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Predicting Dementia Progression

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posted on Mar, 24 2012 @ 11:08 AM
Dementia is pandemic - few countries are untouched. Now, MRI imaging with mathematical modeling can predict when and how a person's dementia will progress, simply by modeling "prion-like" toxic proteins' spread from neuron to neuron. Disease progression involves "speech impediments, memory loss, behavioral peculiarities, and so on."

Ideally, this technology will allow personalized treatments tailored to each individual - as well as let people make their own choices in planning ahead.

Worst case scenario, the information will be used for eugenics-flavored Minority Report-styled interventions - and provide a rationale for depopulation culling.

If you are called upon to make any decisions about yourself or others, please remember:

Research shows that many people who show significant physical degeneration in the brain on autopsy DID NOT HAVE DEMENTIA SYMPTOMS in life. It's all about "cognitive reserve."

Researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College have developed a computer program that has tracked the manner in which different forms of dementia spread within a human brain. They say their mathematical model can be used to predict where and approximately when an individual patient's brain will suffer from the spread, neuron to neuron, of "prion-like" toxic proteins -- a process they say underlies all forms of dementia.

..."This could allow neurologists to predict what the patient's neuroanatomic and associated cognitive state will be at any given point in the future. They could tell whether and when the patient will develop speech impediments, memory loss, behavioral peculiarities, and so on," he says. "Knowledge of what the future holds will allow patients to make informed choices regarding their lifestyle and therapeutic interventions.

Autopsy studies suggest that plaques and tangles may be present in the brain without causing symptoms of cognitive decline unless the brain also shows evidence of vascular disease. Many experts believe that controlling cardiovascular risk factors may be the most cost-effective and helpful approach to protecting brain health.

...Alzheimer’s researchers have also known that about 10% to 20% of patients who show evidence of amyloid on autopsy never exhibit signs of dementia or cognitive decline, Yaffe’s team thought the amyloid blood test could help explain this puzzling result. The most popular theory involves something called cognitive reserve: the idea is that people with more cognitive reserve are better able to compensate for the loss of nerves to amyloid, and can continue to function without signs of the disease even while it is ravaging their brain.

Cognitive reserve is still an undefined concept, but it is generally thought to involve everything from having a larger brain (and therefore more neural connections to keep it going) to maintaining cognitive networks by continually engaging them in learning new things.

To test this idea, Yaffe further stratified her study group by education and literacy, two commonly accepted ways of measuring cognitive reserve. It turned out that among those with low levels of amyloid in the blood, participants with higher education (more than a high school diploma) or at least a sixth-grade level of literacy were able to compensate, and experienced half the drop in cognitive function scores as those with lower education and less literacy.

That finding gives Yaffe hope that in coming years, early tests, including one for amyloid in the blood, could identify people at high risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease well before their first cognitive symptoms emerge. These individuals could then get a head start in using interventions that could treat or even prevent their disease. At the moment, no such medical therapies exist, but there is evidence that people with denser networks of friends and family, as well as those who engage their minds by learning new skills or a new language or by playing card games, are able to hold back mental decline better than those who do not take advantage of these opportunities.

edit on 24/3/12 by soficrow because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 24 2012 @ 05:03 PM
Interesting info, thanks for posting.
My mum has dementia & I'm always trying to keep up-to-date with latest findings.
Do you have links for this please?

posted on Mar, 25 2012 @ 07:55 AM
Dementia is a normal part of the aging process, and research will continue to develop and answers will be more specific that will tell us what is causing this decline and also why or why not it leads into alzheimers, which my mom suffered from. My concern with these tests that analyze cognitive decline is whether this information goes into the medical database and then insurance companies can use that information to decline services or worse. In time we will move into a larger aging population with a prediction that one in eight americans will have alzheimers (sorry but I dont have a link to support this, I remember hearing this a few years ago when I was caring for my mom). Anyone that has been affected by this disease knows how debilitating it is for the patient and their families, the ongoing care and the EXPENSE of taking care of alzheimer's patients. Not getting to far off point, but I am greatly in favor of a national health care system and this is one of the reasons why. But to get back on point, taking precautions to find out if your brain is in decline or will be helps one take the steps to protect themselves and their families, but it would be wise to have this information done privately. I myself am not sure I am ready to know if my mother's cognitive problems will become mine one day. I would hate to know what that will eventually do to my family, and honestly I don't want to end up like that.

posted on Mar, 26 2012 @ 07:17 PM
reply to post by jewells

The links are in the highlighted text - just click on the highlighted area and a new window will open to the referenced article or document.


posted on Mar, 26 2012 @ 07:20 PM

Originally posted by justsaying
Dementia is a normal part of the aging process...

I don't think so.

Just because it's now the norm, doesn't mean it's natural.

Something tells me this just isn't so.

posted on Mar, 26 2012 @ 07:21 PM
reply to post by justsaying

No - dementia does not have to be a "normal" part of the aging process; it's a chronic disease that results from unhealthy exposures. Moreover, pandemics of so-called "age-related" diseases and "early aging" are not normal either. ...and no, it's not the result of people living longer. All the new crap in our world is making people sick and sicker. It's not 'normal."

My concern with these tests that analyze cognitive decline is whether this information goes into the medical database and then insurance companies can use that information to decline services or worse.

My concern too. So let's block the edge of the wedge and let them all know we do not buy that "normal part of aging" bs. Chronic disease is pandemic, and dementia is part of that pandemic.

posted on Mar, 28 2012 @ 12:57 PM
I had two separate and random encounters with strangers yesterday, both who were suffering from some kind of dementia/Alzheimers... it makes me so sad and so angry because it doesn't have to be this way. It's not what nature intended.

posted on Mar, 28 2012 @ 09:42 PM
I think I need to clarify that what I thought was dementia as part of the normal aging process isn't and that I was actually referring to dementia as another term for aging forgetfulness. My bad and I stand corrected that dementia is distinctly different from the normal aging process, this I didn't know until now. So while I was trying to say that forgetfulness is a normal part of the aging process, which it is, dementia is not a normal part of aging. Okay I have that straight now.

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