5 Signs of Dementia To Never Ignore, According to a Neuroscientist
Losing our memory, and our sense of self and identity sounds like a living nightmare. And for many people suffering from Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, it is. But how can you tell if you or a loved one are experiencing the early stages of Alzheimer’s?
Walking into a room with no memory of what you walked in for is another all-too-common experience. Although disorientating, and sometimes worrying, these lapses in memory aren’t usually anything to worry about. However, the brain is plastic and if we’re active and social, if we exercise and eat a healthy diet we can make new connections right up until old age.
‘But when the brain is pathologically ageing, the neurons – which transmit messages to other parts of the brain – are dying. This neuron death is what happens with Alzheimer’s.’ Professor Hana Burianova, a neuroscientist at Bournemouth University reveals the tell-tale signs you should never ignore.
One of the hallmarks of early Alzheimer’s is loss of memory. And often much of the typical ‘forgetfulness’ of otherwise healthy older people might be because they’re not paying attention in the first place. Someone will forget conversations they just had, or they may get lost somewhere they know well, or forget the route home, despite doing it countless times before.
Most of us are all too familiar with loved ones who’ve been telling the same stories for years. Someone with Alzheimer’s will repeat the same information over and over again often in a short space of time.
Sudden changes in mood
If your otherwise level loved one suddenly becomes anxious or depressed, it could be more than a mid-life crisis. Someone will try to find out why their beloved is suffering from mental health issues, but it’s more than that – it’s because part of the brain is deteriorating.
They can’t speak
If a previously fluent speaker suddenly starts tripping over their words, take heed. They might have aphasia, where a person has difficulty with speech and understanding language, which can be caused by FTD.
If your hitherto quiet and modest grandmother starts telling crude jokes, there may be more afoot than a new addiction to Mrs Brown’s Boys. There can be a lot of fear or OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder), you can become super obsessive and some people become disinhibited.