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Five early warning signs of dementia revealed – as Rosalynn Carter, 95, battles cruel disorder


It was revealed this week that Rosalynn, the wife of former President Jimmy Carter, has dementia.

The Carter Center said the 95-year-old former first lady “continues to live happily ever after” with her husband and is “enjoying the spring” and “visiting with loved ones.”

Rosalynn has been married to Carter, 98 – the longest-serving president – ​​for 76 years, and they have been together at home since February, when he announced he would forego further medical procedures after a series of stints in the hospital.

No further details were released about his condition, and The Carter Center was not to release further information.

Last week, their grandson Jason said the couple were in ‘good spirits’, having ice cream together as they welcomed family members to their modest Plains home.

The Carter Center said the 95-year-old former first lady “continues to live happily ever after” with her husband and is “enjoying the spring” and “visiting with loved ones.” The couple are pictured at President George HW Bush’s funeral in 2018

Many warning signs of dementia are often mistaken for normal aging.  Common early symptoms include forgetfulness, snoozing, sudden mood swings, inability to speak, and personality changes

Many warning signs of dementia are often mistaken for normal aging. Common early symptoms include forgetfulness, snoozing, sudden mood swings, inability to speak, and personality changes

Dementia is a group of diseases that mark a progressive and permanent cognitive decline. This results in difficulty thinking, remembering and reasoning, to the point of interfering with basic daily functions and activities.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form, accounting for 60-80% of dementia cases, depending on the Alzheimer Association. The disease usually develops later in life, with 73% of patients diagnosed after age 75.

Aging is the strongest risk factor for dementia due to brain damage that can take years or decades to become noticeable enough for symptoms to develop.

“Our brains start to age from the early twenties,” Hana Burianova, a neuroscientist at Bournemouth University in the UK, told MailOnline.

“Once they stop growing, they start to age, which means they lose the connections between the different parts.

However, the brain is plastic and if we are active and social, exercise and eat healthy, we can make new connections well into old age.

“But when the brain ages pathologically, neurons – which transmit messages to other parts of the brain – die. This neuronal death is what happens with Alzheimer’s disease.

People are also more susceptible as they age, as they are more likely to develop health conditions that can increase their risk, such as high blood pressure, a weakened immune system, damaged blood vessels in the brain and a cerebral vascular accident.

About 5 in 100 people in the United States will have developed dementia between the ages of 65 and 74. The risk increases with age; about a third of people aged 85 and over will suffer from dementia.

That’s over six million Americans. In the UK, almost a million Britons have the disease.

So what are the memory and behavioral changes that are concerning? Ms. Burianova reveals the telltale signs you should never ignore.

What is dementia?

A global concern

Dementia is an umbrella term used to describe a range of progressive neurological disorders (those that affect the brain) that impact memory, thinking and behavior.

There are many types of dementia, of which Alzheimer’s disease is the most common.

Some people may have a combination of different types of dementia.

Regardless of the type diagnosed, each person will experience dementia in their own way.

Dementia is a global concern, but is most commonly seen in wealthier countries, where people are likely to live to very old ages.

How many people are affected?

The Alzheimer’s Society reports that there are over 900,000 people with dementia in the UK today. This figure is expected to reach 1.6 million by 2040.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia, affecting between 50 and 75% of those diagnosed.

In the United States, it is estimated that there are 5.5 million people with Alzheimer’s disease. A similar percentage increase is expected in the coming years.

As a person’s age increases, the risk of developing dementia also increases.

Diagnosis rates are improving, but it is believed that many people with dementia remain undiagnosed.

Is there a remedy?

Currently, there is no cure for dementia.

But new drugs can slow its progression, and the earlier it is spotted, the more effective treatments can be.

Source: Alzheimer Society


One of the hallmarks of dementia praecox is memory loss. But how do you know if an older loved one is simply forgetful or if there’s something more worrying at work?

“We know from research that older people, over the age of 65, will lose some details in autobiographical memory, but their memory for facts and words is better than younger people,” Ms Burianova said.

And often, much of the “forgettingness” typical of otherwise healthy older people could be due to them not paying attention in the first place.

“They may not ‘code’ the information, for example, they may have been told a story at a party, but they got distracted,” she said.

“The difference between a healthy aging brain and pathological degeneration is the progressive death of neurons. The changes will happen gradually.

The death of these neurons usually takes place in the parts of the brain involved in memory such as the entorhinal cortex and the hippocampus.

Someone will forget the conversations they just had, or get lost somewhere they know well, or forget the way home, even if they’ve done it countless times before.

“Anyone can forget to turn off the stove, but with someone with Alzheimer’s disease it continues,” Ms Burianova said.

To repeat

Most of us know all too well loved ones who have been telling the same stories for years.

However, a person with dementia will repeat the same information over and over again in a short period of time.

“We all tell stories many times, especially to our partners. There could be a signal that reminds us, and that’s the trigger for our recovery,” Ms Burianova said.

“But someone with Alzheimer’s disease will repeat something three times in a row. It’s a symptom of their short-term memory loss.

Sudden mood swings

If your otherwise normal loved one suddenly becomes anxious or depressed, it could be more than a midlife 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,” Ms Burianova said.

“Imagine the brain as a big net and part of the net starts to break and then the rest of the net starts to tear. Depending on where this process begins, it will govern the symptoms.

They can’t talk

If a previously fluent speaker suddenly begins to stumble over their words, be careful.

They can suffer from aphasia, which is when a person has difficulty speaking and understanding language, which can be caused by certain types of dementia.

“There is an area in the frontal lobe that has to do with language initiation,” Ms Burianova said.

“You might say something to them and you realize they don’t understand. Or they start to stutter or stumble trying to produce language.

Personality change

If your normally calm and modest grandmother starts telling rude jokes, there may be a serious reason for it.

“Depending on the type of dementia you have, your personality may change once it starts affecting your prefrontal cortex,” Ms Burianova said.

“There can be a lot of fear or OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder), you can get super obsessive and some people get uninhibited.

“Suddenly your grandmother starts making lewd remarks to men on the street, or they start stripping.

“There could also be aggression, but that could be because they are afraid of their surroundings and feel extremely vulnerable.”

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