De­men­tia and brain shrink­age

Jamaica Gleaner - - SHIPPING INDUSTRY -

AN EPI­DEMIC is loom­ing of a con­di­tion called de­men­tia in which there is a patho­log­i­cal de­cline in men­tal func­tion. Re­searchers es­ti­mate that the num­ber of peo­ple suf­fer­ing from it world­wide will dou­ble within the next two decades.

The word de­men­tia lit­er­ally means ‘with­out a mind’ and this prob­lem oc­curs in sev­eral ner­vous sys­tem dis­or­ders. The in­fa­mous Alzheimer’s dis­ease (AD) has be­come the most com­mon cause of de­men­tia.

De­men­tia im­pairs how one thinks and how the brain func­tions and lim­its the suf­ferer’s abil­ity to per­form the nor­mal ac­tiv­i­ties of daily life. Mem­ory, par­tic­u­larly short­term, per­son­al­ity, rea­son and logic suf­fer par­tic­u­larly. Be­cause there are many other causes of de­men­tia, a care­ful me­dial eval­u­a­tion is nec­es­sary be­fore AD can be di­ag­nosed.


The brain is made of bil­lions of nerve cells called neu­rons. In AD, these cells are rapidly destroyed and the brain shrinks.

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