Paper Masters writes on dementia frequently when we do research projects for medical health courses or nursing students. Research papers on dementia can focus on the disorder itself or on related diseases such as Alzheimer's.
Dementia is a term that is used in relation to many different types of disorders. All of them, however, have commonalities in that there appears to be a pervasive deterioration of cognitive functioning This deterioration is typically associated with brain damage that is widespread rather than localized. Thus, more than one area of the brain is involved.
The Beginning of Dementia
Some dementia begins in a specific area of the brain and is the result of progressive disease. When the disorder progresses slowly, sometimes there are compensatory neurological and psychological changes. In this case, it is difficult to determine the full extent of the damage. On the other hand, once the damage is severe and appears in behavior, the symptoms may be exaggerated in comparison to focal lesions of the same area because there is less healthy tissue, in a sense less redundancy, to compensate for the damage.
The basic features of dementia include several deficits in cognitive functioning and at least one cognitive disturbance. This disturbance must be manifested as aphasia, apraxia, agraphia, agnosia, or in the area of executive functioning. These deficits should be such that they interfere with functioning in social interactions and employment. Typically, dementia must be present during times when the individual is not experiencing a delirium.
Dementia and Memory Impairment
The outstanding feature of dementia is impairment in memory. This symptom is usually among the first signs and symptoms of dementia. Memory impairment may be one of two types. It may involve the inability to learn new information. It may also involve forgetting information that has been previously learned. Generally, individuals suffering from dementia have both forms of memory impairment. The latter form is often difficult to establish in the early stages of dementia, or the determination that it is connected to dementia may be difficult. These kinds of memory impairments involve:
- Losing valuables
- Getting lost in familiar settings
- Forgetting what one is doing at the time
- Not remembering familiar individuals, names, or information
As noted previously, dementia may also involve aphasia . This disturbance involves language disorders. Aphasia may be manifested in a number of ways. The individual with aphasia may exhibit speech that is vague or empty, using words such as "it" or "thing" excessively. This patient may also have difficulty with written or spoken language. As the dementia becomes worse, individuals may become mute or develop echolalia or palilalia, conditions in which they repeat either the last word or the last sound, respectively, that they heard.