheimer’s or not.

More studies, however, need to be conducted to support this hypothesis.

Experts also acknowledge that it is challenging to study the effects of Al because the element is practically everywhere. A little dust may end up contaminating a sample compromising the results of a study.

The fact that aluminum is a pervasive element on earth implies it is hard to pinpoint the duration, dosage, and frequency of individual-level exposure.

Consequently, establishing, and cause and effect linkage between aluminum and Alzheimer’s is COMPLEX.

Why Aluminum May Be an Alzheimer’s disease Risk Factor

why aluminum may be an alzheimer's disease risk factor
As much as most studies show that AL has little to do with Alzheimer’s, some studies state otherwise.

An example of such is one led by Dr. Walter Lukiw a neuroscientist and professor of Ophthalmology, Neurology, and Neuroscience.

Together with other researchers, Dr. Lukiw’s team summarized several factors that link AD to aluminum, such as:

1. Al promotes beta-amyloid plaques in the brain at the same levels as those that are present in humans.

2. Aluminum enhances the brain inflammation by increasing nuclear factor kappa beta, a pro-inflammatory molecule. The molecule is usually present in the brains of persons who have Alzheimer’s disease.

3. The element increases brain gene messenger RNA molecules similar to those that become multiplied with AD.

4. Out of the many AD drug treatments tested to date, the use of aluminum chelator is so far one of the most effective therapeutic solutions yet.

5. Adding aluminum to the diets of animals who have Alzheimer’s causes more brain changes that are associated with the progressive disease. These include deficits in gene expression, cell death, and oxidative stress.

6. Some studies show that people who drink water with too much Al are at a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s.

7. Aluminum tends to be the cause of similar cellular energy deficits that are related to AD. These include impaired signaling involving the use of energy and ATP.

A few factors bar further research into these findings

For starters, researchers claim that it is difficult to find funding when they want to pursue angles that deal with aluminum and Alzheimer’s.

This is because most people believe that this is just a myth that does not deserve too much research.

Additionally, experts also have a problem getting the research done “properly.” A researcher cannot test whether Al causes Alzheimer’s disease in humans directly.

This is because there is no ethical manner of giving humans huge doses of the element.

It means that scientists are left to rely on scientific investigative methods to determine the role of aluminum in the development or progression of AD.

One of the alternatives to this is animal studies:

1. The studies that counter this evidence usually support their claims by stating three important points.

Sufficient amounts of Bioavailable Al cannot enter the brain and cause damage.

2. Accumulation of aluminum in neurons is considered a consequence instead of a cause of neural loss, which is typical of AD.

3. Healthy kidneys efficiently excrete excess aluminum from the body.

Aluminum and Alzheimer’s Closing Thoughts

As seen above, there is still no persuasive or reliable evidence associating aluminum and Alzheimer’s.

Although some studies associate Alzheimer’s risk with aluminum, many state that there is no association between the two.

This may be because the study that triggered this entire debate was typically focused on a single animal (rabbit) that may be susceptible to aluminum poisoning.

Perhaps, if other types of animals are studied, the results will give us clearer answers.

It is, nonetheless, important to limit exposure to the element to be on the safe side based on the inconclusive findings on this topic.

Mixed Dementia – What Is It, Symptoms & Treatment

mixed dementia

We studied and conducted a complete overview of self-explanatory mixed dementia.

People who have dementia may experience changes that represent TWO OR MORE types of dementia occurring simultaneously in the brain.

This disorder is quite complex.

There are several combinations possible which can be a mixture of one, two or even more of the types of dementia below:

The most common cases are usually a combination between blood vessel abnormalities commonly linked with vascular dementia and protein deposits usually seen in Alzheimer’s disease.

It is believed that about 10% of people with dementia also have the illness.

Scientists, however, reveal that this number could be HIGHER.

The illness may occur in different stages. These are important when it comes to guiding caregivers and physicians on how to best take care of people with this kind of dementia.

Below are seven common stages of mixed dementia.

7 Stages Of Mixed Dementia

1. No impairment

mixed dementia stages
This is where an individual can go about their business and life independently.

During this stage, there are no outward clear signs of the illness. At this stage, it is more or less if someone else suggests testing ourselves for (mixed) dementia or we read it in an article – like this one.

Since dementia starts developing years and years in advance, anyone at the age of around fifty should test themselves.

Sometimes even earlier.

2. Very Mild

very mild
The signs and symptoms at this stage also hardly manifest. Generally, there may appear normal forgetfulness signs that are associated with aging.

For instance, a person may struggle to remember the name of a loved one, but finally, figure it out after some time.

If these events start to repeat, become almost annoying, the individual should visit the doctor.

