Dementia is a cruel disease. It strips us of the one thing we all have a divine right to: our memories.
According to an article on dailymail.co.uk, during dementia, the brain cells die off faster than they normally would.
This means that our memories don’t stay ours for long, as we slip into a state of fog, forgetting much of our lives and the people around us.
The Alzheimer’s Sociert state that there are already more than 800,000 people with dementia in the UK and that number is set to double over the next 35 years.
So, what causes dementia? Basically, it’s the shrinking of the brain. This does happen to everyone, with even the healthiest of brains beginning to shrink as you reach 50 years of age.
There us also an overproduction of tau, the protein made by nerve cells in the brain to maintain their shape.
The excess tau forms ‘tangles’, which affect the normal connections between neighbouring cells.
While there is no definitive test for dementia, the only way to tell being an autopsy after death.
However, doctors do use a memory test as a basic test for the disease.
The test your GP is most likely to use is the Six Item Cognitive Impairment Test, developed in the U.S. in 1983 and updated as the 6CIT- Kingshill Version by Dr Patrick Brooke, a British GP.
Ask someone to put these questions to you and then score each answer to give a possible total out of 28.
1. WHAT YEAR IS IT?
(score 0 if you answer correctly, 4 if incorrect )
2. WHAT MONTH IS IT?
(correct: 0; incorrect: 3)
At this point in the test, a name and address is given and the person is asked to remember it. It should have five components, for example: Peter Smith, 56 High Street, Luton.
3. WITHOUT LOOKING AT A CLOCK, WHAT TIME IS IT TO THE NEAREST HOUR?
(correct 0; incorrect 3)
4. COUNT BACK FROM 20 TO 1
(correct 0; error 2; more than one error, 4)
5.SAY THE MONTHS OF THE YEAR IN REVERSE ORDER
(correct 0; one error 2; two or more errors 4)
6.TELL ME THE NAME AND ADDRESS I GAVE YOU EARLIER
(correct: 0; one error: 2; two errors: 4; three errors: 6; four errors: 8; all wrong: 10)
0-7 No sign of memory problems
8 -9 Some evidence of memory problems — see your GP.
10-28 High evidence of memory impairment that needs further investigation.