Definitions

Dementia– An “umbrella” term that for loss of memory or other cognitive ability due to many possible causes, but most often Alzheimer’s Disease.  Following are some common types of dementia.
• Alzheimer’s Disease-a disease of the brain discovered by Dr. Alois Alzheimer in 1906 in which amyloid-beta plaques form between the nerve cells and tau protein forms within the neurons. As the disease progresses, brain cells die, and the brain shrinks. Death usually occurs with six to ten years.
Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease– Alzheimer’s Disease in a person of less than sixty-five years old. This is almost always caused by genetics and is always fatal.
• Subjective Cognitive Impairment (SCI)– A memory or mental impairment where only the suffer recognizes the problem. This person can still function in a socially appropriate and functionally satisfactory manner, but they notice a loss of higher function. The condition may or may not worsen and may even improve if the cause is not Alzheimer’s Disease.
• Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI)- A worsening of mental decline or memory noticeable by others. This condition may improve if not caused by Alzheimer’s Disease. For example, people may notice a sufferer can’t recall words, repeats themselves, or gets lost while on a familiar route.
• Vascular Dementia– loss of memory or other cognitive function due to restricted blood flow to portions of the brain such as stroke, cardiovascular disease, or infection.
• Dementia with Lewy Body– A mental disorder named after Frederich Lewy, M.D. who discovered Alpha-synuclein protein within the autopsied brains of dementia sufferers. Onset is muscle related with rigidity, balance, and posture problems followed within one year with dementia. Dementia is characterized by vivid dreams with body movement, delusions, and visual hallucinations. Mental impairment is usually recognized as difficulty processing visual information and not so much memory.
• Parkinson’s Disease– Like Dementia with Lewy Body except mental symptoms appear more than twelve months after onset of muscular symptoms. Most noticeable muscle symptoms are an abnormal walking gate and difficulty smiling. Mental symptoms may include problems with memory, judgement, processing information, attention deficit, and planning. Patient may also exhibit anxiety, irritability, depression, excessive daytime sleep, paranoia, delusions, and hallucinations.                                                              • Frontotemporal Dementia– This type of dementia is caused by disease of the front of the brain. It usually appears between age forty and sixty but can occur earlier or later. First symptoms are often behavior changes, difficulty with expressing or understanding speech, and a variety of muscle disorders. Unlike Alzheimer’s Disease, it is not usually associated with memory loss, delusions, or hallucinations.