26 February 2013
Dementia a Debilitating Illness
Dementia is a complex topic that can be looked at from many different perspectives. There are two main categories of dementia; cortical and subcortical dementia. The focus of this paper will be on cortical dementia. Symptoms of dementia start out slowly and generally progress over time. The number of people with some type of dementia is an estimated 24 million worldwide. (Label) It is one of the world’s fastest growing diseases and it is only getting worse. One particular subject, Penny Liddy, started with symptoms of dementia at age 68. She got to the point of not remembering key events, hallucinations, and getting lost while driving. After these issues began to multiply, her family took her to the Center for Healthy Aging, an adult geriatric clinic where she was evaluated and diagnosed her with cortical dementia. Understanding that dementia is not a specific disease allows us to look at how dementia affects an individual’s intellectual/social abilities and daily functioning. Cortical and subcortical dementia as two main categories have allowed experts to treat for a better prognosis. With cortical dementia, the cerebral cortex is affected meaning “the outer layer” of the brain. (Nordqvist) The cerebral cortex is vital for cognitive processes, such as language and memory. With subcortical dementia, a deeper part of the brain becomes affected. There is no cure for dementia. However, there are medications and cognitive training to help slow its progression. The drugs that are approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration are called cholinesterase inhibitors. These drugs – Aricept, Exelon, and Razadyne are drugs that work by boosting levels of a chemical messenger involved in memory and judgment. (Staff) As well as slowing the breakdown of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is important for the formation of memories. This neurotransmitter is reduced...