The Abicana information site - About Altzheimers disease and other dementia, advices to hinder and help for dementia and other poor mental function.


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Information about various forms of dementia and decreased brain function

Generally about dementia

Dementia is reduction in cognitive, sensorial and emotional brain functions, like logical thinking , memory and and proper recogition of things seen, heard or felt with other senses. Dementia often occur together with impairment of body coordination, paralyses or other disturbances due to lack of nervous controle. Many syndoms attacking the brain will give dementia as the first symptom. Later lack of body controle will also often occure.

Senile dementia is a common name for all types of dementia that occur in high age. Alzheimer's disease is one of these. A blending of several of these syndroms can occur in the same patient. Dementia is often slowly developing. It does not allways delibitate a person totally. It is also often possible to rehabilitate a person suffering from dementia by proper training, good nutrition and other means.

A person suffering from dementia will often do not care to get a good enough nutrition or to drink enough. The malnutrition and dehydration thus caused will add new symptoms and aggravate the symptoms of dementia. Caring for proper nutrition will often by itself dramatically improve the condition of the patient. Rehabilitation with functional training can also improve the condition significantly.

Some in depth knowledge about Altzheimer's disease

The symptoms of Altzheimer's disease

The disease often starts by lack of energy and spontaneity, minor memory losss and mood swings. Gradually more typical symptoms develop:

- Confusion.

- Disturbances in short-term memory.

- Problems with attention and concentration.

- Problems with time and spatial orientation .

- Personality changes.

- Language difficulties, difficulties with finding word and expressions

- Unexplained mood swings.

The affected person will for a long time be aware of his reduced abilities, and he will often by himself compensate for them by practial measures. The memory of things from the period before the disease sat in, is not affected before late in the progression.

Eventually the pasient looses all mental orientation regarding space, time and circumstances, and he will also loose the control over his body functions.

The causes and mechanisms of Altzheimer's disease

The causes of Altzheimers is partially unknown, but there may be a long term virus infection. The cause also has a strong heriditary component. There is also an important lifestyle and environmental component. People that use their brain much for intellectual work, like people with high education has less chance of developing Altzheimer, som underuse of the brain is a causative factor. Head injury also is a partially causing factor.

The mechanisms leading to the symptoms are however partly known. Fragments of protein molecules are deposited within the brain cells. These fragments will disturb the function of the cells. Eventuelly the cell dies and the fragments get stacked between the other cells and are seen as spots, or plaques, in a microscopic preparate. The loss of cells also make areas in the brain shrink.

For a long time there was a traditional thinking that vascular problems like atherosclerosis in the blood supplay to the brain caused Altzheimer, and this thinking is still allive in the common population and even among health personal. This is not true. Vascular problems can however in seldome cases lead to dementia, but that dementia is principally different from Altzheimer.

Head trauma, diabetes and metabolic syndrome increase the chances of developing Altzheimer's disease. High cholesterole level is a significant risk factor for Altzheimers disease.

Heavy consume of alchohole seems to increase the risk of getting Altzheimer's disease. Such consume can also produce dementia of non-Altzheimer-type. However, a moderate regular consume of alcholhole mey help to prevent dementia of all types.

Treatment of Altzheimer's disease

There is no curing treatment. Standard treatment has the aim of helping the affected person in his daily life. There has been some success with reeducation of persons with Altzheimers so that they manage their daily life better.

There are however some preliminary attempts going on in Sweden that uses a vaccine against beta-amyloid, the substance depositing itself between the brain cells by alzheimer. The attempts so far seem promising. Still this vaccine do not attack the core causes of the disease, but a component in the disease process.

Good nutritional status helps to improve the abilities of a person suffering from Altzheimers, and help slow the disease progression. The dementia often causes the patient to eat improperly, and symptoms of malnutrition may be confused by symptoms of the Altzheimer.

Research has shown that people drinking coffee each dey has a reduced risk of getting Altzheimers. Probably coffe also slows down the progression of the disease.

Also by this disease there is a combat between the disease process leading to deposit of protein fragments and cell destruction and renovation processes. The brain also has some capacity of growing new nerve cells from primitive stem cells. Obviously also these processes are dependent upon a good nutrition and can be stimulated by stimulating the blood flow in the brain so that the nutrient and oxygen reaches all parts of the brain properly.

Vascular dementia

After Alzheimer's disease are vascular changes in the brain the main cause of Dementia. By vascular dementia areas of the brain are destroyed or loose function due to lack of blood supply and thereby lack of oxygen and nutrients. This can occure beacuse of repeated blood clots that reach the brain from elsewhere in the body or form at the site. Each infarct make a little area dye. Another incidence that can occur and lead to vascular dementia are ruptures of a blood vessel that causes bleeding and destruction of brain tissue. It can also occur beacuse of widespread atherosclerosis which develops gradually in the blood vessels supplying the brain or inside the brain itself. The atherosclerosis makes the brain suffer from lack of nutrients and oxygen but do not cause destruction of brain areas before it is very heavily developed. It will however cause functional impairments after some time. The atherosclerosis will also make blood clots more easily form and fasten and cause sudden destruction of brain areas. Somtimes a greater area in the brain is destroyed suddenly by a blood clot or a rupture of a blood vessel. In these cases the pationt will suffer from heavy symptoms like loss of consciousness, paralysis and sensory loss. Such an event, called a stroke, will often cause dementia afterwards. What are symptoms the patient will have will depend on area affected in the brain. Vascular dementia develop typically with sudden deteriorization of cognitive functions many times with some time interval between each time. The processes and incidences leading to vascular dementia is often caused by high blood pressure (hypertension), diabetes (diabetes), smoking, general narrowing of the arteries (arteriosclerosis) and high cholesterol. If a CT or SPECT-examination, one can see the areas of the brain that is damaged. Vascular dementia can gradually alleviate because the brain repairs its functions by forming new connections between healthy brain cells. Possibly the brain can also gradually replace lost nerve cells by new. Such repair and regain of functions can be induces or accelarated by proper training procedures and by proper nutrition.