3. Mild

mild
During this point, the symptoms remain barely noticeable. A person may go on their daily lives without too much interruption.

Some people may, however, showcase symptoms such as repetition, slight memory loss, loss of concentration and difficulties managing finances such as balancing checkbooks.

Again if the person is doing the same mistakes again and again or forgetting the name of the same person, seeing the doctor is almost crucial.

4. Moderate

mixed dementia
It becomes clear at this stage that many people cannot complete routine tasks without some form of assistance.

This can be SIMPLE THINGS such as preparing meals, using the phone, changing television programs and completing laundry.

Some people also start to withdraw socially, experience incontinence and have trouble finding the right phrases or words.

5. Moderately Severe

moderately severe
During these final stages, people with this kind of dementia need help to go about their day to day lives.

Some symptoms may include an increase in memory loss, confusion regarding events, and current location.

Also, the need for a helping hand when picking appropriate clothing and tying shoelaces.

6. Severe

severe
The disease becomes worse at this stage and individuals can no longer perform duties on their own.

They may need a helping hand with a majority of their day-to-day activities including when dressing, going to the toilet, eating, walking, and sleeping.

At this time, a caregiver is almost a necessity.

7. Very Severe

very severe
The final stage is associated with signs like LOSS of muscle control, hard times with language ability, no control over urination, and losing awareness of the surroundings.

With this type of dementia, hence the name, several different symptoms and signs may occur from several other different dementias.

Mixed Dementia Symptoms

symptoms
Worth noting is that a diagnosis of mixed dementia is quite difficult.

Most people with the illness do not know that they have it because the many brain changes it involves are hard to detect.

Instead, persons are usually diagnosed with the kind of dementia that best suits the symptoms they have.

Many are the times when the disease is only seen during an autopsy rather than during life.

Depending on the dementia combination that a person has, the symptoms may vary widely.

Primarily, the symptoms are similar to those of a specific type of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

Some people’s symptoms may be a clear indication of the existence of multiple kinds of dementia. These may include:

Learning Difficulties

learning difficulties
Trouble remembering newly acquired information is one of the earliest signs that people with dementia have.

You can teach a person something new today and if asked about it tomorrow, they may not know what you are talking about.

The reason for this is that dementia characteristically affects the section of the brain that is responsible for learning.

As a person grows older and the disease becomes worse, they may report more severe symptoms.

These can include disorientation, changes in behavior/mood, worsening confusion of places, time, and event, and becoming suspicious of friends, family members, or the caregivers who spend quality time with the individual with this type of dementia.

Loss of Memory

loss of memory
Everyone with dementia at one point experiences difficulties with memory. It usually starts off light something that does not bother many.

Trouble sets in when the loss of memory begins to interfere with a person’s ability to perform their normal daily tasks.

Signs of this may include the increasing need to rely on aids such as reminder notes or electronic devices to remember stuff.

Some people will even forget the most important dates of their lives like their birthdays, children’s/ partner’s birthdates, doctor’s appointments, and so on.

Many people with dementia also get into the habit of asking for the same details repeatedly.

Additionally, they may also lose things frequently and leave valuable items in unusual places.

Poor Judgement

poor judgement
People with mixed dementia may have a difficult time making the right call whenever necessary.

For instance, you may find that an individual does not have control over their money.

They may become over generous giving up huge chunks of money to telemarketers and other organizations.

Such people are usually vulnerable and they need a trustworthy person to guide them since they can easily fall into the hands of conmen.

As the disease, progresses, people with the illness may start to pay less attention to their bodies ignoring basic hygiene practices like brushing teeth, taking a shower, and putting on clean clothes, etc. Grooming becomes the last thing on their minds.

Mixed Dementia Treatment

treatment
To date, treatment for mixed dementia remains a challenge for medical practitioners.

However, there is a ray of hope for people with the illness because scientific studies show that it responds well to treatment options like:

Practicing Life-Long Heart-Healthy Lifestyle

practicing- ife-long heart healthy lifestyle
Although this is not a treatment option per say, leading a healthy lifestyle can help delay or prevent the advancement of symptoms as the person with dementia grows older.

When talking about a healthy lifestyle, it means eating right.

This is where you get at least 3 or 4 healthy balanced meals. Avoid processed foods and too much sugar.

People with this type of dementia should also drink loads of plain water, stop smoking, cease drinking alcohol, and take part in exercise even when it is not too strenuous to get the heart beating as it should.

It also involves honoring doctor’s appointments so that a professional can check you out and give any advice necessary.

Different Types of Therapy

different types of therapy
Some people with mixed dementia can benefit from various therapies.

These may include:

This is where the people with the illness take part in specific activities that help to stimulate thinking skills and how they interact with other people.

