Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Cognitive Changes

There are still no effective treatments for dementia; how sad. The pills that your hear about on TV that reportedly treat dementia do nothing to stop the progression. Next time you see one of these ads, listen carefully. The ad will likely report that the pill improves the symptoms. It also says it does NOTHING to stop the progression of the disease. In other words, after a year or so on the medication, the control of the symptoms abates, and the person will find that their disease has progressed to where it would have, even if they had not been on the medication in the first place.

Reducing your risk factors that are within your control is important. Science shows that controlling high blood pressure, cholesterol, exercising, eating healthy, keeping mentally active are all things that can help to reduce the risk of developing dementia. But even doing all of this is no guarantee.

There is an interesting article in MNT (Medical News Today). http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/308180.php

Essentially the article says that science has discovered on autopsy that those with dementia most often have a blend of several conditions, not just one disease process. There are several types of dementia; Alzheimers, Lewy Body, Frontotemporal, are some of the more common types.

It is estimated that 1 in 6 women and 1 in 10 men who live past the age of 55 will develop dementia. This sobering statistic suggests that most of us know or perhaps live with someone afflicted with this progressive condition.

The fallout from this disease process can be devastating. As we baby boomers age, we will see more evidence of this as our friends, loved ones succumb. It will impact on housing, caregiving, medical care and end of life issues for all of us.

As Jim would say, "one of life's little surprises"....

How about you? Are you impacted by this disease process in any way?


  1. For what it's worth, I am familiar with a person who was assessed in 80's (now over 90) with some memory issues -- primarily short term loss. This person's profession has been such they have been knowledgeable about chemicals, (had also been a long term caregiver for a spouse with a degenerative neural disease - Parkinson's). Fortunately, medical consult was sought early on for this caregiver -- the importance of awareness recognized as a significant step to address the issue. (The caregiver also had had the experience of facilitating techniques assisting their spouse's compensation for memory loss when that issue developed.) Medication was prescribed and taken by the caregiver for a couple years, then a second med was added last year. This person says they're convinced the declining memory progression has been slowed due to beginning medication early after onset. I do not know if any pre-med/post-med tests have ever been administered to verify this anecdotal report.

    I expect you're well aware memory issues are of different types and may be due to different causes, so the approach to what can reasonably be expected to be helpful may need to vary. Determining this would likely require medical assessment and specialist memory assessment with possible therapeutic intervention as appropriate.

    Another person I know on thyroid med has described awareness of memory issues believed to be associated with variation aspects of that med. including generic issues. (I share these stories with you as a lay person and observations here should not be be interpreted as what would be appropriate for your husband's condition or professional recommendations).

    1. Thanks so much for your comment Joared. You're right, it is complicated. There are so many different causes of memory loss, some of which if treated, could reverse the cognitive decline!

      I appreciate your thoughts on the topic. Always looking for new information about this devastating condition.