Unit 365 - Understand the Process and Experience of Dementia

Topics: Alzheimer's disease, Traumatic brain injury, Neuron Pages: 7 (1934 words) Published: March 10, 2013
Unit 365


There are many different types of dementia and causes of dementia. The first cause is Alzheimer’s disease, which is caused by nerve cells dying in certain areas of the brain. This therefore also affects the connection between the affected nerve cell causing them to deteriorate. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia. Vascular dementia is the first form of dementia, which is caused by damage to the brain through deprivation of oxygenated blood. If areas of the brain are not getting oxygen then part of it will die causing the vascular dementia. Biswanger’s disease is another form of vascular dementia, in which the damage occurs to the blood vessels in the deep white matter of the brain. Often it is a result of long-term hypertension or high blood pressure and it affects people over the ago of 60. Another form of dementia, which is a rarer form, is Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD). This is caused by prion disease. Prions are proteins, which are found in mammals, and when these cluster together in the brain it causes the brain cells to die. Furthermore, when these cells die they leave holes in the brain called spongiosis.


The most common memory impairment experienced by individuals with dementia is short-term memory loss. However, the individuals may be able to remember things that happened many years ago. Other memory impairments could include:

Repeating conversations they have already had
Asking the same question in a short space of time
A difficulty in recognising people or remembering their names •Forgetting to take medication, possibly thinking they have already taken it •The inability to recall what they have had to eat or even forgotten they had eaten


There are many identified chemicals that are involved in the brain’s activity, however the following four are some of the most important relating to the process of memory and associated functions. The first is dopamine, which is the chemical that controls your body’s movements. If the brain is lacking in dopamine, then a person will not be able to move or control their movements very well. Furthermore, dopamine controls the flow of information from other areas of the brain, especially memory, attention and problem-solving tasks. The second is serotonin, which affects the mood, anxiety and aggression. This can be enhanced by using antidepressants. The third is acetylcholine, which controls activity in the areas of the brain that are connected with attention, learning and memory. The fourth is glutamte, which is vital for linking between neurons, which are the centre of learning and long-term memory. If these neurons are damaged because of any of the above chemicals not functioning correctly then they are not able to produce or transmit important chemicals, which are required for a person to fully function. These can also be spilt into the left and right side of the brain. Individuals with dementia that have damage to the neurons on the right side of the brain will have difficulty putting information together. However, individuals with dementia that have damage to the neurons on the left side of the brain tend to be affected by depression.


There are many other factors that can cause changes in individual’s conditions that may not attribute to dementia. These can include:

Brain Injury – this can be caused by an external trauma and it can result in short-term and long-term or permanent difficulties depending on the severity of the injury •Brain Tumour
Diet – Some foods can effect a person’s memory
Drug and Alcohol induced memory loss
Myalgic Encephalomyelitis
Medication – some prescribed medication can have side effects which can affect an individual’s memory •Encephlitis
Huntington’s Disease
Lack of sleep/insomnia
Lyme disease
Multiple Sclerosis
Parkinson’s disease


Each person is an individual and thus...
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