Most of the time these are usually group-based.

Facilitators often include games and music to make it more enjoyable.

Therapy can also assist with any movement issues to improve the overall quality and function of life.

It is best to have these done by a certified professional to avoid making things worse.

This is because it is not an easy task and caregivers need to be trained well on what to expect.

Drugs

drugs
Worth noting is that there is no medicine yet, for a person with a combination of two or more kinds of dementia.

Doctors may, however, prescribe various medicines in a bid to treat other underlying conditions that can cause damage to an individual’s blood vessels.

These include diseases like heart problems, stroke, diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure.

Controlling these risk factors is vital because it may protect the brain from harmful vascular changes.

Some drugs can also help with a variety of symptoms.

This is where a person takes medicine to relieve symptoms such as aggression, agitation, and anxiety.

Before giving the go-ahead to take any medicine, the doctor has to assess the person’s environment and health.

Palliative Care

palliative care
Many people with mixed dementia end up in palliative care especially during the final stages of the disease.

This is the type of care that is accorded to people who have serious illnesses.

This can be done at home or in a health institution. It is quite different from the care that people receive when they are in the process of curing an illness.

The primary goal of this type of care is to enhance a person’s life quality focusing on the whole being i.e. mind, body, and soul.

Caregivers usually help persons under their care to become more independent while managing their daily lives.

They can also offer counseling and support when an individual needs these to help them feel better.

Final Thoughts


Thanks to advancements in the medical field, there are chances that as research continues to grow, mixed dementia will progressively be diagnosed and treated during life.

Experts are also coming up with new clinical trials for individuals to try and introduce new methods that will most likely manage, prevent, treat, or detect this type of dementia.

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.

Late Onset Alzheimer’s Disease

late onset alzheimer's disease

It is known that late onset Alzheimer’s disease is the most common one in older adults.

But first, let’s take a look at the bigger picture, causes, factors, symptoms and treatments of Alzheimer’s disease.

Different people develop Alzheimer’s disease (AD) at different stages in their lives. For some, a positive diagnosis happens before they turn 65 years, which is mostly in their 40s or 50s.

This is known as early-onset Alzheimer’s.

Others, on the other hand, will get the disease when they are 65 years or older. This is known as late onset Alzheimer’s, and it is the most common form of the illness responsible for about 90% of Alzheimer’s cases.

The irreversible disease is a leading cause of death in seniors behind heart disease and cancer.

Let’s explore this illness in detail below.

Causes of Late Onset Alzheimer’s disease

causes of late onset alzheimers disease
To date, scientists and other parties involved have not been able to pinpoint the exact cause of this illness.

The question of why some individuals get it and others do not remain a mystery.

Researchers have not yet identified a particular gene that is behind the development of Alzheimer’s.

While some say that Alzheimer’s is hereditary, the fact cannot be substantiated because it may or may not run in the family.

There are instances where both parents may get the illness and their child does not end up getting it.

What factors are behind the development of the disease?

the stages of late onset Alzheimer’s
Experts agree that Alzheimer’s is likely not the result of a single cause, but a combination of environmental, genetic, and lifestyle factors.

For instance, a mutation of the ApoE gene is believed to increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s after hitting 65 years.

Conversely, it is not the cause of the illness. The National Institutes of Health states that ApoE is responsible for how cholesterol moves in the blood.

Some studies suggest that individuals who have high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure are at a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s.

Recent research also suggests that viral and bacterial infections play a significant role in the development of the illness.

Because of ongoing research, scientists are positive that soon they will be able to come up with a detailed explanation of the multiple Alzheimer’s causes so that people can have a better understanding of this disease.

Symptoms of Late Onset Alzheimer’s disease

symptoms of late onset alzheimers disease
AD affects people in different ways.

The most common symptom pattern, however, usually starts with continuing challenges in remembering new information.

This happens because the neurological disorder affects the hippocampus, which is the part of the brain that is responsible for memory and learning.

Other warning signs

Other warning signs of this disease include:

Symptoms of Alzheimer’s (late onset) typically begin to show when a person is in their mid-60s.

Because Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease, the symptoms become worse as the neurological deterioration progresses.

During the later stages of the disease, the affected person may have to get into 24/7 care because they are not able to live independently.

Alzheimer’s disease Diagnosis

alzheimers disease diagnosis
Experts are continually working on techniques to identify the earliest stages of Alzheimer’s in a bid to offer early intervention effectively.

This, in turn, helps to delay significant impairments.

For the longest time, a thorough post-mortem microscopic brain examination was the definitive way to diagnose Alzheimer’s.

This was not helping too much because the diagnosis needs to be made when a person is alive.

