Posts Tagged ‘Dementia’

Power of Song: The Effects of Music Therapy on Dementia

November 13th, 2022 No comments

In the US alone, there are more than 3 million cases of dementia per year. Worldwide, there are 50 million cases. Dementia is the culmination of cognitive functioning impairment that interferes with daily life; an overarching term that describes memory loss, difficulty with speech and comprehension, lack of judgment, impulsivity, etc. Dementia can range in severity, from the most mild stage of its beginning effects on an individual’s cognition, to a complete inability to function independently with even the most basic activities of living. Though around ⅓ of all people aged 85 and older have some form of dementia, it is not a normal part of aging, and the causes are still unknown (NIH). By 2040, the number of 65 year old adults with dementia is expected to skyrocket to over 14 million (CDC), and by 2050, the worldwide number of 50 million is expected to triple. The pathway from diagnosis to mortality in Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia, is approximately 8.3 years, and thus individuals at different stages of this trajectory have varying degrees of neurodegeneration (Erikson et al., 2022). Though there are steps that can be taken in attempts to prevent dementia such as Alzheimer’s, once it is onset, it is not curable. However, it can be treatable– to an extent. In fact, exposure to music may have positive effects on the cognitive function of those who struggle with dementia.

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Categories: Aging Tags: ,

It’s All Semantics. Literally.

April 27th, 2022 No comments

Some time ago, I realized a fundamental truth: that memory was weird. Now, I see that what middle-school-me thought was “weird” is more complicated than I ever could’ve imagined.

It was back in 2017 when I first learned that memory was a bit like a slot machine: you never knew what you’d end up with—or rather, you never knew what you’d be left with, after having had multiple strokes. I remember my trip to that rehabilitation facility in Maryland briefly, but the important parts are clear: I was with my parents and my brother. We had come to visit my uncle, who’d undergone two major strokes and countless minor ones. The big ones had been less than a year apart. The first stroke had left him weak yet intact, but the second one had taken things from him. The second stroke had taken his mobility, his memory, and his speech fluency. Years and years ago, I remember this uncle of mine before he had become hindered by his health and subsequent cognitive impairments. I don’t have many memories of my uncle, but one thing I remember being in complete awe of was that he was the only person in the world I knew who could make a seven-letter-word in Scrabble. But now, he could barely say seven words, and my uncle, this fragile man in a wheelchair, was nearly unrecognizable.

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Can Simple Cognitive Tests be Key to the Fight to End Alzheimer’s Disease?

April 24th, 2022 No comments

1 in every 9 older adults (65 years and older) is currently living with Alzheimer’s disease, a type of dementia that affects memory, thinking, and behavior. But the numbers do not tell the whole story. The losses faced by these patients cannot be boxed into statistical data. Patients start to forget their memories, their loved ones… who they are! As explained by Gerda Saunders, a writer with dementia,  she began to feel like a stranger to herself. There are many forms of dementia, but Alzheimer’s disease is the leading cause, and still, there are no available treatments that stop or slow the progression of the disease: the medications just treat the symptoms. But these treatments are based on early diagnosis of the disease, and the visible signs of Alzheimer’s usually appear years after the disease started developing. So early diagnosis can be really hard. Alzheimer’s disease can stay hidden for years! When we perceive the changes, it is usually too late. But that is not necessarily a cause for despair. Simple cognitive tests can be the key to an early and accessible diagnosis!

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