Dementia News

People who have dementia experience a gradual worsening in the ability to think clearly, and this affects their day to day life. Rather than being a medical condition in and of itself, "dementia" is a term used to describe a range of symptoms, including impairments in memory, reason and judgment, visual perception, communication, language and focus. The symptoms of dementia can be present with various medical conditions, the most common of which is Alzheimer’s disease.

Causes and Types of Dementia

Dementia develops because of damage to the cells in the brain, which can occur for a variety of reasons. Some people assume that dementia is a natural part of getting older, but that is not the case. Though some age-related forgetfulness is to be expected, if it becomes serious and affects daily life, the person should be seen by a doctor and treated for a medical condition.

Some forms of dementia are irreversible. This includes Alzheimer’s disease, ischemic vascular dementia, Parkinson’s dementia and others. In some cases, however, the symptoms of dementia can be reversed. For example, some people begin to develop dementia symptoms because of their use of certain medications, emotional distress, nutritional deficiencies or other problems. Often, correcting these problems with the body and mind can lead to an improvement in the symptoms of dementia.

Treatment of Dementia

Following an overall healthy lifestyle, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, not smoking and staying socially and mentally active are all steps that might play a role in preventing dementia. Once dementia is present, treatment may be able to keep the disease from progressing as rapidly. Medications are available to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease and other irreversible dementias. In addition, treating any other health problems that are present may help with dementia, as well.

SOURCES: Alzheimer’s Association; Family Caregiver Alliance

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Relationship Status and Dementia

Married people may have a lower risk of dementia, new study finds.

America's Dementia Caregivers Cite Stresses, Rewards

New survey results illustrate the ups and downs of caring for aging family members

One Type of Dementia Is Especially Costly

Annual bills for this early onset disease twice as high as for Alzheimer's, study says

High Blood Pressure and Dementia

Women who develop high blood pressure in mid-adulthood at increased risk of dementia, study finds

High Blood Pressure in 40s a Dementia Risk for Women?

Study didn't find same link in men

A More Accurate Predictor for Alzheimer's?

Genetic test might one day diagnose the disease before symptoms occur, researchers say

Failing Sense of Smell Tied to Dementia Risk

Long-term study suggests inability to identify scents may be early sign of problems

High, Low Levels of Magnesium Linked to Dementia Risk

But study didn't prove a cause-and-effect relationship

Is Dementia Declining Among Older Americans?

Rates have fallen among those 70 and older; gains against heart disease might explain trend

Sleep and Dementia Risk

People who get less REM sleep may be at increased risk of dementia, study finds.

Do Fewer Nightly Dreams Mean Higher Dementia Risk in Seniors?

For every 1 percent drop in sleep's REM phase, a 9 percent jump in odds for thinking, memory troubles, study found

Dementia Care: A Huge Financial Burden for U.S. Families

Annual costs may top $320,000, study estimates

Lower Blood Pressure Best for Seniors' Minds

And study found that healthy reductions may benefit blacks even more than whites

Popular Heartburn Drugs Don't Raise Risk of Alzheimer's: Study

Researchers say proton pump inhibitors like Nexium or Prilosec not linked to dementia

'Confusion' Complicates Hospitalization of Elderly

Stays are often two weeks longer, British study says

Blood Pressure Fluctuations Tied to Dementia Risk in Study

But the research only found an association, not cause-and-effect connection

Midlife Behaviors May Affect Your Dementia Risk

Of greatest importance are diabetes, blood pressure and smoking, researchers say

Study Links Moderate Drinking to Reduced Risk of Dementia

But finding comes with cautions against excessive alcohol use over extended periods

Traveling With Dementia: Tips for Family Caregivers

Stick to familiar routines, advises Alzheimer's Foundation

Moving From 'Stroke Belt' Doesn't Undo Higher Dementia Risk

Study found odds for mental decline still higher for those born in certain southeastern U.S. states

Noninvasive Brain Test May Pinpoint Type of Dementia

In small study, electrical currents helped distinguish Alzheimer's from another form of brain trouble

Nearly All Autopsied NFL Players Show Trauma-Linked Brain Disease

No position on the football field seemed to confer protection, study says

Targeting 9 Risk Factors Could Prevent 1 in 3 Dementia Cases: Study

Reducing mid-life hearing loss might make the biggest difference

Special Training Plus Medication Might Help People With Advanced Alzheimer's

Skills lost, such as dressing or bathing, can potentially be relearned, small study suggests

Can Poor Sleep Boost Odds for Alzheimer's?

Studies found sleep apnea tied to higher levels of tell-tale plaques, proteins in brain

Can Daily Crossword Protect You From Dementia?

Regular puzzlers score better on tests of mental function, study finds

One Social Hour a Week Can Help Someone With Dementia

Good staff training improved patients' quality of life, lowered costs, study says

Boxers, MMA Fighters May Face Long-Term Harm to Brain: Study

Researchers find head injuries from fighting cause brain changes that might spur troubles later in life

Severe Head Injury May Raise Dementia Risk Years Later

Threat even higher when injury occurs in middle age, study reveals

Slowed Walking, Shrinking Brain?

Seniors whose pace dropped showed shrinkage in brain region linked to memory, spatial orientation

Popular Heartburn Meds Don't Raise Alzheimer's Risk: Study

New research debunks other studies suggesting that medications used to treat ulcers, reflux cause mental decline

Boozing Can Age You Right Down to Your Cells

DNA studies reveal alcoholics have shorter telomeres, key markers of aging and overall health

Lifestyle Changes Might Prevent or Slow Dementia

The public should be aware of this encouraging research, expert says

Sticky Brain 'Plaques' Implicated in Alzheimer's Again

Researchers believe these substances form in early stages of the memory-robbing disease

'Making the Best of It': Families Face the Heavy Burden of Alzheimer's

With U.S. cases expected to triple to 16 million by 2050, support for caregivers desperately needed

Study Looks at Parkinson's Effect on Life Span

2-year difference seen between people with degenerative brain diseases and their healthy peers

Blood Thinners May Prevent Dementia in Atrial Fibrillation Patients

Even people with a low risk of stroke could benefit, researchers say

Wives, Daughters Shoulder Most of Alzheimer's Care Burden

Careers, finances may take a hit because of caregiving demands, researchers say

Loving, Supportive Kids May Help Lower Seniors' Dementia Risk

But negative relationships with children, spouse increased chances, study finds

'Brain Age' May Help Predict When You'll Die

An 'older' mind is linked to signs of physical and mental problems, study contends