What’s necessary for AD diagnosis

Nowadays, experts can diagnose AD with over 95% accuracy in living humans.

A combination of tools come into play including:

  • A person’s medical history plus that of their families
  • Neuropsychologic tests to assess cognitive function
  • Multiple laboratory tests: medics usually conduct this to identify secondary causes of the illness such as medical conditions that are common with golden-agers. These might include blood count, glucose levels, serum electrolytes, Vitamin B12 Hepatic function panels, creatinine ration, and so forth.
  • Neuroimaging: this helps to table appropriate details on brain structures to help exclude treatable conditions

The list above is not exhaustive but covers the most essential AD diagnosis tools.

Because people experience the illness differently, a doctor may prescribe more tests to conduct the diagnosis comprehensively.

In regards to diagnosis for late onset Alzheimer’s, it is important to note that misdiagnosis is bound to happen in some cases.

This is because the illness shares symptoms with other medical disorders. It is the reason it is crucial to get a proper diagnosis to manage the disease better.

Treatment for Late Onset Alzheimer’s disease

treatment for late onset alzheimers disease
Despite ongoing research and studies, experts have not come up with a cure for AD. This does not mean that a positive diagnosis implies suffering and immediate death.

People who have this illness can live up to 8 years or more after the development of the disease. A couple of factors can affect longevity such as:

1. Gender

Many studies suggest that women live longer than men after Alzheimer’s diagnosis.

2. Brain abnormalities

Persons who have a combination of Alzheimer’s, brain, and spinal cord issues tend to die faster than those who do not have all these medical conditions.

The same applies to other health problems where individuals with diabetes or heart attacks have shorter lifespans than people who do not have other complicating health factors.

3. The severity of symptoms

Persons who have severe motor impairment like tendencies to get lost or wander and falls tend to have shorter life experiences.

Several coping mechanisms are put in place to help individuals with the disease live fuller, more independent, and satisfying lives for the longest possible time like:

Use of Medication

use of medication
Certain medicines are available to help reduce symptoms of Alzheimer’s temporarily such as:

AChE inhibitors

Acetylcholinesterase are drugs that help to increase acetylcholine levels in the brain. This is a substance that helps to improve communication between nerve cells.

Only specialists like neurologists or psychiatrists can prescribe the drugs.

A general GP can also do it but it has to be under the direction of the specialists.

Most recent guidelines recommend that the people who should take the medicines are the ones in the middle or severe stages of the illness.

Persons on these medications need to be aware of some side effects they may experience.

The most common ones include loss of appetite, nausea, and vomiting. For most people, side effects get better after some time of taking the medication.

Memantine

This is a drug that has been designed to block the effects of excess glutamate a chemical in the brain. Persons can use this for moderate and severe Alzheimer’s.

It comes in handy for individuals who cannot tolerate AChE inhibitors.

Additionally, people who are on AChE inhibitors can also take the drugs. The known side effects of these medications include temporary constipation, headaches, and dizziness.

To get more fine points about the side effects, consult a professional or doctor for an individual consultancy.

Physicians might also prescribe other medicines like antidepressants that can help deal with behavioral changes.

Therapies

therapies
Treatment can also involve different types of therapies that are beneficial when caring for a person with Alzheimer’s. These can include:

Cognitive rehabilitation

This is where the ill person works closely with an occupational therapist or any other professional to achieve a personal goal.

This can be anything from learning how to use a phone, computer, or completing a daily task.

This rehabilitation aims at getting the parts of the brain that are working to assist the ones that are not functioning as they should.

Reminiscence

This involves talking about events and things from a person’s past.

The use of props such as music, photos, and other possessions, can make this exercise more productive.

You can combine this with life story works that involve a collection of notes, photographs, and keepsakes from the suffering individual’s childhood through old age.

Studies show that these are effective when coping with late onset Alzheimer’s because it helps to enhance good mood and wellbeing.

Preventing Late Onset Alzheimer’s

preventing late onset alzheimers
Similar to the cure situation of Alzheimer’s, there is still no sure way of preventing the development of the disease.

Experts continue to conduct multiple studies on preventive measures, but the results are usually inconsistent.

However, several lifestyle factors might help to reduce the risk of the illness, such as:

Diet

Studies suggest that earing right might help keep the disease away.

You should purpose to always indulge in a balanced diet that mainly constitutes fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, and whole grains.

Physical Movement

Evidence puts forward the benefits of exercise for the brain, which may help reduce the risk of suffering from progressive disease.

Intellectual activities

Research suggests that exercising the brain through activities like writing, reading, playing games, and doing puzzles help stimulate the brain health.

Anyone who has Alzheimer’s must consult a healthcare professional first before making any key lifestyle change to be on the safe side.

