Different Dementia and the Signs to Look out for; the Word Dementia Describes a Set of Symptoms That May Include Memory Loss and Difficulties with Thinking, Problem-Solving or Language. Here, Professor Kim Graham, Dean of Research for the College of Biomedical and Life Sciences at Cardiff University, Describes Different Forms of Dementia and the Key Signs to Look out For

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), March 27, 2017 | Go to article overview

Different Dementia and the Signs to Look out for; the Word Dementia Describes a Set of Symptoms That May Include Memory Loss and Difficulties with Thinking, Problem-Solving or Language. Here, Professor Kim Graham, Dean of Research for the College of Biomedical and Life Sciences at Cardiff University, Describes Different Forms of Dementia and the Key Signs to Look out For


Byline: Professor Kim Graham

ALL forms of dementia involve a decline in one or more forms of cognition.

This could be a change in the ability to concentrate or difficulties remembering the names of people, objects or facts about the world.

It could be struggling to recall details from a recent holiday or finding it harder to judge distances. Sometimes we see changes in emotion, motivation and sensitivity to others.

While at first these cognitive changes may have only a small impact on daily life, in time they become more obvious, increasingly reducing the ability of the person with dementia to perform everyday activities.

In all forms of dementia, this progressive worsening of cognition, whether it is memory, attention or language, is caused by damage to the brain.

As the dementia progresses, cognition gets worse because the damage to the brain spreads.

This may cause greater difficulties in the cognitive domain already affected (eg. more forgetfulness) or an increase in the range of cognitive problems experienced, such as social and behavioural changes alongside memory problems.

While we don't fully know what causes dementias, we do know that they are not all caused by the same thing.

In some dementias, such as vascular dementia, damaged blood vessels affect blood flow and cause a lack of oxygen to the brain.

This results in brain damage which slows down thinking and results in difficulties concentrating for long periods of time. Vascular dementia is the second most common form of dementia.

In other dementias, such as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, infectious proteins called prions attack and damage the brain.

Dementia can also be seen in people with HIV, and in this case treatment with antiretroviral drugs can stop cognitive symptoms progressing. Repeated heavy drinking on a regular basis over many years can also result in alcoholic dementia.

Alcohol is toxic to brain cells, and heavy drinking can also result in low levels of vitamin B1 (thiamine) which damages the brain.

Stopping drinking alcohol can reverse or halt any cognitive changes in this form of dementia.

Dementia is most often seen in older age. These forms of dementia often present with quite different cognitive symptoms.

We get these differences because each dementia affects different parts of the brain. These brain areas support different forms of cognition. In the most common dementia of older age, Alzheimer's disease, patients find remembering day-today events increasingly difficult. …

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Different Dementia and the Signs to Look out for; the Word Dementia Describes a Set of Symptoms That May Include Memory Loss and Difficulties with Thinking, Problem-Solving or Language. Here, Professor Kim Graham, Dean of Research for the College of Biomedical and Life Sciences at Cardiff University, Describes Different Forms of Dementia and the Key Signs to Look out For
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