Understanding Dementia

Dementia is progressive loss of cognitive function, marked by memory problems and confused thinking. The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer's Disease, a fatal condition that affects more than 5 million Americans. Dementia most often occurs during old age, but is a more severe form of decline than that of normal aging.

Recent Posts on Dementia

How Does Exercise Protect Your Brain from Degeneration?

Two new studies have identified various ways that exercise protects the brain from degeneration as we age.

Robin Williams Was Driven to Suicide by Dementia

By Temma Ehrenfeld on November 07, 2015 Open Gently
The beloved comic died of a disease that possibly could have been managed.

Better Brain Health Is Possible Without Exercise Fanaticism

If you hate to exercise, I have good news. A new study has found that you don't have to be an exercise fanatic to reap the brain benefits of low-to-moderate aerobic fitness.

Understanding a Mysterious Disease

In commemoration of National Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month, 5 important things to learn about this mysterious illness...

An Optimistic Study of Learning in Older Brains

By Garth Sundem on November 04, 2015 Brain Trust
A Columbia University study shows that the learning of healthy older brains may depend more on motivation than ability.

Aid-in-Dying Laws Still Leave Out Many

By Robin Marantz Henig on November 02, 2015 Cusp
The new California aid-in-dying law, like similar laws in Oregon, Washington, Montana, and Vermont, leaves out a wide range of people who might want to be covered: those with progressive debilitating diseases that don't have an obvious 6-months-to-live prognosis, and people with dementia, the fastest-growing health threat in the U.S. There may be no good way around this.

Making Exercise a Habit Prevents Age-Related "Brain Drain"

A new study reports that the structural deterioration of the brain associated with old age can be prevented by long-term aerobic exercise that commences in midlife or earlier.

One Woman’s Suicide Reignites Right-to-Die Debate

Assisted suicide relieves unmanageable suffering for some

How Could "Brain Observatories" Help the BRAIN Initiative?

A group of leading American neuroscientists are calling for the creation of centralized "brain observatories" that could revolutionize the ability of scientists across the United States to research the human brain.

The Big Tent of Music Therapy

By Dean Olsher M.A., MT-BC on October 19, 2015 A Sound Mind
People ask me all the time, “How does music therapy work?” At first I start preparing an answer about its effectiveness. Quickly, though, it becomes clear they’re asking a question that seems simple but is in fact just as complicated.

Does a Western Diet Shrink the Brain?

A healthy diet makes for a healthy brain, while a poor diet might actually be killing off neurons, leading to brain shrinkage and a greater risk of depression and dementia.

When I Couldn't Say Goodbye

It was shocking to feel so typical.

You're Not My Real Mother (Part 1)

What if the person closest to you suddenly felt like a different person? Individuals suffering from Capgras delusions believe that a loved one has been replaced by an imposter. Here's why.

Worldwide Alzheimer's Day: Full Circle on the Irish Sea

By Greg O'Brien on September 21, 2015 On Pluto
“What scares me about this disease, is the loss of memory and the inability to carry a conversation. The brain just isn’t processing; it’s stalled. It’s embarrassing. So I often avoid conversation. I retreat into myself, and at times deal with rage. People who know me say, ‘He’s changed a lot.’”

My Dad Deserves to Die

By Peter Edelstein M.D. on September 18, 2015 Patient Power
My Dad deserves to die. Unfortunately, California's new assisted suicide legislation won't let him...

Lost With Dementia

By Mario D Garrett PhD on September 14, 2015 iAge
What is the best strategy for finding people with dementia who get lost?

Legal Consequences of Dementia

By Mario D Garrett PhD on September 09, 2015 iAge
In addition to the personal changes that come with being diagnosed with dementia there are other broader consequences including medical, legal and financial considerations. A diagnosis is a crude awakening that changes your life.

Alzheimer's Disease as Time Travel

Alzheimier's disease has given me the opportunity to travel through time with my mother, albeit randomly.

Creative Rehabilitation, Part 4: Dementia

By Jenni Ogden Ph.D. on August 22, 2015 Trouble in Mind
Creative and individualized strategies to help a person with dementia retain some dignity and reasons for living are feasible in the early and mid-way stages of the disease, and support and therapy can help family members cope when their loved one is alive, as well as make the grieving process less painful.

The Judy Fund: Fighting To Keep The Memories

By Greg O'Brien on August 12, 2015 On Pluto
It is the spirit of The Judy Fund that offers the greatest promise of igniting awareness to the staggering number of women afflicted with Alzheimer’s.

The Boob in the Boob Tube

So who is the boob in the boob tube?

The Persistent Stigma of Hearing Loss

By Katherine Bouton on August 06, 2015 What I Hear
Twenty-five years after the passage of the Americans With Disabilities Act, the stigma of hearing loss persists. Some thoughts about why that might be.

Dementia, Later-Life Cognition and Bilingualism

A pioneering study that showed that bilingualism has a protective effect on the onset of dementia came out eight years ago. Since then, further studies have shown similar results but some have not. This said, it now seems clear that bilingualism, along with other factors, does have a positive effect on later-life cognition.

Still Alice? Still Alzheimer’s

By Joe Pierre M.D. on July 31, 2015 Psych Unseen
Is there anything nice to say about Alzheimer's disease?

Sherlock Holmes: The Case of Memory and Aging

Sherlock Holmes is the quintessential detective, but what happens to his memory and his mind in old age? The new movie Mr. Holmes, as well as current research on cognitive aging, allow for an important case study on memory and aging.

How Does Physical Fitness Improve Your Brain Function?

New research has identified specific benefits of physical fitness on brain structure and function.

A Waking Dream

By Greg O'Brien on July 06, 2015 On Pluto
The barkers have started selling new cures. Praise the Lord and pass the Aricept!

The Neuroscience of Recalling Old Memories

Neuroscientists have identified how our brain encodes multiple aspects of a life event into a singular memory for later recollection.

The Neuroscience of Forming New Memories

In a breakthrough study, an international team of neuroscientists has identify how new memories are formed by individual neurons.

Digital Dementia

Action video games improve low level attention and visuospatial memory, but is there a link between gaming and a more global loss of memory reminiscent of dementia?