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Monday, April 19, 2010

What is Cognitive Dementia?

April 18, 2010 by dovestid

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Cognitive dementia can be confusing and scary. Dementia can cause you to lose your freedom and independence. It can cause you to become a burden to your children or other loved ones.
As you read, you will find out the facts about cognitive dementia. You will discover different types and their causes. You may be amazed to find there are types of cognitive dementia that are reversible. You may well be pleasantly surprised to find that you may be able to delay or avoid dementia altogether!
What is Cognitive Dementia?
Cognitive dementia is the loss of mental ability. The loss of the ability to think, remember and reason. To earn the label of dementia, the mental loss must get in the way of carrying out day-to-day activities. The reduced ability to fulfill day-to-day events must last for more than six months.
Cognitive dementia is not a disease. It is a group of symptoms. These symptoms would go along with certain diseases or conditions. Signs of dementia might also include changes in mood, personality, and behavior.
Cognitive dementia results when a number of factors affect parts of the brain. These factors can include infections, diseases, or aging. The parts of the brain involved with dementia with examples are:

Learning. Trouble learning a new kitchen appliance.
Memory. Trouble remembering where you lived the past few years.
Decision-making. Not able to make what used to be simple decisions.
Language. Pausing to find words in the middle of a sentence.
What Are the Types of Cognitive Dementia?
There are two groups of cognitive dementia. The group depends on what part of the brain is affected:Cortical dementias. The cerebral cortex is changed. The cerebral cortex is the outer layers of the brain. It has a vital role in cognitive processes like memory and speech. Patients with cortical dementia usually have severe memory damage. These patients also cannot recall words and cannot grasp common speech. This is aphasia. Alzheimer’s and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease are two forms of cortical dementia.Sub-cortical dementias. Beneath the cortex is affected. These patients show changes in their personality and attention span. Their thinking slows down. They may not show the memory loss and language hardships as with cortical dementias. Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s Disease, and AIDS dementia complex are examples of sub-cortical dementias. There are cases where both parts of the brain are affected. One case is with multi-infarct dementia.
What are Some of the Causes of Cognitive Dementia?

The most common cause of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease causes 50 to 70 percent of all dementia.
The most common causes of cognitive dementia include:

Degenerative neurological diseases. These include Alzheimer’s, dementia with Lewy Bodies, Parkinson’s, and Huntington’s.
Blood-flow (vascular) disorders. Including multiple-infarct dementia, which is caused by multiple strokes in the brain.
Infections that affect the central nervous system. These consist of HIV dementia complex and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.
Chronic drug use.
Depression.
Certain types of hydrocephalus. This is a buildup of fluid in the brain. The fluid build up can result from irregularities in development, infections, injury, or brain tumors.
Normal aging.

How Common is Cognitive Dementia?
Cognitive dementia develops mostly in elderly people. It has always been common. In recent times, it’s even more common in the elderly. One reason is that we are living longer. A recent forecast is that the numbers of dementia cases will double every twenty years.
Age-related cognitive dementia starts around age 35. It develops so slowly that it is not noticed until it affects day-to-day activities. This usually happens around age 65.
About 5 to 8 percent of all people over 65 have some form of dementia. This number doubles every five years above age 65. It’s estimated that as many as half of people 85 or older suffer from dementia.
Some researchers think that half of people over age 80 will get Alzheimer’s disease.
Which Causes of Cognitive Dementia Can be Reversed?
Most thought of cognitive dementia as permanent. Especially when caused by disease or injury. However, within the past few years, ongoing research shows that this may not always be the case. If done right, brain training can create new links and re-establish old ones. There are no guarantees. However, there is hope.
Cognitive dementia may also be reversible if caused by:

Aging.
Drugs.
Alcohol.
Depression.
Vitamin imbalances.
Hormone imbalances.
Treating causes can partly cure dementia. Some treatments may even cure it completely. For example, drug users can treat their habit to undo dementia. You can have tumors removed, etc.
How Can I Prevent Cognitive Dementia?
Researchers believe that non-genetic causes of cognitive dementia are preventable. Lifestyle factors like diet and exercise make a difference.
The biggest factor is how you use your brain. If you do not use it, you lose it. Social interaction is very important for keeping the brain active. Brain training games are another way to keep the brain engaged. Research is showing that if you play the right games or exercises, you may be able to eliminate dementia.
Any brain training will do you good, like crossword puzzles. However, there has not been enough research done. Researchers cannot say for sure what benefit these games will provide.
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