Dementia: The ‘inappropriate’ sign that could be an early indication of mental decline

Dementia: The ‘inappropriate’ sign that could be an early indication of mental decline

Dementia: Dr Sara on benefits of being in nature

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Dementia is the name given to a pattern of cognitive decline that significantly compromises the lives of patients. The disease can be broken down into different subtypes, which present their own sets of symptoms. Patterns of mental deterioration are generally characterised by confusion and memory loss. One telltale sign, however, may be apparent in the way a sufferer uses objects.

While memory loss is a key trait of dementia, many other signs characterise the condition in the early stages.

Fronto-temporal dementia in the initial stages can trigger pronounced changes in personality and behaviour or language problems.

Vascular dementia, on the other hand, may present different sets of symptoms depending on which part of the brain is comprised.

Sudden behavioural changes, whether they be related to memory, language, or social cognition, should prompt you to seek medical advice.

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Fronto-temporal dementia occurs when nerve cells in the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain are lobes.

It is the most common type of dementia affecting people under the of 60.

The condition causes the lobes in the brain to shrink, which can affect behaviour, personality, language and movement.

This can result in dramatic personality changes, such as swearing, stealing, or an increased interest in sex.

According to the FTD Disorders Registry: “Picking up and using an object inappropriately, maybe one of the early signs of dementia to pick up in a loved one’s behaviour”.

Sufferers may also display signs of apathy, or an unwillingness to talk, alongside a lack of social tact, adds the University of California San Francisco.

Dramatic overeating may lead to weight gain, and sufferers may display unusual sexual behaviour, says the health body.

How to avoid dementia

Although the risk of developing dementia increases sharply with age, there is evidence that making lifestyle changes early can stave off decline.

One major cause of dementia is being overweight, which can double the chances of the disease later in life.

Adhering to a diet that emphasises omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants could help reduce this risk, however.

A recent body of research published in the journal Brain Behaviour and Immunity highlighted the protective effects of omega-3 against decline.

The researcher found that the omega-3 fatty acid, DHA, prevented memory problems, and reduced the inflammatory effects of other refined foods.

Keeping the mind sharp has also proven instrumental in warding off signs of decline, and this can be achieved by regularly undertaking mentally stimulating tasks.

Connecting socially may be equally important, as it may reduce the speed of cognitive rundown and delay the onset of symptoms.

Doctor Gad Marshall, associate medical director of clinical trials at the Centre for Alzheimer Researcher and Treatment at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital, said: “We think that social contact helps prevent Alzheimer’s.”

Evidence of this comes from observational studies, however, so no causal relationship has been established between socialising and a lowered risk of the disease.

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