Closing Remarks

More elderly people are getting a positive diagnosis of late onset Alzheimer’s disease. Management of the illness is quite complex because there is no cure.

There is a need for a comprehensive care approach that not only focuses on the person with the disease but caregivers as well.

Early diagnosis is beneficial because affected individuals can then work closely with their relatives and doctors to lead fuller and more gratifying lives.

Sadly, it may reach a point where persons with Alzheimer’s may need to move to care facilities or have professional caregivers at their beck and call at home.

7 Stages of Alzheimer’s Disease

stages of alzheimer's disease

People with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) experience the illness differently but research shows that affected individuals tend to go through similar stages of Alzheimer’s from the beginning to the end.

The categorization of the illness is useful when it comes to understanding what to expect to plan for appropriate care and treatment through each stage.

What Are the 7 Stages of Alzheimer’s Disease?

Some professionals use a simple 3-phrase model (early, moderate, and end) while others will use a more comprehensive breakdown that explains the progression of the disease.

The most common system breaks down the progression of Alzheimer’s into 7 stages.

It was developed by Dr, Barry Reisberg from New York University.

Below we will incorporate both systems discussing the three main stages of the disease and its seven sub-stages.

Pre-diagnosis

pre-diagnosis for alzheimer's disease
Also known as preclinical Alzheimer’s, these are the stages of Alzheimer’s that a person goes through before there is an “official” diagnosis of the progressive illness.

Note that changes in the brain usually start years before an individual can showcase any warning signs of the illness.

In the beginning, most people will not have a clue that they have the disease because the symptoms they may experience are usually associated with growing older.

People will continue to function independently at this stage.

There is currently no treatment for the pre-clinical stage of Alzheimer’s.

Experts are, however, hoping that in the future, there will be a medication that can halt the progression before people start showcasing symptoms to prevent the illness.

Let’s take a closer look at what affected persons may experience during the three pre-diagnosis stages.

Stage1: No Cognitive Decline

In the early stage of the progressive illness, most people will not showcase any subjective or objective cognition symptoms or functional decline.

They are also free from any mood or behavioral changes and have what is considered to be normal outward behavior.

Individuals at this stage can be referred to as mentally healthy persons. Alzheimer’s disease at this stage cannot be detected.

Stage 2: Basic Cognitive Decline

The 2nd Alzheimer’s stage is primarily characteristic of forgetfulness that occurs with normal aging.

A majority of people who are over 65 years will experience typical forgetfulness.

Alzheimer’s usually affects people who are above the age of 65. Elderly persons may no longer recall names as they would when they were younger.

Some may forget where they had placed their purse, keys, glasses, or other things around the house.

Many people in this stage will perform well on memory tests be able to go on working, drive, and be social.

The symptoms are normally not noticed by the individual, their family, or physicians.

Stage 3: Mild Cognitive Decline

Certain symptoms are common in the 3rd stages of Alzheimer’s.

For instance, a person with mild cognitive decline may find it hard to concentrate or focus on something.

Most people will also experience increased forgetfulness. If an individual is working, their performance at the workplace may be compromised.

People who stay at home may experience decreased performance in household chores like cleaning or even staying updated with paying bills.

Learning a new skill at this point becomes difficult. People may get lost in familiar places and they can find it challenging to find the correct words to speak when having a conversation.

Someone with stage 3 Alzheimer’s may frequently lose their possessions including prized items.

In this stage, a person’s family may begin to notice the changes that are happening in their loved one’s life.

The affected person may not do too well on memory tests and doctors can detect impaired cognitive function.

This stage can last up to seven years and the symptoms may start to be clearer in 2-4 years.

A person may need professional counseling at this stage especially if they have been conducting complex job responsibilities.

Most people will experience mild to moderate denial and anxiety during the 3rd stage of AD.

It is best to consult a physician during this point so that they can come up with care planning and treatment options that will keep the symptoms at bay.

Early-Stage Alzheimer’s

stages of Alzheimer’s early-stage alzheimer's
Also known as early-onset AD, this is one of the stages of Alzheimer’s where physicians can diagnose the disease.

The professionals use a combination of medical and neurological exams as well as imaging tests to help in the diagnosis process.

A team of different doctors like neurologists, geriatricians, psychiatrists, and psychologists among others can work together to help diagnose AD.

Stage 4: Moderate Cognitive Decline

Individuals at this stage will start to have more challenges with daily tasks. Denial of symptoms is usually more evident in this stage.

Some people will also have socialization issues where they withdraw from their relatives and friends.

This is mostly because they begin to be aware of the changes happening.

