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Memory Disorders

Any illness, even the flu, will have the ability to impair one's memory. When the immune system is fighting illness, or when someone is experiencing pain, it is more difficult to concentrate, and therefore to be able to remember things. Diseases, disorders, or medical conditions that affect memory loss number approximately fifty according to some researchers.

• Many Hypotheses
• Mutations and chromosomal changes accumulate with age
• Errors in duplication occur as we age due to damage from environmental causes.
• Genetic program for aging is part of the development process
• Cells can only divide a limited number of times
• Others

Neurological Changes
• Most people show mild memory and cognitive decreases as they age.
• Reductions in:
• Visual-Spatial ability
• Verbal Fluency
• Overall General Intelligence
• Speed of Problem Solving
• Others

Physiological Changes
• Posture is less erect than younger adults
• Stride length is shorter
• Reflexes are slower
• Sleep less and wake more frequently
• (REM is also decreased)
• Brain weight may decrease
• Enzymes that synthesize many neurotransmitters decrease
• Others

• Most reductions do not seriously impair your
• quality of life

Senile Dementias
• Involves loss of memory and cognition severe enough to interfere with social or occupational functioning
• Must show two things
• Memory loss
• Problems in
• Language Attention
• Problem solving Perception
• Judgment Others


Disorders That Cause Dementias
• Alzheimer’s Disease *
• Cerebrovascular Disease *
• Parkinson’s Disease
• Alcoholism
• Brain Tumors
• Vitamin Deficiencies
• Thyroid Disease
• Metabolic Disorders
• Other
* Most Common

Alzheimer’s Disease
• Most common cause of Dementia
• Affects 7% of people older than 65
• Affects 40% of people older than 80
• Five million people have Alzheimer’s disease
• Next 25 years, expected to reach 15 Million
• Cost will increase too
• Get a long term care plan
• Most symptoms occur about age 70
• May develop earlier
• May be a family history


• Problems with memory
• Problem solving
• Language problems
• Calculation problems
• Visual Spatial Problems
• Judgment Problems
• Abnormal Behavior
• Some develop Psychotic Symptoms
• Hallucinations
• Delusions
• Others

• In all patient’s
• Mental and physical functioningbecomes impaired
• No real test available to detect the disease while living. Several underclinical testing.
• Diagnosis usually done at autopsy

Brain Damage Areas
• Neocortex
• Entorhinal area
• Hippocampal formation
• Amygdala
• Anterior Thalamus
• Brain Stem Structures
• Others

• Damage to entorhinal cortex, hippocampus, and medial temporal gyrus results in memory loss and attention deficits.
• Damage in limbic cortex, amygdala, thalamus and others result in behavioral and emotional problems

Cell Damage
• Damage to
• Glutaminergic pyramidal neurons
• Interneurons
• Hippocampal pyramidal neurons
• Cytoskeleton is often damaged
• Often see neurofibrillary tangles
• Impairs axonal transport and causesother problems
• Later the cell dies

Amyloid Deposits
• Often occur in Alzheimer’s patients
• Is a classic marker for the disease
• Occur throughout the brain and in blood
vessels as well.

• No cure
• Treat symptomatically
• Newer treatments may be more positive

• Vitamin E appears to delay onset of
some symptoms by about 7 months

• Try to identify early
• Get plenty of help and support
• Have a long term care plan in place
• Will impact many of you
• Be Prepared

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