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Pre-senile dementia


Definition


Pre-senile dementia is a degenerative disease that causes the progressive deterioration of brain cells. It affects memory and cognitive functions of patients and usually occurs in patients of 60 or 65 years of age, but can also affect younger people. Alzheimer's disease is the most common variety of senile dementia.

Symptoms


Problems encountered by the patient depend on the development stage of the disease. In a so-called pre-clinical phase, there are usually no symptoms: degenerative lesions and deposits of abnormal proteins affect the cerebral cortex, but without clinical significance. This phase lasts about 15 to 20 years. The characteristic signs of Alzheimer's disease at the stage of dementia stage are:
  • memory loss. The patient has difficulty remembering recent events;
  • other cognitive functions are also gradually affected including language, movements, recognitions, performing tasks;
  • temporo-spatial disorientation: Loss of reference in time and space. The patient gets lost in familiar places and cannot place himself in time;
  • behavioral problems: anxiety, depression, confusion, aggression;
  • alteration of language;
  • a tendency to run away while walking.

Diagnosis


The diagnosis is made by a physician after various examinations. Initially, the Mini Mental Score (MMS) is used to evaluate the cognitive functions of the patient as well as the stage of the disease's progression. Depending on the score, some further tests, neuropsychological tests, are performed by a geriatrician, neurologist or neuropsychologist. CT and MRI scans are used to assess the neurological patient, highlighting the degenerative lesions on a cerebral level.

Treatment


Treatment is symptomatic and will work to slow the progression of the disease. Treatment will combine psychological care and drug treatment: namely cholinesterase inhibitors. The effectiveness of these treatments is still highly questioned. Eventually, patients lose their autonomy and cannot live alone without endangering themselves. Living in an institution is then a practical solution. Support for people with dementia is achieved with the help of a multidisciplinary team: physicians, psychiatrists, caregivers, nurses ...
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