It is a chronic memory disorder caused by the deficiency of thiamine, vitamin B1, which helps brain cells produce energy from sugar. When the level of thiamine falls too low, brain cells will not generate enough energy to work correctly. The most common cause of this disorder is alcohol abuse, dietary deficiencies, prolonged vomiting, eating disorders, or the effects of chemotherapy. People suffering from this disorder may have strikingly severe memory problems while other social and thinking skills are unaffected.
Untreated, this can cause severe and lasting damage to the brain.
Early diagnosis and treatment are vital.
This highlights one of the key aims when diagnosing and treating neural decline. That is finding the cause!
Progressive Supranuclear Palsy
This is one of those conditions I’d not heard about before.
This is a rare condition that is often misdiagnosed as Parkinson’s because of the similarity of signs and symptoms.
There is no definitive method of diagnosing the condition. It is the process of looking for MRI and PET scans to determine a particular area of the brain that shows signs of brain damage due to neural decline and the awareness of the symptoms.
One of the classic signs of the disease is an inability to aim the eyes properly, which occurs because of lesions in the brain area that coordinates eye movements.
As they do not know the cause of the damage and neural decline, there is no effective treatment or cure.
The condition is progressive, but as with all illnesses related to dementia, neural decline, death is caused by secondary conditions such as pneumonia and difficulty in swallowing (dysphagia), to name but a few.
Mild Cognitive Impairment
Dementia can be a result of an array of illnesses, medications, and other treatable causes. An individual with mild cognitive impairment will experience memory loss and impaired speech and judgment.
These conditions do not, at first, affect the everyday activities of patients’ daily living. They may experience behavioural changes involving anxiety, depression, aggression, as well as emotional apathy.
This is one high on the list of dementia, neural decline, but least considered. According to the NHS UK site, MCI can be caused by an underlying illness, such as depression, anxiety or thyroid problems.
They then state, ‘But in some cases, people with MCI are at increased risk of going on to develop dementia, which is usually caused by Alzheimer’s disease.’
This alone causes me great concern because it is clear that so-called Mild Cognitive Impairment is not something to be dismissed and not Mild!
Multi Infarct Dementia
Multi-infarct dementia (MID) is a common cause of memory loss in the elderly. MID is caused by multiple strokes (disruption of blood flow to the brain). Disruption of blood flow leads to damaged brain tissue. Some of these strokes may occur without noticeable clinical symptoms. Doctors refer to these as “silent strokes.” An individual having a silent stroke may not even know it is happening, but over time, as more areas of the brain are damaged, and more small blood vessels are blocked, the symptoms of MID begin to appear. MID can be diagnosed by an MRI or CT of the brain, along with a neurological examination. Symptoms include confusion or problems with short-term memory; wandering or getting lost in familiar places; walking with rapid, shuffling steps; losing bladder or bowel control; laughing or crying inappropriately; having difficulty following instructions, and having problems counting money and making monetary transactions. MID, which typically begins between the ages of 60 and 75, affects men more often than women. Because the symptoms of MID are so similar to Alzheimer’s disease, it can be difficult for a doctor to make a firm diagnosis. Since the conditions often occur together, making a single diagnosis of one or the other is even more problematic.
People with multi-infarct dementia will have trouble communicating and concentrating. They may experience memory problems; however, this may not be the earliest symptom of this type of dementia. Depression is also a common symptom in patients with multi-infarct dementia.
Do you notice that Depression comes up a lot. I’m often depressed, but I’m never sure if that is due to my condition causing my Depression or being depressed about it! Do you know what I mean?
The prognosis for individuals with MID is generally poor. The symptoms of the disorder may begin suddenly, often in a stepwise pattern after each small stroke. Some people with MID may even appear to improve for short periods, then decline after having more silent strokes. The disorder generally takes a downward course with intermittent periods of rapid deterioration. Death may occur from stroke, heart disease, pneumonia, or other infection.
There is no treatment available to reverse brain damage that a stroke or other condition has caused. Treatment focuses on preventing future strokes by controlling or avoiding the diseases and medical conditions that put people at high risk for stroke: high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, and cardiovascular disease.
According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, the best treatment for MID is prevention early in life – eating a healthy diet, exercising, not smoking, moderately using alcohol, and maintaining a healthy weight.
Prevention is the treatment, something I have advocated for a long time!
Prevention is the Cure! Research into the causes of neural decline is paramount!
Subcortical Vascular Dementia
This is known as a rare type of dementia that involves microscopic damages to the nerve fibres and small blood vessels. The symptoms of this type of dementia are related to the subcortical neural circuit disruption affecting short-term memory, mood, organization, attention, decision-making, and appropriate behaviour. A common symptom of this condition is psychomotor slowness. Some other symptoms are urinary incontinence, trouble walking, slowness, clumsiness, lack of facial expression, and speech difficulties. These symptoms begin to occur after age 60, and they develop in a stepwise way. Patients who suffer from the subcortical vascular disease [ often have a history of stroke, high blood pressure, or evidence of disease of large blood vessels in the heart or neck valves.
The signs and symptoms sound familiar; of course they do! Finding the cause is vital! Brain cell death will show the same signs and symptoms according to the area of the brain affected.
The treatment for this type of dementia is aimed at preventing further strokes and controlling blood pressure.
Alcohol-related dementia is a type of dementia a lot of people in the world are suffering.
Drinking too much alcohol continually will result in brain damage. Doctors prefer the terms, alcohol-related brain impairment or alcohol-related brain injury. But it means the same thing, killing your brain cells with too much drink!
This is one of those that highlight the need for a cause to be established. You see, this type of dementia can be prevented.
Younger Onset Dementia
You may have heard of this called similar names, but it means the same thing. Anyone who has signs and symptoms of neural decline and is under 65 years old will be seen as having Younger Onset Dementia unless other causes are known.
As in common with most types of neural decline, Younger-onset dementia can be hard to diagnose. People who are diagnosed with this type of dementia may have a family history of dementia. This also includes evaluating the depression, nutrition, substance abuse, and other conditions resulting in memory loss. Some of them are vitamin deficiency, anaemia, kidney or liver disease, diabetes, infections, thyroid disease, cardiovascular and pulmonary problems. In fact, all the same procedure for all types of neural decline and the first signs and not after a long period of paper tests that just show a decline over the test time. This process is often long and very lengthy in some cases; I mean years! Isn’t this a bit like, shutting the gate after the horse has bolted!?
This is not a definitive list.
Anything that causes progressive brain cell death and the signs and symptoms of neural decline related to the region of that brain cell death should be on the list!
There are few named causes of neural decline, but most have no known cause.
Due to this fact, medical treatment is not available other than to treat the signs and symptoms experienced.
More and more, it seems that preventing the neural decline due to brain cell death is related to the life we lead or led. A significant fact is that the signs and symptoms of this decline may not manifest themselves for years and even decades after the problem starts. What we do, or not, in life impacts our future brain cell health! Health is about the whole being and not separated facets of the body in isolation.
Some causes of neural decline are related to genetics, but it seems this is in the minority.
There are obvious causes of neural decline and brain cell death, such as drug and drinking abuse and direct injury to the brain, but more cases are left unknown, and we that endure are left to endure.
I believe that prevention is the cure. It often seems it’s down to things we already know: good living, diet, and physical and mental exercise. So before you start showing signs and symptoms, or as soon as you do, please do something about it!
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