Slowing Cognitive Decline in Dementia

The Monthly Care-givers meeting was held on Saturday, 15th October, 2011
from 2:30 - 4:00 p.m, at Conference Hall, 1st Floor, Millennium block, NIMS.
This month's topic was "Slowing Cognitive Decline in Dementia". The audience comprised family members and ARDSI volunteers.

Dr.Suvarna Alladi, Additional Professor, Dept of Neurology NIMS and President, ARDSI Hyd Deccan gave a talk on the mentioned topic.

At the outset she explained the risk factors of dementia which includes- Age, Cardio Vascular & Genetic factors, and Lifestyle. These four are the main risk factors for Dementia. According to studies these is atleast one dementia patient in 1000 population below 65 years age group. The no. increases to 4-5 in 100 aged above 65 years and further to 1 in 5 aged above 80 years.

According to WHO 2002 report, By 2020, 70% of the world’s population will be in developing countries 14.2% of world’s elderly population will be located in India.
Genetic risk factors associated with heart disease and stroke, such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol, may also increase one's risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. High blood pressure may damage blood vessels in the brain, disrupting regions that are important in decision-making, memory and verbal skills. This could contribute to the progression of the disease. High cholesterol may inhibit the ability of the blood to clear protein from the brain.

While explaining about protective factors Dr.Suvarna explained about how effortful mental activities lead to a high cognitive reserve which protects against dementia. As Alzheimer’s disease is strongly associated with vascular risk factors, controlling vascular risk factors acts as a protective factor. Physical exercise reduces risk of cognitive decline and AD. Nutrition also plays key role to reduce the risk factor as Folic acid intake, low saturated fat consumption, high fruit and vegetable consumption, Mediterranean diet have been associated with low risk of AD. And she also mentioned that Omega-3 fatty acids, physical activity, and cognitive engagement may prevent or delay cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease.

Bilingualism as a protection against the onset of symptoms of dementia, reversible causes of dementia, medications for dementia and studies of dementia outcome were also well explained.

The talk received good response from the family members. Interesting interaction among the attendees took place. Dr.Suresh, Asst professor, Dept of Radiology, NIMS came up with valuable suggestions. He suggested sending the awareness literature to public through emails. He also recommended to prepare list of specific problems of family members in managing dementia patients and suitable suggestions/solutions and send to the private group members of ARDSI and to display the same as FAQ section of ARDSI-Hyd-Deccan website.

The session concluded with some practical queries from the family members and Dr.Suvarna Alladi’s pertinent replies to them.