“Love hormone” oxytocin could be used to treat cognitive disorders like Alzheimer’s — One Regular Guy Writing about Food, Exercise and Living Past 100

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive disorder in which the nerve cells (neurons) in a person’s brain and the connections among them degenerate slowly, causing severe memory loss, intellectual deficiencies, and deterioration in motor skills and communication. One of the main causes of Alzheimer’s is the accumulation of a protein called amyloid β (Aβ) in clusters […]

“Love hormone” oxytocin could be used to treat cognitive disorders like Alzheimer’s — One Regular Guy Writing about Food, Exercise and Living Past 100

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Punch-Drunk Syndrome

Man walking towards boxing ring surrounded by audience

Living With Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy

CTE is a neurodegenerative disease that occurs after repeated head traumas and multiple blows to the head. It tends to occur in athletes such as boxers and hockey and football players, but may also be seen in cases of domestic violence and military personnel exposed to concussions. The symptoms tend to occur 8-10 years later. The disorder is based on a clinical judgment, since a definitive diagnosis does not occur until after death, available as autopsy results.

There are four stages. Some of the first symptoms include confusion, dizziness and headaches. This is followed by memory loss and impulsive behavior. Eventually, dementia, vertigo, depression, deafness and suicidality occur. There are many more symptoms which may occur, such as:

  • Pathological jealousy
  • Tremors
  • Paranoia
  • Parkinsonism
  • Speech problems
  • Unsteady gait

Pathologically, there is atrophy of the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain as well as the hippocampus, mammillary bodies and amygdala. There is also evidence of neuronal loss, white matter changes, hyperphosphorylated tau protein deposition, thinning of the corpus callosum, dilated ventricles, and much more. The disorder causes a great deal of damage to the brain, especially after years of repetitive blows to the head.

There is no effective way of preventing this disorder, unless one quits the sport or activity which increases their risk of repetitive concussions and head trauma. One important method of helping to prevent this disorder is the time-off period required after a concussion or head trauma.

Immediately returning to a sport or activity without providing enough time for recovery, increases the chances of experiencing future impacts followed by neurological complications. But even if this protocol is followed, it’s not going to prevent boxers from being exposed to heavy hits or football players from experiencing helmet-first tackles. Some have even called for the banning of boxing!

At this moment in time, there is no treatment for CTE. As with other forms of dementia, supportive treatment is provided. This involves having a caregiver guide and help take care of the patient at home. When one experiences memory loss, depression and confusion, he or she puts themselves at a greater risk of encountering dangerous situations, such as:

  • Leaving the stove on while alone at home
  • Getting into car accidents or not knowing how to return home
  • Wandering in the neighborhood and getting lost
  • Losing items and personal belongings
  • Death due to injuries or suicidality

As you can see, this is a very serious mental condition which can easily impair one’s life, and there are no good preventative strategies to avoid its development. The best way to prevent the development of this disorder is to avoid contact sports, but how can you convince thousands of people worldwide to stop playing their favorite sports?

It just won’t happen anytime soon.

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HIV-Associated Dementia

Silhouette photo of woman infected with HIV standing beside window curtains

Attacked By The Human Immunodeficiency Virus

It is important for people to be educated on HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. Many of these infections cause symptoms that are not well known to everybody. Staying educated is the first step in preventing infections and knowing what to expect when they do occur.

HIV can spread to the brain and cause encephalopathy, resulting in dementia. When HIV has reached this stage, patients may start to experience loss of memory, cognitive impairment, lack of interest in activities, reduced coordination and swelling of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal column.

It is believed that HIV promotes inflammation in the brain and damages neurons. As the symptoms mentioned above become apparent, patients may also begin to experience depression, psychosis, mania and seizures. Imagine how devastating this must be to a patient who already is miserable from having acquired the infection in the first place!

Once HIV has progressed to HIV-associated dementia, there is no reversal. HAART therapy can help prevent or slow down the process, but HIV-associated dementia is a progressive condition; it gets worse over time. The key to avoiding HIV-associated dementia is to start HAART therapy as soon as possible.

And the key to avoiding HIV is to be smart with your sexual encounters. If you ever suspect a partner to have an STD, they probably do! Trust your intuition and do not take the risk engaging in sexual activity with them. It only takes one exposure with contaminated fluids to become infected with HIV.

Your quality of life is more important than 20 minutes of pleasure. Be smart and respect yourself!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Signs Of Dementia

Elderly man with dementia staring in nature

Gifts For The Elderly

To lose your memory is to lose your presence in this world. Not being able to remember names, events, activities and faces is like having your computer slow down from a virus that cannot be removed; your performance begins to greatly decline.

Dementia is a mental illness that usually affects the elderly. There are many types of dementia such as Alzheimer’s, vascular, lewy body and frontotemporal dementia. Each type of dementia has a different etiology and pathology but a common theme remains: memory decline.

In alzheimer’s dementia, there is not enough acetylcholine (a neurotrasmitter) in the brain which is believed to be responsible for our memory functioning. Patients begin to slowly develop the disease over many years, with memory problems for recent events becoming evident. For instance, patients may forget where they placed their car keys, how to get back home from the grocery store and turning off the kitchen stove.

In vascular dementia, there is an obstruction or infarction in the arterial system of the brain, resulting in a stepwise memory decline over many years. Patients who develop vascular dementia usually have a past medical history of high blood pressure (hypertension), high cholesterol (hyperlipidemia) and/or diabetes. The main symptoms are impaired memory, behavioral problems, disorientation and confusion.

In lewy body dementia, there are deposits in the brain called “lewy bodies” which begin to affect memory, movement, behavior and mood. Patients may feel depressed and apathetic and develop sleeping difficulties with fluctuating attention. One notable symptom from this disorder is repetitive detailed visual hallucinations of shapes, animals and people who aren’t there.

In frontotemporal dementia, the frontal and temporal lobes begin to shrink (atrophy), resulting in personality, behavioral and language changes. The hallmark of this disorder is that personality changes being to occur before memory decline. Patients may begin to lose their “filter” and make inappropriate comments and remarks and exhibit disturbing behavior. This is then followed by memory decline.

There is no cure for any type of dementia; medications can help slow it down but not stop its progression. The common final pathway is death. But there are a few gifts which we can provide the elderly with: support and emotional comfort, good listening skills and love.

We must not forget that the elderly deserve a lot of patience and emotional support. They were there for us when we were children running around in earth’s playground. Now we must return the favor and be there for them! No medication is a replacement for the love and support which we can provide our elderly with!

The elderly know deep inside that their end is near; on top of dementia, can you imagine how frightening their lives become when their memory is being erased from them on a daily basis? We tend to become angry with the elderly because they begin to act in ways in which we cannot comprehend. Anger just accelerates their death. Rather, we need to come together and be emotionally supportive and provide them with confidence, love and integrity!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)