Neurodegenerative diseases consist of wide range of disorders, characterized by the progressive degeneration or death of nerve cells. It affects nerve tissue and causes different neuropsychological manifestations as well. It is an umbrella term for a range of conditions which particularly affect the neurons in the human brain.
Few of the different types of neurodegenerative diseases are listed below:
The cause of neurodegenerative diseases is currently unknown, but genetic and environmental factors have been shown to play a vital role in their development. Age is one of the major risk factor that is common between all types of neurodegenerative disease as it progresses at older ages commonly.
Dementia can be grouped based on the part of brain being affected. it is roughly true that the earliest symptoms in "cortical" dementia include difficulty with high-level behaviors such as memory, language, problem-solving and reasoning; these functions tend to be less impaired in "subcortical" dementia.
Alzheimer's is a chronic neurodegenerative disease. It is the most common form of dementia and accounts for 60 to 80% of dementia cases. It causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. Symptoms usually develop slowly and get worse over time, gradually become severe enough to interfere with day to day work. People with Alzheimer's live an average life of eight years after the symptoms become visible. There is no current cure for Alzheimer's, but treatments for symptoms are available and the research is continued.
Vascular dementia, also known as multi-infarct dementia (MID) is the second most common cause of dementia in older people. It is a decline in thinking skills caused by conditions that block or reduce blood flow to the brain, depriving brain cells of vital oxygen and nutrients. Thinking problems also may begin as mild changes that worsen gradually as a result of multiple minor strokes or other conditions that affect smaller blood vessels, leading to cumulative damage.
Sudden post-stroke symptoms or changes includes: confusion, disorientation, trouble speaking, and vision loss. It is also difficult to diagnose so it's not easy to know exactly how many people suffer from vascular dementia. Hence early detection is important, as it can be at least partially preventable.
Simultaneous presence of abnormal characteristic of more than one type of dementia leads to mixed dementia. Sometimes physicians also call mixed dementia "Dementia — multifactorial." The coexistence of blood vessel problem that is linked to vascular dementia and deposition of abnormal protein associated to Alzheimer’s results in development of mixed dementia.
Its symptoms depend upon the types of brain changes involved and the brain regions affected. Diagnosis of the disease comes after a brain autopsy. Mixed dementia needs more attention because the combination of two or more types of dementia-related brain changes may have a greater impact on the brain than one type alone.
Symptoms of dementia can vary greatly. People with dementia suffer with memory loss, problems in performing tasks or activities that were previously done without effort. These symptoms vary depending on the types and stages of the diagnosis. Psychosis and aggression also often accompany dementia.
The disease develops slowly in three general stages —early-stage, middle-stage, and late-stage.
In the early stage the person begins to show symptoms noticeable to the people around them and interferes with daily activities.
With the onset of middle stage the symptoms generally worsen and the person gradually enters the final stage in which individuals lose the ability to respond to their environment, to carry on a conversation and, eventually, to control movement.
A risk factor is any attribute that increases the likelihood of developing a disease. For dementia there are a mixture of factors – some that can be avoided and others that are impossible to control.
Some of the risk factors include age and genetics, medical conditions and lifestyle choices. A person’s risk of developing dementia depends upon a combination of all of these risk factors, such as age or the genes we have inherited from our parents, are beyond our control. Others are things we can change, such as our lifestyle choices – for example, whether we smoke and how much we exercise.
There is no sure way to absolutely prevent the development of dementia instead different activities have been identified which might decrease the risk. These include maintaining normal blood pressure, normal cholesterol, and normal blood sugars.
Staying physically active, avoiding tobacco use or excess alcohol intake, maintaining a healthy weight, and preventing head injuries are also recommended. Researchers have also suggested that people with low levels of vitamin D in their blood are more likely to develop Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia.
There is no one test to identify if someone has dementia. Doctors diagnose dementia based on a careful medical history, a physical examination, laboratory tests, and the characteristic changes in thinking, day-to-day activities and behavior associated with each type.
It is difficult to determine the exact type of dementia because the symptoms are very similar and brain changes of different dementias can overlap.
Diagnosis can be aided by:
Treatment of dementia depends on its cause. In most of the cases there is no cure and no treatment that slows or stops its progression. Memory treatment has a great impact on dementia patients. It utilizes past frequencies and urge patients to compose and clarify past rates which help in keeping up psychological wellness. Physical exercise has shown some benefits in helping to maintain cognition. Staying engaged and participating in social events may also be helpful.
But there are drug treatments that may temporarily improve symptoms. Ultimately, the path to effective new treatments for dementia is through increased research funding and increased participation in clinical studies.
Clinical trials are experiments carried out at clinical research. It can be conducted in people to explore whether a medical strategyor treatment is safe and effective.
There are two types of Alzheimer's treatment trials:
Scientists are making great efforts in identifying potential new ways to help diagnose, treat, and even prevent Alzheimer’s and related dementias. Without clinical trials, there can be no better treatments, no prevention and no cure for neurological disease.
Caring of person with dementia is a difficult task both for families and caregivers. Individual with dementia have progressive brain disorder and memory loss, which makes them difficult to do daily activities. They need support and care.
Caregiver work as a helper or guide in the initial stages of the disease. They provide basic care to the patient, including assistance with bathing, dressing, and going to the bathroom. This is needed both to aid in caring for the patient and to give the caregiver some intermittent relief. Several associations are there which are often helpful in completing these tasks.
Dementia is a syndrome with eccentric memory loss and impaired ability to recall events from the past often characterized by Alzheimer's disease. Animal models for dementia or Alzheimer is important to think about the human phenotype and what is being modeled in terms of the animal phenotype. Animal models of dementia, based on the genetics, replicate at least some of the pathology.
Researchers have been successful at modeling very specific aspects of Alzheimer in the mouse for instance plaques, tangles. Multiple approaches have been adopted to create reliable animal models ranging from rodents to non-human primates, where the animals are exposed to a predetermined injury or causing genetic ablation across specific regions of brain suspected to affect learning functions.
There are numerous ways to categories interventions in dementia care, for instance, by the kind of treatment approach used. The chief grouping is by the therapeutic goal, with three considerable spheres recommended: the maintenance of function, including cognitive functions, the management of behaviors that challenge and the reduction of comorbid emotional disorders.
The range of non-pharmacological ‘interventions’ in dementia care is ample and would include the everyday interactions of cares with the person suffering from dementia, the effect of the physical and social conditions and all manner of ‘therapies’, ranging from art sessions to contact with animals.
Dementia is a progressive, irreversible decline in cognition that, by definition, impacts on a patient pre-existing level of functioning. The clinical syndrome of dementia has several etiologies of which Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most common.
Drug development in AD is based on evolving pathophysiological theory. Disease modifying approaches include the targeting of amyloid processing, aggregation of tau, insulin signaling, neuro-inflammation and neurotransmitter dysfunction, with efforts thus far yielding abandoned hopes and ongoing promise. Reflecting its dominance on the pathophysiological stage the amyloid cascade is central to many of the emerging drug therapies.