Other warning signs prominent in this stage include:

  • Having poor short-term memory
  • Decreasing awareness of recent or current events
  • Having challenges with simple arithmetic
  • Forgetting details about life history
  • Having difficulties paying bills and managing finances
  • Decreased emotional response
  • Having challenges cooking or even ordering from a menu
  • Forgetting about the season or month
  • Vision loss can also happen in some individuals. It can be as simple as having a hard time reading
  • Personality and mood changes may also occur some of the most noticeable ones being depression, confusion, fearfulness, and anxiety
  • Some individuals may also become increasingly irritated when something out of the norm happens.

This stage lasts about 2 years.

Individuals at this stage may need assistance from caregivers. Carers can lend a hand with day-to-day chores and making sure affected persons are well-fed and safe.

This includes looking out for them to ensure no one takes advantage of them financially because many affected individuals can become victims of financial scams.

Some affected adults may not be fit to drive and caregivers should ensure they do not get behind the wheel and endanger their lives and those of others.

Middle-Stage Alzheimer’s

middle-stage alzheimer's
Middle stage (mid-stage) AD consists of the fifth and sixth stages of Alzheimer’s that we will discuss below.

Stage 5: Moderate/Severe Cognitive Decline

In the 5th stage, most people with AD will have significant memory impairment.

Memory loss can either be moderate or severe.

It is usual for some people to forget major bits of details that affect their day-to-day lives such as phone numbers or home addresses.

Many people are unable to tell what time it is or where they are. It is one of the reasons many people in the 5th stage will get lost even after visiting a place they were once familiar with.

Affected individuals might require help with daily living activities like preparing meals, eating, bathing, and grooming.

Most people at this point will also have a hard time dressing.

It is common for a person to pick the wrong clothing for the season. For instance, an individual can insist on wearing summer clothes during winter.

Some individuals will start to wear the same outfit day in day out unless someone reminds them to change.

Caregivers can help out with dressing by laying out clothes for the day on a person’s bed. Depending on the level of independence, carers may have to dress up the person so that the individual with Alzheimer’s is always in proper attire.

A decline in personal hygiene habits may become more noticeable. For instance, a person may not brush their teeth or practice bathroom hygiene.

This stage can last an average of one and a half years.

Stage 6: Severe Cognitive Decline

The 6th stage of AD marks the point of the illness where many affected people will require more help with their daily tasks.

Taking a bath becomes challenging where persons cannot adjust the temperature of bathwater or handle other aspects of bathing.

Persons in this stage normally have limited memory of past and recent events.

Most will not remember the name of the school they went to or life events like their first job and the place where they were born.

Some retain details about their names but they may begin to confuse the names of people they are close to.

For example, a person may call their spouse the name of a deceased parent or use a different name to address someone they know. Most people in stage six might also start to experience incontinence of the bladder or bowel.

Speech ability may also start to diminish.

At this stage, personality changes become more pronounced. Individuals may experience different AD symptoms such as:

The ability to calculate becomes challenging where even a well-educated person may not be able to count backward from 10 to 0.

Some people may start to wander at night and sleep more during the day.

The stage can last for around two and a half years.

Caregivers at this stage can offer help with personal care from hygiene to daily tasks.

Late-Stage Alzheimer’s

late-stage alzheimer's
After going through the middle stages of Alzheimer’s persons with the disease will go through the final and last stage of the illness.

This is the 7th stage which is also known as late-stage AD. Read on to find out what affected persons can expect from this stage.

Stage7: Severest Cognitive Decline

At this stage, most people with AD lose their ability to communicate. Research shows that for most individuals, speech is limited to 6 words or fewer.

After sometime speech will decline to a single recognizable word before it is lost.

For survival, they usually require help with most daily activities including bathing, toileting, eating, and other activities around the clock.

Stage 7 is also associated with loss of psychomotor capabilities implying individuals at this stage may require help with ambulation and some might not be able to walk at all.

Affected individuals normally lose their ability to smile and instead they only have grimacing facial movements.

After a while, individuals may also lose their ability to hold their heads without support and others are not able to swallow.

Body movements tend to become more rigid which can cause severe pain to the affected persons.

Healthline reports that at least 40% of persons with AD form contractures, or hardening and shortening of tendons, muscles, and other tissues.

It is also common for adults to develop infantile reflexes such as sucking.

As cognitive and memory skills continue to become worse, individuals may require extensive care.

At some point, caregivers may have to consider support services like hospice care that will offer dignity and comfort at the end of life.

Although engagement is minimal during the end stages of Alzheimer’s persons with the disease can still benefit from interactions like a gentle reassuring touch or listening to relaxing music. This final stage normally lasts for about 2 and a half years.

Most people with AD will succumb during this stage.

Persons in this stage are usually vulnerable to developing other medical conditions that can lead to their death such as pneumonia, cancer, heart disease, or stroke.

