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Topic the brain memory and dementia pt2 Go to previous topic Go to next topic Go to higher level

By karolinakitty On 2011.08.22 09:21
Going back to intelligence and its definition: the ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills, at the onset of dementia, this ability loses ground, the ability to learn and apply start to deteriorate.
Before the onset of Dementia, a person has a certain amount of intelligence; they have developed a personality over their lifetime to this point and as most of us know are pretty set in their ways of doing things. With the onset of Dementia, the abilities they once had start to dwindle away along with the personality. Since I myself am not going through the actual loss of myself, I can’t even imagine how hard it is on the person who is. The ability to think, process and do, going away, a piece at a time must be very hard on the psyche. I understand how it can turn a persons personality, how it would be hard to understand from an objective person let alone someone who has known you almost all your life. The ability to be counseled on issues of personality is lost. The ability to re-learn is short circuited by the disease. The slowed thought process puts you in the category of stupidity in most folk’s eyes and leaves you feeling lost in your own world. The misunderstandings, the crossed signals and misconceptions of Dementia flow over into everything you do in a single day. All of these issues above are due to a disconnected wire.

The intelligence level will decrease over time, but when Dementia is diagnosed early enough, you can strengthen the brainpower; learn to use triggers and post-pone the inevitable. While all the knowledge is retained, the whole issue with intelligence and Dementia is the retrieval process. The disconnection of those wires will cause a disruption in that retrieval process. There is at this point still no cure, but there are things you can do to strengthen what is still there and even in some cases, retrieve some abilities.
Researchers have found some ground with those in early diagnosis. Dr. Peter Rabins from John Hopkins has done research on patients with both Dementia and Alzheimer’s. His book “Memory” and the “Memory Papers” are awesome if you can afford them. I myself have the book ($45) and get some of the papers which run around $20. In this book and papers are great exercises in retrieving and retaining memory. There is also an online series that is free at: These are excellent references for those just diagnosed, with mild dementia. Those who still have the ability to play games, write, type and understand will gain back some of their abilities. How do I know this? We have applied the book, papers and games on-line to our everyday life. Along with the fact he is on Aricept, an Alzheimer’s medication, our tests over the last year has significantly improved. It is not a cure, but it is an aide. If both the patient and caregiver are willing to do all they can to gain a better memory and help to slow down this progressive brain disease, I highly recommend them.

I know there are many on this board that are dealing with Dementia in further stages. Of course, the above-mentioned exercises would be of no use to you. At this point the studies done on high moderate to severe cases, using some of these methods have not been AS successful in the ability to retrieve and retain, but some cases were able to.

Dr. Rabins has done some work with PD Dementia, several studies were done here at MUSC and the new neuro we are going to see is involved in some other studies involving Dementia/Alzheimer’s also at MUSC. I can’t wait to talk with him.
Rabins found that in some cases of PD, the dementia can often be worse than the traditional symptoms of PD. At this point they still don’t know why, the disrupted signals of PD vary in patients and to some effect the neurons involved in memory harder than others.

The application of knowledge and skills I will deal with tomorrow….

By caregivermary On 2011.08.22 11:54
I think understanding the types of dementia are important to this discussion.

What are the types of dementia?

Some doctors and researchers split dementia into two broad categories — the cortical dementias and the subcortical dementias — based on which part of the brain is affected.

Cortical dementias arise from a disorder affecting the cerebral cortex, the outer layers of the brain that play a critical role in cognitive processes such as memory and language. Alzheimer's and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease are two forms of cortical dementia. Cortical dementia patients typically show severe memory impairment and aphasia, the inability to recall words and understand common language.

Subcortical dementias result from dysfunction in the parts of the brain that are beneath the cortex. Usually, the memory loss and language difficulties that are characteristic of cortical dementias are not present. Rather, people with subcortical dementias, such as Huntington's disease, Parkinson's Disease, and AIDS dementia complex, tend to show changes in their personality and attention span, and their thinking slows down.

There are cases, such as with multi-infarct dementia, where both parts of the brain tend to be affected. My husb fits into this category.

By karolinakitty On 2011.08.22 20:59
That's on the list too Mary..guess i can move it up a little...I'll try putting it on tomorrow instead....

By dkleinert On 2011.08.23 01:00
CaregiverMary and KarolinaKitty: Wow - both of these posts are incredibly informative. My husband certainly falls into the "Subcortical dementias" category. I will be going to the link you mentioned Karolinakitty. Thanks for all of that information. My PD husband will be very interested in all of that. He fears losing his thought processes the most - I think that is why he is so obsessed with Scrabble and Word Games on his ipod, Crossworkd and Jumble in the newspaper and Suduko. Great info - so much what I need to read right now - THANKS to both of you - knowledge is truly power!

By karolinakitty On 2011.08.23 11:35
Hey gang... I have to postpone things for a few days... Even though they STILL aren't sure where Irene lands, we are only about 60miles inland, as the crow flies, from the coast of South Carolina... I have lots to tie down, pick up, move and so to get extra gasoline and propane. My neighbors say when Hugo went through here it was sheer hell on gonna have too much time the next few days.. If we don't have to evacuate....I'll be back on if ya don't hear.. don't panic..if we evacuate at least i'll have electricity... :)

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