Unit DEM 301
Understanding the neurology of dementia:
A common misconception is that Dementia is a normal part of the ageing process. Dementia is a broad-spectrum term for a range of progressive diseases that generally affect memory, emotional and sometimes physical ability.
Dementia is ultimately caused by damage to the brain cells, this damage then causes miscommunications within the brain. When the brain cells do not then work together as usually this can have an effect on an individual’s thinking, abilities and behaviour. Dependent on the type of damage to the cells and the particular regions that are affected this can indicate through investigations (i.e brain scans….) what particular type of Dementia is present.
There are many potential causes of the damage to the brain cells that can cause dementia.
ARD – Alcohol Related Dementia
Wernicke–Korsakoff syndrome: This is a syndrome that is associated with excessive and chronic long term misuse of alcohol that presents with Dementia type symptoms.
Alzheimer’s disease is associated with a buildup of proteins in the brain causing plaques & tangles. The buildup of these is common during the natural aging process. However, post mortem investigations have discovered an unusually large amount in people presenting with Alzheimer’s type symptoms.
Vascular Dementia is caused by a reduced flow of blood to the brain. This can occur following a stroke or a series of TIA’s which can then result in stopping the blood accessing the blood vessels. If the blood does then not reach the brain, the brain cells dying off.
Pick’s Disease: This is caused when the frontal temporal lobes are damaged. This is the part of the brain that controls our behaviour, language and emotion. When this area of the brain is damaged is can cause it can cause a disruption in one’s ability to manage their own social conduct and inhibitions.