Dementia: after age 50

Dementia after age 50.  There is no topic of more concern to many of us than that of loss of mind or memory as we  age.  It is one thing to be diagnosed with a physical illness but to lose one's mental abilities is something else...something most of us dread.

BUT information, solid information has always been one of the best remedies for fear. And where dementia is concerned there is an abundance of   information....rock solid scientific information that can show:

1. the best methods of avoiding mental losses as we age

2. what might be done to slow losses once they have begun

3. accommodations that can allow us to retain daily functioning and independence even after our memory or mind begins to fade.

4 retaining a meaningful life even if our minds and memories have been curtailed.

This topic of dementia in old age is a personal one from me. Some 20 years ago I was in an auto accident. An uninsured drive ran a red light and crashed into my car.  My head broke a window. 

I was taken to the local hospital emergency room where a physician stitched up some cuts and I was released. Later in the week I tried to return to work but it was clear something was wrong. I had headaches.  I could not think straight. My memory was not working well.

I made an appointment with my doctor who referred me to a neurologist. Testing was ordered and after those tests I received the diagnosis: Trumatic brain injury (TBI).

I took some time off from work. I continued to see the neurologist for about a year and EVERY time I saw her she would say, "You will develop Alzheimers as you age"... . a scary thought for a woman who earned her living by her brains (college professor).

That incident served as my 'wake up call', my 'motivator'. As soon as I was able to read (I had to relearn reading and  other skills). I began reading about  Alzheimers and other forms of dementia in old age.  (Because I taught college I had easy access to scientific research studies.)  And what was good news for me is that I soon learned that  there are a number of things that can prevent or delay the onset of brain issues as we age.. 

I also learned that that there are things we can be do to reverse  or cope with the symptoms of memory loss or the loss of thinking  abilities as we age.  It is my goal to share this knowledge and to encourage those using this web site to read, to learn and to share what they learn about this important topic.

Recent research: Dementia

Recent research in the area of mind and memory has produced new information that can encourage all of us.  There are many studies.  Some of cultures where  senile dementia (what scientists call dementia in old age) is almost UNKNOWN.  There are also some studies of specific populations in the United States that have few cases of dementia in old age.

One of these studies, a long term study of group of Roman Catholic Sisters called, The Nuns Study, is a major source of scientific information about 'senile dementia'. 

This study  followed the members of The Schools Sisters of Notre Dame  through out their lives and then the sisters had agreed to  autopsies of their brains after their deaths. These autopsies revealed  that some of the sisters' brains showed abundant neurofibrillary tangles and senile plaques that have been found as  typical of Alzheimers disease.... BUT in life, the women with such brains  had no sign of mental loss in their old age. Note: NO SIGN .

There are other instances of elders who exhibited  early signs of memory or cognition loss but who show no further progress in losses. Some even seem to reverse mental losses already exhibited.

To me all this is encouraging.  If you are concerned about your mind or memory as you age,  I suggest that you to read every page in this section. Some things listed are so simple, you can start them immediately.  BUT as with all things related to your health, I of course, suggest you discuss any changes you are considering with your licensed health care provider.  

NOTE: I have listed the sources of the scientific and medical articles I have used so that you can bring those references to you health care provider. S/he has been trained to base all recommendations on scientific evidence so showing them scientific sources is really important.

And I want to add a personal note. It has been decades since I was told I would develop Alzheimers but although at 82 I am finding some issues with my short term memory (Now WHERE did I put that letter) I am still able to read research, work on this web site and enjoy my life . (Yes, I incorporated a number of mind/memory things into my daily life and still continue them)

More articles will be added on this topic in the next few weeks. Today is 5/3/2018

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