Dementia: basic knowledge

Have you ever experienced walking into a room or opening a refrigerator but couldn't remember what you wanted to get.  Or maybe you wanted to talk to someone but forget what you wanted to say.  

These situations happen quite frequently to don't not start to panic and think you have dementia.

According to Dr. Frank Longo, Professor and Chair of the Department of  Neurology and Neurological Sciences,  Dementia is defined as the cognitive dysfunction of two or more areas of the brain, for example, memory loss and language, memory and spaciousness and so forth. 

Dementia is not a specific disease.  It is a descriptive term of collective symptoms for brain disorders that include lapses in memory and thinking, personality and behavior change, mood swing etc. Memory loss is only one symptom of dementia.  In other words, memory loss by itself does not mean that a person has dementia.   

Many diseases might result in dementia; the top two leading causes are Alzheimer's Disease and  Vascular Dementia.

Some people believe that dementia is associated with aging.  Theoretically,  this is not true.  Brain disorders can happen to people even in their 30s.

Researchers have conducted promising studies regarding dementia prevention.  Some suggestions include controlling a person's glucose levels, engaging in intellectually stimulating games such as chess, crossword puzzles, having social interactions with people or even playing a musical instrument.  Also, exercise plays an important role in promoting wellness in body and mind.

The Santa Clara County Library District has books and electronic resources on dimentia that we suggest you check out.   Please feel free to explore our catalog.  Some titles that we recommend are as follows. 


When A Family Member Has Dementia Steps to Becoming A Resilient Caregiver By McCurry, Susan

The 36-hour Day A Family Guide to Caring for People Who Have Alzheimer Disease, Related Dementias, and Memory LossBy Mace, Nancy L.

Inside the Dementia EpidemicA Daughter's MemoirBy Stettinius, Martha



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