Fear of dementia and ways to avoid it – 02/19/2021 – Luciano Melo

E., so named in relation to the first letter of oblivion, explained to the neurologist how bad his memory was. A few months ago it was often forgotten which object he was looking for in a drawer that was already rotating its contents. It was also common not to remember what he had been doing in the rooms of his house as soon as he entered.

E. tried to limit these errors in time. But one fact shook him very much. During a conversation with a distant friend, he stopped focusing on the words that were being spoken to him. His efforts were aimed at remembering the name of the interlocutor. He thought this failure was very serious, having attended this acquaintance’s wedding reception a year ago.

The tormented man believed he had Alzheimer’s disease or something in the early stages. Persistent idea, although he was aware that his mistakes were occasional and reversible. He believed his memory was threatened with extinction.

If that prediction was correct, he knew very well what to expect. He had watched his mother-in-law’s memory decline since the first disagreement. She had seen the older woman forget her own biographical references and die for herself. She forgot what she was once and lived a death before biological death. The son-in-law feared he would have a similar fate, he needed something to escape from that fate.

The neurologist reassured him by stating that there were no early signs of dementia. Because despite the mistakes, E. explained his routines in detail and remembered the circumstances of his mistakes well. Someone with a disease that causes dementia wouldn’t be as good at reviving the recent past. The symptoms were the result of a functional cognitive disorder caused by psychological factors.

Cognitive errors are inherent in the human being. However, mental suffering increases the likelihood that it will occur. Our husband had serious personal and professional problems, slept little, and ate poorly. His slip-ups made his fear of Alzheimer’s disease worse and worse.

Convinced that he was free of dementia at that moment, his troubled mind reacted to a new concern. E. was almost 60 years old; What would your future look like? How are you treated if you are affected in old age? Is there anything you could do to prevent dementia?

To date, there is no treatment that can interrupt, smooth out, or reverse brain degeneration caused by Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia. A critical problem for a rapidly expanding state of health: It is predicted that the world’s population of the mentally ill will triple by 2050, starting at around 50 million today.

The aging of the population contributes to these alarming predictions. Disaster aside, some regions contradict expectations that increasing the mean age of a geographic group always increases the incidence of dementia. The incidence of dementia is lower in Europe, the United States, and South Korea.

The better control of the risk factors for vascular diseases such as myocardial infarction and cerebral ischemia was carried out for these decreases. However, it’s not just taking care of blood circulation that reduces the risk of dementia.

A meta-analysis recently published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry confirmed strong evidence that depression and head trauma, in addition to major blood vessel aggressors like diabetes and high blood pressure, increase the likelihood of developing dementia. At the same time, through multi-year learning that prolongs intellectual and social activities, measures are taken that reduce the risks of this problem. The same study suggests that not smoking, sleeping properly, and physical activity may protect against cognitive deterioration.

Measures to maintain the health and well-being of blood vessels therefore reduce cases of dementia in some regions of the world. It is worth following the example.


1-Yu J., Xu W., Andrieu S. et al. Evidence-based prevention of Alzheimer’s disease: systematic review and meta-analysis of 243 prospective observational studies and 153 randomized controlled studies. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 2020; 91: 1201-9.

2- Park JE, Kim BS, Kim BS, et al. Decreasing the incidence of all-cause dementia and Alzheimer’s disease: a rural cohort study in Korea conducted 12 years later. J Korean MedSci 2019; 34: e293.

3- Catherine Pennington, Margaret Newson, Amrit Hayre, Elizabeth Coulthard1,2 Functional Cognitive Disorder: What Is It and What To Do About It? Pract Neurol 2015; 15: 436-444. doi: 10.1136 / Practneurol-2015-001127

4 Livingston G., Sommerlad A., Orgeta V. et al. Prevention, intervention and care of dementia. Lancet 2017; 390: 2673-734.

5- We humans are sometimes hysterical – 25.09.2020 – Luciano Melo

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