Dementia: Why You Should Have Read Good Books Lately
There’s no cure for dementia. But a study recently published in the journal Neurology found evidence to suggest reading, writing and playing games throughout your life can slow the disease's progress. Dr. Kevin Conner, a neurologist and the director of the Stroke Center at Texas Health Arlington Memorial hospital, explains why in this edition of Vital Signs.
Causes, symptoms and treatment of Dementia:
There are several situations that could cause dementia:
- Diseases that cause degeneration or loss of nerve cells in the brain such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and Huntington's.
- Diseases that affect blood vessels, such as stroke, which can cause a disorder known as multi-infarct dementia.
- Toxic reactions, like excessive alcohol or drug use.
- Nutritional deficiencies, like vitamin B12 and folate deficiency.
- Infections that affect the brain and spinal cord, such as AIDS dementia complex and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.
- Certain types of hydrocephalus, an accumulation of fluid in the brain that can result from developmental abnormalities, infections, injury, or brain tumors.
- Head injury -- either a single severe head injury or chronic smaller injuries that often occur from boxing.
- Illnesses other than in the brain, such as kidney, liver, and lung diseases, can all lead to dementia.
Which Dementias Are Treatable?
- Dementia due to long-term substance abuse.
- Tumors that can be removed.
- Subdural hematoma, accumulation of blood beneath the outer covering of the brain as a result of a broken blood vessel, usually caused by head injury.
- Normal-pressure hydrocephalus.
- Metabolic disorders, such as a vitamin B12 deficiency.
- Hypothyroidism, a condition that results from an underactive thyroid.
- Hypoglycemia, a condition that results from low blood sugar.
What Are Some of the Untreatable Causes of Dementia?
- Alzheimer's disease.
- Multi-infarct dementia (Dementia due to multiple small strokes).
- Dementias associated with Parkinson's disease and similar disorders.
- AIDS dementia complex.
- Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), a quickly progressing and fatal disease that consists of dementia and muscle twitching and spasm.