Use or lost it is the message from the latest research in dementia

5 Nov 2017 2:06 PMJen Fitzgerald
Use or lost it is the message from the latest research in dementia

The symposium featured three speakers on the themes of Prevention, Cause and Care. Know the main points. Learn more.

A review of a symposium presented by the University of Tasmania Dementia Research and Education centre.

The symposium featured three speakers on the themes of Prevention, Cause and Care. Here are the main points.

Prevention

There are 50 million people living with dementia (plwd) globally.

500000 live in Australia.

Undiagnosed Dementia may be 20%—50% more so adding to the above figures.

Dementia is difficult to diagnose as we don’t know when the brain starts to decline into dementia.

Primary Risk factors are a history of Smoking, Depression, Diabetes, physical inactivity and social isolation.

Other risk factors may be cardiovascular, brain trauma and heavy alcohol use.

Many of these factors may be prevented through government legislation such as a sugar tax ,a junk food tax or banning alcohol ads – similar to the ban on smoking ads.

Public Health campaigns such as the quit smoking campaign could be linked to a Dementia campaign. For example, the message of quit smoking to save you from Lung Cancer and possibly Dementia.

Cause

We have 100 billion neurons in our brain.

3/10 people over the age of 85 years will have Alzheimer’s and 1/10 over 65 years old.

A picture of a healthy brain and a brain of someone with advanced Alzheimer’s shows significant shrinkage overall and larger vessels filled with cerebral spinal fluid and a shrinkage of the hippocampus – which is the super computer section of our brain.

Advances in imaging in MRI and PET scans have helped advance research into dementia.

Current medications used in dementia only treat symptoms they don’t stop the progression.

Care – dementia-friendly design

Most aged care facilities (ACFs) are not “home” like.

Regulation and money constraints mean that new ACF design remains standard - they mostly all look the same.

Architects can only work with a limited space and design criteria so they cannot create a “place” where people feel comfortable in.

ACF’s in Europe have more elderly and dementia friendly design so behaviours are less due to the comfort factor. These ACF’s are designed to look and feel like real houses. They have small real-life kitchens and lounge chairs are grouped not lined up. Some lighting is via lamps so there is a softer ambience. Some are built as cottages where 4- 6 residents live as a group home.

© DP Training 2017