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How Does the Brain Affect Our Lives? (Part 4)

A Book Review: Younger Brain, Sharper Mind

by Maggie Dail, M.A., Learning Specialist

Dementia and Alzheimer’s: The End of the Line

“…the degree of cognitive impairment at baseline seems to dictate the severity of dementia later in life. This means that the longer you wait to reverse your cognitive decline, the more difficult it will become, and the more likely you will suffer from debilitating dementia.” p. 18-19

Symptoms of Declining Attention Are Linked to Declining Brain Chemicals (illustration p. 18)

  • Inconsistent attention, losing items – dopamine

  • Carelessness, lack of attention – Acetylcholine

  • Impulsivity – GABA

  • Inability to grasp concepts quickly – Serotonin

“Not all people who experience pre-MCI and MCI will eventually develop Alzheimer’s disease or dementia; however, everyone with Alzheimer’s begins with the two earlier stages.” p. 19

Alzheimer’s damages and kills brain, virtually ending neurogenesis. Secondly, brain fibers tangle and finally, there is a decrease in blood flow in the brain. P. 19-20

Symptoms of Early Stages of Alzheimer’s Disease: p. 20

  • Verbal memory loss (telling the same story, asking the same question..

  • Unfamiliarity with daily tasks (dressing, preparing a simple meal)

  • Dysphasia – (can’t think of right word)

  • Confusing “where” and “when” – not knowing where you are; not knowing the date

  • Confusing locations of familiar places (getting lost)

  • Compromised judgement (making bad decisions)

  • Decreased awareness of personal hygiene

  • Difficulty with abstract thinking (distinguishing objects of similar sizes)

  • Placing objects in unsuitable places (purse in garbage, shoes in fridge)

  • Extreme mood changes (joy to sadness; extreme anger for no reason)

  • Personality adjustments

  • Lack of interest: avoidance behavior; increased thoughts of death, loss of spontaneity

Next time we will explore the causes of Cognitive Decline….


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