Alzheimer’s and Dementia is a general heading that includes all types of Dementia, including; Alzheimer’s type Dementia, Pic’s Type Dementia, Dementia with lewey bodies, Alcohol Dementia, and Parkinson-Dementia and what might be the most common type of Dementia, Vascular Dementia which is from TIA’s or Strokes. The fact is they all share the same clinical signs and symptoms of cognitive impairment; memory loss, paranoia, delusions and or lack of insight and judgment. There are some pathologic differences in how the brain is affected but in most cases, the cause is multi factorial with many types of brain pathology occurring as people age. Young people tend to have single type pathology but in general, seniors tend to have a mixed picture which makes any one label-less reliable. Some say Alzheimer’s type Dementia with beta amyloid, along with plaques and tangles is the most common form of Dementia. It is interesting to note that much of that data was acquired before CT scans and MRI’s of the head were available. If this advanced technology had been available the number of cases with vascular dementia or small strokes would have undoubtedly increased.
If you were to include UBOs (unidentified bright objects) as the defining characteristic then most “normal” people would be considered to have dementia, since many normal people have UBO’s on MRI’s if you look for them. The diagnosis and label is interesting from a research stand point but the focus should be on the best therapy for the symptoms of any Dementia label. The best therapy is having a staff or care team that provides continuity of care and has well developed social and interpersonal skills to know how to provide the most effective care to a person with dementia as well as their family and friends.