More Promising News for Dementia
Writing this blog is very important to my life. Yes. You read that correctly. It is important TO my life. It forces me to look inward to report outward. I am forced to continue living in the present, looking for ways to improve it. I am forced to divulge many personal thoughts in the hope that someone-with dementia, newly diagnosed maybe, or caregivers-will have an "ah-ha" moment, a breakthrough in understanding of dementia.
This insidious disorder, this dementia, is touching so many-not just the elderly. It tears at the entire family. It can turn the family dynamics upside down, with the children being the caregivers to their parent. Dementia doesn't always hit the elderly, though. It can hit much younger, sandwiching the dementia sufferer between the generations of his/her own children and his/her own elderly parents. This knowledge makes me even more determined to bring to the reader any hope I can find to give them for a more promising future.
Recently, I read about a trial involving a "magic cocktail" (my description!). In this study, 225 people with Alzheimer's were given a specialized cocktail of uridine, choline, and Omega-3 fatty acid DHA (all are found in breast milk) plus B Vitamins, phosopholipids, and antioxidants. The first three ingredients, uridine, choline, and Omega-3 fatty acids, are precursors to the fatty molecules which form synapses in the brain. (Note: The brain's network of neurons forms a huge information processing system. Information flows from one neuron to another. The human brain contains about 10 billion nerve cells, or neurons. Each neuron is connected to other neurons by about 10,000 synapses, or small spaces (the number depending upon one's neuroanatomy). An MIT professor of brain and cognitive sciences, Richard Wurtman, theorizes that the number of synapses one has can be increased by enhancing their production, thus avoiding the loss of cognitive ability that occurs in Alzheimer's. In other words, having more synapses is a GOOD thing as it promotes a "better road" for processing information in the brain. The results of the study, published in the January 8, 2010 journal Alzheimer's and Dementia, showed that those participants suffering with a mild form of Alzheimer's who were given this "cocktail" improved in their verbal memory, the ability to remember words and names. There are three more trials underway in the U. S. and Europe. Results are expected within a few years.
I have been approaching 2010 in a positive way. MIT's study shows promise in improving verbal memory. Thankfully, there are many more studies underway at this time. These are studying different aspects of dementia. They hold promise for improving the lives of everyone in the future. Their results could lead to ways of preventing or curing the disorders that result in dementia. One can only hope.
H O P E. There's that word again...