Some individuals survive for years in this stage with proper care and life support.

Stages of Alzheimer’s Closing Remarks

It is important to learn how Alzheimer’s unfolds through various stages of Alzheimer’s.

While these stages do not always fall into neat little boxes and the symptoms may vary from one person to the next, they can be beneficial in taking care of a person with the illness.

It helps in preparing for the challenges that come next by getting the necessary medical supplies and aids like wheelchairs.

It also helps to identify care facilities like assisted living when an affected person can no longer live on their own safely.

AD is a progressive disease that gradually becomes worse over 4-20 years. However, a majority of affected persons will live for about four to eight years after diagnosis.

It is challenging for people with the disease and their loved ones to go through the stages of the illness. Knowing what to expect during these stages can help ease stress and unpredictability.

Posterior Cortical Atrophy (PCA) – Symptoms, Causes & Treatment

posterior cortical atrophy pca

Also known as Benson’s syndrome, posterior cortical atrophy (PCA) refers to the progressive and gradual degeneration of the cortex which is the outer layer of the brain in the part of the brain that is located in the posterior (back of the head).

It is the section of the brain that handles the processing of visual information.

Everything about Posterior Cortical Atrophy

PCA was first described in 1988 by D. Frank Benson. It is still not clear whether this is a unique illness or a possible variant form of AD (Alzheimer’s disease).

For most people with PCA, the part of the brain that is affected shows neurofibrillary tangles and amyloid plaques which are similar to the changes that occur in persons with AD but in a different part of the brain.

For other individuals with Benson’s syndrome, the brain changes resemble other illnesses like Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and Lewy body dementia.

Most cases of PCA usually occur in persons between the ages of 50-65 but the condition can also affect older people.

Causes of PCA

causes of PCA
The exact causes of posterior cortical atrophy are still unknown.

There are also no obvious genetic mutations that are linked to the condition.

Nonetheless, discussions are on-going as to whether the risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease are similar to those of PCA.

Symptoms of Posterior Cortical Atrophy

symptoms of posterior cortical atrophy
Different people with PCA will experience varying symptoms and this can change as the illness continues to progress.

Common warning signs for this condition include:

  • Blurred vision, double vision, difficulties reading and writing, and problems seeing clearly especially in low light conditions
  • Increased sensitivity to shiny surfaces or bright light
  • Hallucinations
  • Challenges performing mathematical calculations
  • Problems with spelling
  • Anxiety
  • Difficulties with visual tasks like reading a line of text, distinguishing between stationary and moving objects, judging distances, inability to perceive more than a single object at the time, and trouble identifying and using common objects/tools.

During the early stage of the illness, a majority of the people affected will not showcase reduced memory.

However, memory and cognitive abilities can be affected in the later stages.

As the disorder progresses, the symptoms may start to evolve and a person may start getting lost while walking or driving in familiar places.

Some individuals will also misrecognize familiar objects and faces.

Some people may experience jerking movements of their limbs while others may suffer from seizures.

Keep in mind that different people will react differently to posterior cortical atrophy.

The Diagnosis Process

the diagnosis process of pca
Misdiagnosis of Benson’s Syndrome is quite common owing to the fact that it is quite rare and unusual.

Additionally, most people will PCA will first consult an ophthalmologist who may recommend standard eye examinations.

This is mostly because the first warning signs are often assumed to be eye problems. It may not be easy to pinpoint cortical brain dysfunction as the cause.

Currently, there is no diagnostic criterion for Benson’s Syndrome. However, the diagnostic criteria are in the developed.

Doctors start by reviewing a person’s history as well as the symptoms they are experiencing.

Physicians will also use a combination of tests that include:

MRI

This is where a medic uses an MRI machine with powerful radio waves and a magnetic field to get a 3D view of the brain.

The test helps doctors to see if there are any abnormalities in the brain that are causing the symptoms a person has.

Blood Tests

A person’s blood may be tested for thyroid disorders, vitamin deficiencies, and other conditions that may be causing PCA symptoms.

Neuropsychological tests

Doctors conduct these cognitive skills tests to identify if there are problems with a person’s literacy, memory, or visual perception.

Lumbar Puncture

It is the examination of the fluid that circulates around the spinal cord and brain.

Ophthalmology Examinations

Doctors conduct vision tests to check whether there is any other condition that is causing vision symptoms.

PET (Positive Emission Tomography)

A physician will inject a small amount of radioactive material while placing emission detectors on the brain. This offers visual images of the brain’s activities.

A professional can do this in combination with single-photon emission computerized tomography (SPECT) to measure blood flow to various sectors of the brain.

