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By Bonnie Juettner

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Extra resources for Dementia (Diseases and Disorders)

Example text

At this time, there is no cure for Lewy body dementia. Vascular Dementia After AD, the second most-common form of dementia in people of all ages is vascular dementia (VaD). It accounts for about 20 to 40 percent of all dementias, and more than a million Americans have it. It is most common in people who also have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes, and alcoholism, and in people who smoke. It is more common in men than in women. What Causes Dementia? 35 A five-part illustration shows the progression of atherosclerosis, which is caused when deposits of various substances build up within the artery over time, eventually causing a blockage that slows or prohibits the flow of blood.

Like AD, Lewy body dementia is also caused by abnormal deposits of protein in the nucleus of the neurons. These deposits are called Lewy bodies, after Dr. Friedrich Lewy, who first discovered them in 1912. Lewy bodies are smooth, round clumps of protein that appear mainly in the cerebral cortex but are also found in deeper parts of the affected brain. No one knows yet what causes the bodies to form in the brain, but, like other dementias, it is thought to be a genetic malfunction. Lewy body dementia can occur by itself, or it can occur along with AD or another brain disease called Parkinson’s disease.

48 Dementia The MMSE does have some limitations. Because the test relies so much on a person’s ability to see, hear, and write, the results of the test can be affected if the person, for some reason, is unable to hear the directions well, see the paper, or understand English. He may not be able to draw or write well because of difficulty holding or using a pencil. The examiner takes these things into account when scoring the test. Also, highly educated people tend to score higher, even if they have Alzheimer’s disease.

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