Frontotemporal dementia

This type of dementia is caused by the destruction of sites in the brain's frontal lobes. It affects as a rule, people in 50-70 years, and has as a main symptom change in behavior and or personality. Pick's disease is often used as a designation for a dementia that primarily affects frontal lobe functions.

Lewy-body dementia

This type of dementia was first described by the doctor Frederic Lewy at the beginning of the 1900s. The symptoms depend on which areas are affected, but typically there are impaired memory and attention, and impaired coordination. Hallucinations are not uncommon, especially in early course. Parkinson-like moves can occur.

These patients can work perfectly in a conversation with several long sentences regarding one issue, but with other subjects and in other moments they seem totally helpless or confused.

Pathologically is seen the formation of proteins inside brain cells, which then disrupts the cell's function. It is often a seamless blend of Lewy-body-dementia and Alzheimer's disease. Cellular changes in Lewy-body dementia have much in common with those seen in patients with Parkinson's disease.

Wernicke Korsakov's disease

Wernicke Korsakov's disease are late damages after significant alcohol abuse. Since high consume of alcohol creates brain cell death or destruction of the connections between brain cells, the amount of brain mass is significantly reduced. this can be seen on CT as an increase of the volume of the cntral fluid-filled cavities in the brain, the cerebral ventricles.

Short-term memory will be significant redused which causes practical problems, and the patianet may be confused. By the condition there may also be psychotic symptoms. This condition is treated initially with Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) which can be given in tablet form.

Binswanger's disease

Binswanger's disease is a rare form of dementia, caused by damage in the deep white matter due to lack of oxygen (ischemic stroke). Typical symptoms are impaired memory, impaired intellectual functioning and changes in mood. The condition is associated with high blood pressure, and even if the physical damage is difficult to reverse, good blood pressure control have a positive impact on the disease.

Growing Water Head

By this condition in which the pressure in the brain increases due to accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid. This can lead to memory loss, poor balance, incontinence, and lethargy. This condition is believed to apply to about 5% of age dementia. The condition usually affects at the age of 60 years.

The condition can in many cases be cured or managed whole or in part by adding a drain from the brain to other body cavities. The operation is regarded as uncomplicated and take ½ - 1 hour.

The condition and the treatment was discovered by Harvard in 1965.

With increasing life expectancy is expected to increase the number of instances, and assuming a doubling by 2050. Many cases that could be helped are probably unrecogized, and meny persons that could be treated are therefore left with impaired cognitive and other central nervous functions.

Lifestyle factors that couteract Alzheimer's and other dementia

There are certein lifestyle factors that seem to prevent Altzheimer's or other types of dementia or counteract the consequences of the disease process.

Leading an intellectually active life with daily activities that exercie the brain has a strong influence upon the chance of developing a debilitating altzheimers disease. Perhaps such activities do not change the basic disease process, but it trains the uninjured structures to get stronger so that they can take over tasks from injured tissue. Perhaps such activities also stimulate reordering processes in the brain so that waste in form of plaque is broken down and removed and destroyed structures are replaced by new nerve cell connections and even new nerve cells.

Being married or having a partner during the middle ages of life seems to reduce the risk of getting Altzheimer's disease.

Continuelly ruminating or ponding about ones own problems in life is not good for many purposes. However, such a tendency seems to help prevent Altzheimers disease. Probably such a habit sets the brain in an allertness state that stimulate regeneration of injured tissue or stimulate the immune system in the brain to remove vira causing Altzheimers. Probably the way of thinking about one's own problems is significant. Thinking about the problems in a constructive way and seeng them as a challange that can be solved is probably more useful than constantly thinking about them in a helpless and depressive way.

A lifestyle that hinder high cholesterole levels and hinder the complex imballance called methabolic syndrome will reduce the tendency to get Altzheimers. Such a lifestyle comprize such factors as low fat intake, moderate consume of carbohydrates, intake of carbohydrates that are slowly absorbed in the digestive process, enough proteins, the right ballance of fatty acids in the fat one still consumes, the right amount of vitamins and minerals and regular training.

Among physical activities, highly aerobic exercises seem to give the best protection against Altzheimers. These activities are such as running, cycling, ball play and swimming.

If you drink coffeee regularly you get a lowev risk of developing Alzheimer. A regular moderate consume of alchohole may also lower the risk of this disease, but a heavy alcohole consume will increase the risk of dementia.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease in the rectal weins or another area. This information is nutritional in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. This notice is required by the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.