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 which accompanies normal aging.

Recent Posts on Dementia

Ménage à Trois: Sex, Dementia and the Law

By Mario D Garrett PhD on April 24, 2015 in iAge
The law will need to re-evaluate the legal standing of someone with dementia. The crude methods of conservatorship and declaration of incompetence cannot deal with the fragile nature of relationships, and sexual relationship, among patients diagnosed with dementia.

Men Lose Their Memory Faster With Age

By Temma Ehrenfeld on April 23, 2015 in Open Gently
Men lose their memory faster than women.

Dementia and the "Obesity Paradox"

By Harriet Brown on April 23, 2015 in Brave Girl Eating
Why are we still surprised that obesity isn't all bad?

Dying, Demented, and Alone

Once upon a time in American medicine, you could usually rely on the presence of a spouse, family member, or friend to help make decisions for patients suffering from Alzheimer's disease. That is likely no longer going to be the case. The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently released a startling fact about a changing America: most people are single.

Newsflashes from Emotion Science

A few reflections on the themes that emerged from the second annual meeting of the Society for Affective Science, a new society dedicated to understanding our emotional lives.

Recent Links Between Food and Mood

By Gary L Wenk Ph. D. on April 08, 2015 in Your Brain on Food
A poor diet that was high in saturate fats and caloric levels lead to depression. Fortunately, it is never too late to take advantage of the benefits of a healthy diet.

What to Do When Life Is Short

Dual citizenship as a doctor and as a seriously ill patient had taught him that respectful communication is the bedrock of all medicine.

Lessening Alzheimer’s Discordance: Five Recommendations

Dealing with the differing views of the illness held by the person with Alzheimer's disease and the care partner is a challenging but critical task. Lessening this discordance enormously reduces care partner stress, and is valuable for the person with the disease, as well.

Alzheimer's Discordance and Family Discord

There is usually a significant difference between how the person with the disease sees (or doesn’t see) the symptoms of the disease, and how the care partner sees them. This “discordance” is one of the most distressing and difficult challenges care partners face in trying to cope with the illness.

Dragging Dead Bodies

Dragging around the dead bodies at work sure can wear you out! Here is some good advice.

Can We Reverse Cognitive Decline?

By Katherine Bouton on March 30, 2015 in What I Hear
Good brain health is the bottom line. Now we just have to figure out how to preserve that health in those with hearing loss.

Suicide or Mass Murder? : The Deliberate Downing of Flt 9525

By Stephen A Diamond Ph.D. on March 29, 2015 in Evil Deeds
What motivates suicidal mass killings like the deliberate downing of Germanwings Flt. 9525?

Let´s Go to the Movies

By Ana Nogales on March 26, 2015 in Family Secrets
Movies have the ability to change our attitude, how we think and feel, and even our values.

What Makes You Say You’re Lonely?

By Peter Toohey on March 26, 2015 in Annals of the Emotions
What does it mean to be lonely and how do say that you are lonely? Is language enough to describe it? Are you lonely just because you think you are lonely and say you are lonely? Or are specific circumstances required for there to be loneliness? What does loneliness mean for the animal and human brain? Is loneliness and the word “loneliness” common to all cultures?

Epigenetics and Memory

Want to increase your cognitive function? Eating the right foods can boost your brain power.

Why Childhood Stress Crimps Academic Performance

By Nigel Barber Ph.D. on March 18, 2015 in The Human Beast
Animals from an environment full of risk remain vigilant and avoid exploring their surroundings. This promotes survival but has the indirect consequence of reducing their cognitive ability. A similar pattern applies to humans and shows up as academic under performance.

Worrying About Dementia

By Temma Ehrenfeld on March 17, 2015 in Open Gently
Anxiety is a risk factor for dementia.

Grief, Loneliness, and Losing a Spouse

By Romeo Vitelli Ph.D. on March 16, 2015 in Media Spotlight
Sooner or later, every married couple will face the prospect of their relationship coming to an end, whether due to death or divorce. For those people dealing with the loss of a spouse, overcoming loneliness represents the greatest challenge in moving on with life afterward. A new study looks at how grief and loneliness are linked to depression in older adults.

Can Your Personality Influence Your Cognitive Ability?

By Kristine Anthis Ph.D. on March 15, 2015 in Who Am I?
Can being open to new experiences stave off dementia?

Music Probably Doesn't Make Kids Smarter. So What?

Music lessons probably don't make kids smarter. But they have lots of other benefits.

5 Ways to Motivate and Encourage Seniors

Caring for, and having successful relationships with older adults often require unique interpersonal skills and strategies.

18 Ways to Add Oomph to Your Everyday Activities

Physical exercise has many brain health benefits, and reduces the risk of mild cognitive impairment and dementia. But you don’t have to hit the gym to get your heart pumping! Here are 18 ways to add umph to your everyday activities.

Falling Down a Mountain May Make You a Genius

On Friday, September 13, 2002, Jason Padgett was attacked by two men as he was leaving a karaoke bar. He was struck twice on the back of the head and lost consciousness for a few moments. Afterwards he developed remarkable abilities. Jason's story is unique. But there are other less known cases of people who develop extraordinar abilities following brain injury or disease.

Meeting the Needs of the Alzheimer's Family

Addressing the concerns of Alzheimer's care partners and families is critical, but research would suggest that, too often, doctors are not meeting these needs.

Antidepressants: The Wrong Drug for the Problem?

By Katherine Bouton on March 08, 2015 in What I Hear
Widespread use of antidepressants among the elderly, including the antipsychotic Abilify. Widespread undiagnosed and untreated hearing loss in the same demographic. Could there be a link? Maybe patients should get a hearing test before doctors write the prescription for antidepressants.

When Compassion is the Best Medicine

What a brain disease strikes, friends and family need support for the patient and themselves.

Sleep and Waste Control

New research shows that brain waste products are cleared during sleep

The Color Yellow

By Greg O'Brien on March 02, 2015 in On Pluto
Yellow is also a color of angels, and in scripture it symbolizes a change for the better. My mom, who died of Alzheimer’s in a bruising battle with the disease, believed in angels. So do I, in the wake of my own diagnosis five years ago of Early Onset Alzheimer’s. Yellow—derived from the ancient Latin “Angelus,” translated “messenger” or “envoys”— resonates with peace.

Blank Spaces of Memory

By Bruce Poulsen Ph.D. on March 01, 2015 in Reality Play
Memory’s underpinnings have long been explored by artists and writers—from Klimt to Proust. Some contemporary works also deserve our attention.

What Do Scientists Know About Finding a Purpose in Life?

By Todd B Kashdan Ph.D. on February 24, 2015 in Curious?
Providing information on the science of a purpose in life. heavy, beautiful, and of paramount importance