Unit 13: Understanding the Process and Experience of Dementia

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Rachel Pearson Unit 13: Understanding the Process and Experience of Dementia Unit Code: DEM 301 Unit reference number: J/601/3538 Section 1 - Understand the neurology of dementia 1.1 Describe a range of causes of dementia syndrome? Dementia syndrome is a group of signs and symptoms, in which cause damage to cells in the brain. The most common causes are neurodegenerative diseases; this includes Alzheimer’s, Vascular, and Frontotemporal, lewy bodied, Creutzfeldt - Jakob disease (CJD) and Huntington disease. With these diseases the brain cells degenerate and die more quickly than the normal ageing process. This leads to the decline of a person’s mental health and sometimes physical abilities. The gradual changes and damage to the cells of the brain are caused by a build-up of abnormal proteins in the brain. There are irreversible changes that occur in and individual’s brain lead to: * Death or the loss of the nerve cells * Lots of cognitive deficits, including memory lose * Decline in language understanding * Unable to recognise family and friends * The decline in the overall mental function The abnormal proteins are different in each type of neurodegenerative dementia. In most cases dementia is not inherited from family members directly. Although there a small amount of cases of Alzheimer’s and frontotemporal dementia can be inherited from a previous generation. Vascular dementia is where the blood supply to the brain is interrupted, if there is restricted or stopped blood supply to the brain that’s when the cells being to die which results in brain damage. * Alzheimer’s disease Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, this form of the disease is the loss of cells in brain which causes the brain to shrink. The medical term for this is ‘Atrophy’. The most affected part of the brain is the Cerebral Cortex; this part

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