What is called dementia?

Since the "anosognosia" of President Chirac, the public has discovered the esoteric language of neurologists. The term dementia, however, sums up all of these diseases that terrorize our aging world.

Often come back in the language of doctors the terms of "mixed dementia " andAlzheimer's disease at a moderately severe stage ". One way to recognize the nature of evil. Not his origin. Formerly the reality was more raw: one spoke of spoils, thus arranging all the disorders of the memory in the same drawer "fourretout" of the old age. The medically correct now prefers to speak of "dementia", forgetting that there is, pinned to this term in everyday language, the notion of furious madness, which has nothing to do with the gradual and often peaceful installation of the disease.

Inescapable reduction of brain function

However, whatever the label attached to all these symptoms, we witness helpless, reduced brain function, language, attention and especially memory, which will affect life and lead to a loss of autonomy. These are just the causes that differentiate the diagnosis: in Alzheimer's, a kind of glue paralyzes the connections inside the brain. In vascular dementia, the blood vessels, which feed this brain, shrink, probably because of atherosclerosis. We talk about stroke when the process is brutal, vascular dementia when it is progressive.

Treat according to causes

This search for causes is of considerable importance so as not to miss out on another disease that simulates this state of dementia. Nothing is more like a severe depressive than a dementia during installation. The slow descent of alcoholism also gives similar symptoms. The labeling of a squeezed doctor may be dramatic because in one case - depression - the treatment is effective and definitive; in the other, Alzheimer's, we can, at best, delay the onset of the disease by a few months.

Beyond diagnostic errors, medicine has to be precise. To detect early, not to give drugs that delay (a little) the entry into the disease, but that curiously have just been derestricted while there is no alternative, or simply offer a right ... That of knowing , that of not wasting time to realize a last dream, to have one last substantive conversation, that of transmitting. And then, a few months of winning at this period of life ... it's eternity.

Make the diagnosis as soon as possible

There is no unstoppable test to confirm the diagnosis with certainty. The reason why doctors, even when they are almost certain, speak of "probable Alzheimer's disease" or "mixed dementia". In case of dementia, it is the modifications of some details of the daily life which will alert the entourage and allow this screening. The family doctor can, then, help himself to a consultation in a center specializing in memory, and reassure all those who - misinformed - are worried, at the age of fifty, before the loss of a bunch of keys or forgetting an appointment. There are two very different reasons for these unintended acts.

The most logical is, undoubtedly, the lack of attention that does not allow us to remember. A small concentration effort makes it easy to reconstruct the story. In Alzheimer's disease, on the other hand, there is a mechanism, now unknown, that prevents the memory from being printed on our hard disk, which nevertheless works perfectly well.

Video: Mayo Clinic Study Using Structural MRI May Help Accurately Diagnose Dementia Patients (January 2020).