The term Mild Cognitive Impairment, or MCI, is increasingly being used to describe a syndrome of memory impairment that does NOT significantly impact daily activities and is not accompanied by declines in overall cognitive function. Researchers have found that between 6 and 25 percent of people with MCI progress on to Alzheimer’s, which has raised questions about whether MCI might represent some kind of “transitional stage” between normal aging and dementia.
Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common form of dementia, a group of brain disorders that impair a person’s mental functioning, especially memory, thinking, and behavior. The term dementia literally means loss of mentation or thinking. Dementia is a broad term which describes the loss of memory, intellect, rationality, social skills and normal emotional reactions. Most people with dementia are older, but it is important to remember that most older people do not get dementia.
Sporadic Alzheimer’s, also known as Late Onset Alzheimer’s, is the most common form of Alzheimer’s by far, and tends to occur much later in life than FAD. That is, it can affect adults of any age, but it usually occurs after age 65. This form Alzheimer’s can affect people who may or may not have a family history of the disease. There is currently no evidence that autosomal dominant inheritance of mutated genes causes Sporadic or Late Onset Alzheimer’s.
Familial Alzheimer’s Disease (FAD) is a very rare form of Alzheimers, and runs in very few families. If a parent has a specific mutated gene, then any children have a 50% chance of inheriting and developing the disease. The presence of the specific mutated gene means that the person will eventually develop Alzheimers disease, usually in their 40s or 50s. This form of Alzheimers affects a very small number of people.
It is highly likely that the Alzheimer’s results from a complex and interrelated combination of genetic and non-genetic factors. These so called risk factors influence a person’s risk to developing Alzheimer’s disease. Currently, each of these risk factors is the subject of a great deal of research around the world. Although cardiovascular risk factors, such as hypercholesterolaemia, hypertension, diabetes, and smoking, are associated with a higher risk of onset and course of Alzheimer’s, statins, which are cholesterol lowering drugs, have not been effective in preventing or improving the course of the disease.
Too much alcohol, particularly if associated with a diet deficient in thiamine (Vitamin B1) can lead to irreversible brain damage. This dementia is preventable. If people don’t drink, or they drink at a safe level, then they cannot develop Alcohol Related Dementia. The most vulnerable parts of the brain are those used for memory, and for planning, organizing and judgment, social skills and balance. If the individual stops drinking there may be some improvement.
A significant number of people diagnosed with dementia are found to have tiny spherical structures called Lewy bodies in the nerve cells of their brains. It is thought these may contribute to the death of brain cells. The symptoms of this form of dementia are often mild at the outset and can be extremely variable from day to day. Common symptoms include: Fluctuation in the condition Visual hallucinations
There are many different forms of dementia and each has its own causes. Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common form of dementia, accounting for between 50% and 70% of all dementias. The effects of the different types of dementia are similar, but not identical, as each one tends to affect different parts of the brain. Dementia, also referred to as senility, is a broad category of brain diseases that cause a long term and often gradual decrease in the ability to think and remember that is great enough to affect a person’s daily functioning.