Neuropsychological and Mental Status Tests

Doctors will conduct tests and ask questions to assess cognitive skills. A physician may ask for psychiatric assessments to test for mental illnesses like depression.

Physicians administer the above tests to diagnose the illness and rule out possible causes of the symptoms a person is experiencing.

This is because the symptoms can be caused by other medical issues like tumors, strokes, or other identifiable conditions.

It also helps in the identification of potentially treatable causes like inflammations or infections.

Most people with PCA will live approximately the same number of years as those with Alzheimer’s which is about 10-12 years after the onset of symptoms.

Some will live for more years while others will not make it to the 10-year mark.

Stages of PCA

stages of PCA
Just like Alzheimer’s PCA progresses from one stage to the next and these include:

Stage One: No Impairment (Normal Function)

During this stage, most people will not experience any visual, cognitive, or memory issues.

Stage Two: Very Mild Cognitive Decline

At this stage, an individual may experience subtle problems with various complex visual tasks such as:

  • Challenges assembling novel objects/devices
  • Loss of confidence in driving abilities owning to the fact that it becomes harder to judge distances
  • Issues with writing down or recalling telephone numbers
  • Challenges using a computer such as being slower with entering information or typing
  • Problems with writing, spelling, reading, and arithmetic

During this early stage, the issues may be intermittent which can make it hard to describe.

The arising problems might also not be noticeable to family, friends, or colleagues.

Stage Three: Mild Cognitive Decline

Visual problems become more apparent at this stage for the person who has the condition as well as those close to him or her.

Most individuals will stop driving at this point. Some persons will also get a positive diagnosis of early-stage Alzheimer’s disease.

Examples of warning signs that are common in the 3rd stage include:

  • Having a hard time seeing things that are right in front of a person
  • Getting “lost” on a page when reading
  • General clumsiness in persons who were not clumsy before such as putting a glass down sideways, and knocking things over, etc.
  • Inability to tell the time from a watch or clock
  • Difficulty finding things in familiar places like a handbag or cupboard
  • Having a hard time dressing and performing other activities like cutting a piece of toast and other activities like using stairs or coordination.
  • Problems with dealing numbers, spelling, and writing
  • Paying for items with notes to avoid handling change
  • Mild memory issues
  • Challenges with picking the right word for a conversation
  • Anxiety mainly because a person is more aware of the changes that are happening in their life

Stage Four: Moderate Cognitive Decline

Persons with posterior cortical atrophy at the 4th stage may require help with day-to-day activities like using appliances, dressing, and cooking amongst others.

An individual may have a clear sense of purpose in regards to plans and activities but their attempts to achieve the goals are frustrated by small and frequent visual problems.

Most people during this stage will also have trouble navigating familiar and unfamiliar environments.

Stage Five: Moderately Severe Cognitive Decline

During this stage, the vision continues to deteriorate even further to an extent that a person views the world as different pieces of a puzzle or through the lens of a fractured mirror.

By the end of this stage, some people will be registered as blind implying that they will need support in visually-guided activities.

Stage Six: Severe Cognitive Decline

Considered one of the later stages of PCA, it is normally characterized by impairment of memory, perception, attention, language, and decision-making.

Vision impairment remains the most pronounced.

Stage Seven: Severe Cognitive Decline

In the last PCS stage, the problems that affected individual experiences are usually similar to those that affect persons with Alzheimer’s.

Persons may lose their ability to respond to the environment. They may lose their ability to carry out conversations and eventually affected individuals cannot control movement.

Treatment Options

treatment options for posterior cortical atrophy
To date, there are no approved treatments for posterior cortical atrophy that help to halt or slow down its progression.

This is perhaps because, in some people, PCA resembles AD.

It is suggested that some drugs that alleviate brain dysfunction temporarily in people with Alzheimer’s may also be beneficial for persons with Benson’s Syndrome.

This, however, has not yet been scientifically proven. Examples of these drugs include cholinesterase inhibitors like rivastigmine, donepezil, and galantamine.

It is believed that they can help with some of Benson’s Syndrome symptoms by boosting brain cell functions to compensate for the damage that is caused by the condition.

Antidepressant medication may also be useful for persons who are going through irritability, depression, loss of self-confidence, and frustration.

Some individuals with PCA may also benefit from treatment that seeks to alleviate symptoms like anxiety or depression.

The risks and perks of these treatments have not been established.

In addition to medication, doctors may also recommend occupational, physical, or cognitive therapy as a means of managing the condition. The therapies can help an individual retain or regain skills that the PCA affects.

Many healthcare services do not have much experience supporting people who have PCA because the condition is quite rare.

There are still support groups that affected individuals can join to get the support they need.

More research is still necessary to come up with clear answers about posterior cortical atrophy.

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