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Dementia: Inevitable or Preventable  Research Paper

Pages:6 (1785 words)

Sources:5

Subject:Health

Topic:Dementia

Document Type:Research Paper

Document:#89668895


Introduction

Dementia is a degenerative cognitive health issue that primarily affects the elderly population and is characterized by “impairments in cognitive and intellectual ability, memory, language, reasoning, and judgment,” all of which interfere with the individual’s ability to function in everyday life (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, 2014). The two most common forms of dementia are Alzheimer’s Disease and vascular dementia (Livingston et al., 2017). While not much is known about the etiology of dementia other than that it is related to cellular damage in the brain, there has been some success in identifying possible ways to prevent it. This paper will define dementia, its manifestations and types, discuss three research articles that deal with preventing dementia, and provide suggestions for future research on this topic.

Defining Dementia

Dementia is a neurodegenerative disorder that results in the irreversible loss of brain functionality. Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common form and results from neurons in the brain dying; frontotemporal disorders and Lewy body dementia are others; vascular dementia occurs as a result of blockages or bleeding blood vessels in the brain. Signs and symptoms of dementia tend to be progressive, and the earliest sign is worsening memory loss. Confusion, a lack of the ability to concentrate, apathy towards life and a general withdrawal from others, personality changes, and an inability to perform everyday tasks are all signs that the person may be suffering from dementia. There is no diagnosis for dementia though medical history and tests can provide doctors with a high degree of certainty about the condition of the individual.

Three Articles of Dementia Prevention

Livingston et al. (2017)

Livingston et al. (2017) argue that about one-third of cases of dementia may be preventable. Their article is based on existing evidence and correlations that other researchers have noted in the past. For instance, Livingston et al. (2017) note that a correlation between hypertension and later onset of dementia could be a reason to start taking preventive measures for dementia when one begins being treated for hypertension in one’s middle age. Some of the interventions that Livingston et al. (2017) recommend start as early as childhood with increased levels of childhood education in order to strengthen the child’s cognitive development and abilities. The researchers also recommend exercising regularly, not smoking, and having an active social life—which they not has positive stimulating effects on the brain and may help neurons from dying. One of the main keys to prevention, however, is to boost one’s resilience (Livingston et al., 2017).

Resilience can be increased through intellectual stimulation early in life and continued throughout one’s adulthood. The evidence suggests that the more engaged one’s mind is on a daily basis, the more likely the brain is to stay healthy. It is not a guarantee—for even the healthiest of individuals, who exercise and diet well, can suffer from heart attacks or strokes. However, what Livingtson et al. (2017) indicate is that building up one’s resilience can reduce the risk of dementia developing later in life—and the best way to boost resilience is through intellectual activity according to the findings of researchers who have shown that more highly educated individuals tends to have lower raters of dementia among them (Livingston et al., 2017).

Other factors that can help to prevent dementia…

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…the delay of dementia. However, one study did indicate that for people with high tHcy vitamin B could improve episodic memory. McCleery et al. (2018) recommended that the study’s trial be duplicated and further evidence with a larger sample be provided to support that finding.

Recommendations for Future Research

The role that vitamins and minerals could play on delaying dementia is an interesting concept, but it essentially is related to the concept of eating a healthy diet such as the Mediterranean diet, as recommended by Livingston et al. (2017). A long-term longitudinal study that implements the recommendations of Livingsteon et al. (2017) would be the best recommendation for future research going forward. A longitudinal study that spans nations and includes a high sample of a general population would be possible only within the right set of circumstances, but it is an intriguing idea to verify whether the promotion of a high level of cognitive engagement at an early age for children makes a difference on the onset of dementia in later age. It would be a study that would require multiple generations of researchers as it would be unlikely that the researcher to start off would be the same researcher to finish it. Nonetheless, a lifetime study of this nature could supply a great deal of data for examination.

Conclusion

Is dementia preventable? The indications from the literature suggest that it is possible to prevent approximately one-third of dementia cases; however, because the etiology of dementia is unknown (aside from the basic neurological issues that trigger it), total prevention or cure has not been found. The overall recommendation of researchers is to lead a…


Sample Source(s) Used

References

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. (2015). Non-pharmacologic Interventions for Agitation and Aggression in Dementia. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Retrieved from http://effectivehealthcare.ahrq.gov/index.cfm/search-for-guides-reviews-and-reports/?productid=1999&pageaction=displayproduct

Livingston, G., Sommerlad, A., Orgeta, V., Costafreda, S. G., Huntley, J., Ames, D., ... & Cooper, C. (2017). Dementia prevention, intervention, and care. The Lancet, 390(10113), 2673-2734.

McCleery, J., Abraham, R. P., Denton, D. A., Rutjes, A. W., Chong, L. Y., Al?Assaf, A.S., ... & Di Nisio, M. (2018). Vitamin and mineral supplementation for preventing dementia or delaying cognitive decline in people with mild cognitive impairment. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, (11).

Van Baal, P. H., Hoogendoorn, M., & Fischer, A. (2016). Preventing dementia by promoting physical activity and the long-term impact on health and social care expenditures. Preventive medicine, 85, 78-83.

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