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Alzheimers

The Difference Between Dementia and Alzheimer’s Explained

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The difference between dementia and Alzheimer’s is unknown to many people. As a result,  they are used interchangeably during everyday understanding and conversation. So what is the difference between these two terms? According to a report from National Institute on Aging, dementia is a brain-related disorder that negatively impacts the performance and communication of routine activities. On the other hand, Alzheimer’s disease is a type of dementia that impacts brain parts, particularly those parts that control language, memory, and thoughts. Here are some specifics on each of the terms.

What is dementia?

A big misconception is that dementia is a disease; in fact, it is considered a syndrome, which is a group of symptoms that do not have a definitive diagnosis. Therefore, we can think of dementia as an umbrella term used for a set of different symptoms. Some of these symptoms include loss of memory and impaired thinking, which is connected with the cognitive decline of the phenomenon of aging. A range of screening tests is used by doctors to find out the root cause of dementia such as brain scans, mental status assessments, and blood tests. There are many types of dementia symptoms including the following.

  1. Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease: CJD occurs when a protein is folded into an abnormal shape, thus resulting in brain damage and rapid mental decline. Some of the common symptoms of CJD are mood changes, movements composed of twitching, and issues with walking properly.
  2. Frontotemporal Dementia: FTD is a form of dementia symptoms in which the nerve cells located in the front and side of the brain are lost. This leads to personality and behavior changes that are quite pronounced.

What is Alzheimer’s Disease?

According to the statement of the Center for Disease Control, the common cause behind dementia is Alzheimer’s disease, resulting in around 70% of all the cases of dementia. In reality, Alzheimer is regarded as a progressive disease of the brain leading to memory loss and cognitive decline.  The symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease comprise of confusion, impaired speech, and impaired thought. These symptoms start to appear around the age of 60.

Additional differences between the two diseases

Whenever a patient is diagnosed with dementia, they are also being diagnosed with a number of different symptoms. This can be compared to diagnosing a sore throat. The throat is sore but the actual reason for this cause is not known. It could be a common cold, strep throat, or allergies. Likewise, when a person is suffering from dementia, they are encountering symptoms without knowing what the reason is behind these symptoms.

An additional difference between these two diseases is that Alzheimer’s disease is not reversible. It is incurable and degenerative at this time. However, some types of dementia, such as vitamin deficiency or drug interaction, are actually temporary or reversible.

More research and public awareness is needed

While families experiencing Alzheimer’s and dementia diseases have a clear understanding of the respective diseases, more public awareness is needed for these diseases. Additional understanding of what are the factors causing Alzheimer disease will assist in clearing any ambiguity, thus resulting in better treatment plans.

Sources:

  1. https://www.alzheimers.net/difference-between-alzheimers-and-dementia/
  2. https://www.webmd.com/alzheimers/guide/alzheimers-and-dementia-whats-the-difference#1
  3. https://www.healthline.com/health/alzheimers-disease/difference-dementia-alzheimers#alzheimers-disease

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Alzheimers

Is Bad Oral Hygiene Connected with Alzheimer’s Disease?

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Alzheimer’s a neuronal disease that progressively forms plaques and tangles to healthy brain cells and eventually dies. This unfortunate disease affects 47 million people worldwide and there is currently no cure. However, research findings have presented that there is hope.

A new study in the Journal Science Advances found a correlation between the high amounts of bacteria, Porphyromonas gingivalism, and the effect on brain deterioration. This bacteria is associated with gum disease and researchers found toxic enzymes produced by it.

Experiments were done on mice that showed early- stage Amnesia had a significantly higher infection of P.gingivalis and amyloid plaques in their brains compared to normal brains. Note that this evidence is only a lead of how gum disease and Alzheimer’s are correlated, but not a matter of causation.

Photo by Amauri Acosta Montiel on Unsplash

This is the first time in research that showed these enzymes can kill neurons, and now there is clinical research ongoing to develop a drug that could clear this bacterial infection. However, there are multiple other factors such as genetics and lifestyle that need to be considered before confirming the true diagnosis of Alzheimer’s.

In other words, there is still ambiguity on knowing whether gum disease increases the risk of Alzheimer’s or if people with dementia incur gum disease because of poor oral care. Hopefully, the discovery of a new therapy could one day be the cure to treat humans as the brain and human bacterium plays a central role in development.  

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A-Z

The 7 Phases to Memory Loss

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A major fear that comes with aging is not only the wrinkles or back pains but also the neurodegenerative disease which leads to forgetting of events or loss of memory. Alzheimer’s, a neurodegenerative disease occurs in over 30 million people in the US and is most prominent in the older age group. This is the leading cause of 70% cases of dementia wherein the primary symptom is short-term memory loss. Other problems such as mood swings and language difficulties are also commonly associated with this disease. Currently, there exist treatments only to alleviate the symptoms, hence further in-depth research is required for finding a cure for this disease

This disorder is characterized by the loss of neurons and synapses. It’s due to the protein misfolding, aggregation of tau protein, and plaque accumulation. MRI scans show degeneration of the temporal and parietal lobe and specific regions that contribute to mental impairment. Epidemiological studies have shown that about 5% of cases are due to genetic makeup, and women are attributed at a higher risk than men. Moreover, the risk in the United States is 26% more than other populations.

Phases of Alzheimer’s

There are seven phases associated with this disease revolving around a progressive cognitive and functional impairment process. The first symptom starts appearing at the age of eight years, through the patient’s short-term memory loss. This chronic disease progressively worsens, and eventually, subjects will be unable to perform daily activities depending on the severity of their case. The activities mildly decline at each phase until it reaches stages 5-7 where it becomes incredibly severe. He or she may be resistant to caregiving, have urinary incontinence, or delusional symptoms. The cause of death is usually due to an infection of pneumonia or pressure ulcers, but not directly from the disease itself. About 2 million people lost their lives every year mainly due to the late stage of this disease associated with loss of muscle mass and mobility.

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