• Deterioration of Cognitive Abilities in Elder People

    Existing documents show that our cognitive abilities decline as we age. However, aside from age, other factors that are attributed to cognitive decline include poor nutrition, lack of physical activities, and lack of brain exercise. In women, deterioration of cognitive ability can be a side effect of post menopausal stage, a risk factor caused by changes in the hormonal balance. According to a study, people who have had high fructose diet are also at risk for developing cognitive problems as they age.

    In older people, the most common cause of deterioration of cognitive abilities is associated with genes or the development of diseases, like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

    Dementia

    This type of disease is characterized by the loss of brain function which primarily affects the memory, thinking, language, judgment, and behavior. It can also occur along with other diseases, such as Huntington’s disease, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and Pick’s disease. The cause of dementia can be traced back to the lifestyle of a person in his or her younger years.  For instance, an elderly individual may experience dementia because of chronic alcohol use, drug use, or the use of strong medicines, such as cimetadine and other cholesterol lowering medications. Other factors that can lead to dementia include brain tumors, brain injury, changes in the blood sugar, sodium, and calcium levels.

    Alzheimer’s disease

    This disease is a type of brain disorder wherein the specialized cells of the brain that are responsible for processing information stop functioning properly. Severe stages of Alzheimer’s disease affect the person’s ability to carry out daily activities and the person may start forgetting names of love ones and their own names. Alzheimer’s disease is closely related to mild cognitive impairment (MCI) which is a more severe case of memory loss. The symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease start from having simple memory loss. However, as the disease advances, a person may experience confusion, irritability and aggressions, frequent mood swings, trouble with language, and long term memory loss.

    Additional Resources:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2671785/

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001748/

    http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/alzheimersdisease.html

    Categories: DNA & Genetics

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