• Expert Q&A: Rare dementias - Tues 3 March, 3-4pm

    Our next expert Q&A will be on the topic of rare dementias. It will be hosted by Nikki and Seb from Rare Dementia Support. If you have any questions about rare dementias, they will be here to answer them on Tuesday 3 March between 3-4pm.

    You can either post your question >here< or email them to us at talkingpoint@alzheimers.org.uk and we'll be happy to ask them on your behalf.

excercise for the brain?

rummy

Registered User
Jul 15, 2005
700
Oklahoma,USA
I saw a fascinating program over the weekend about a computer program being developed to help older folks maintain and regain their memory, even if they have dementia. They are having some real success with it. My question is, has anyone here ever tried any kind of mental therapy for their AD loved one? If so, did they have any success. Do any of you know of a program that exist like this?
Debbie
 

Brucie

Registered User
Jan 31, 2004
12,413
near London
Hi Debbie
well I have heard of stroke victims re-learning things by training previously under-used portions of their brains.

My own uninformed - other than by trying everything for Jan - view is that it may depend both on the areas of the brain being affected by the dementia in the person at the time, and also the stage of development of the condition at the time. Possibly also the age of the person, and exactly what memories are being maintained and regained.

I'd be sceptical until I saw any proof of this on large numbers of people, and more detail of what exactly is going on, what is being attempted.

I tried all sorts of things, both involving Jan's ability to learn, re-learn, adapt, etc and also in changing practices and behaviours, and none worked. Indeed all I did tended to confuse her more.

If what you say is correct, then it will be great!
 

rummy

Registered User
Jul 15, 2005
700
Oklahoma,USA
Thanks Brucie,
I'm always looking for that little ray of hope, we haven't tried anything like this with my Mom so I was just wondering if it had been tried. Wouldn't you think if the parts of the brain that are healthy can be retrainedd in stoke victims that the same would work for AD. I will have to ask the neurologist about this when we go in March.
Thanks,
Debbie
 

Brucie

Registered User
Jan 31, 2004
12,413
near London
Hi Debbie
Yep, I agree, chasing those chinks of light is always worth it! Who is to know whether something will work or not until they have tried it in their individual case?

I have just written and rewritten my ideas in this post on the differences between stroke and dementia damage to the brain, and why the dementia damage is less able to be bypassed.

Then I deleted both attempts. I'm not an expert or anything approaching one, so my supposition might be totally off, and I wouldn't want to mislead anyone!!!
 

rummy

Registered User
Jul 15, 2005
700
Oklahoma,USA
I would interested in hearing your take on the differences. I keep wondering why you can rebuild the brain after stroke but not AD.
Deb
 

Brucie

Registered User
Jan 31, 2004
12,413
near London
Oh Debbie, you really shouldn't encourage me!

However, since you have....

I visualise the difference - perhaps someone who really knows can correct me - as a stroke causing damage to a specific area of the brain - that fed directly by the blood vessel that has become blocked. The amount of damage caused depends on how far down the 'trunk' of the blood vessels is the blockage.

Dementia seems to cause more widespread, random, damage all around the perimeter of the brain.

Where a localised area is damaged - as with a stroke - it may be possible for an adjacent, undamaged area to learn to take over some of the function.

Where damage is more general, it may be difficult for the function to be reassigned, especially as the damage seems to affect more than the memory storage capabilities alone.

Another thing is that strokes come as catastrophic incidents, permitting - often - some time for recovery between strokes, if there is more than one.

Dementia - Alzheimer's, in particular, seems to be a continuing process, slowly - and sometimes not so slowly - over time.

Dementia - vascular, is caused by mini strokes and thus takes on some characteristics of the stroke pattern, though often the vascular dementia is accompanied by Alzheimer's as well.

I'm looking forward to hearing other views on this........
 

rummy

Registered User
Jul 15, 2005
700
Oklahoma,USA
That makes sense. I have read that the nerves of the brain become bundled with AD and have wondered if that has any relevance.
I too am looking forward to others opinons/knowledge on this subject.
Debbie
 

Canadian Joanne

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 8, 2005
16,246
66
Toronto, Canada
Ray of hope

Debbie & Brucie,

Why not investigate every possibility? At least you will feel you tried everything you could. We have to keep going on.

Joanne
 

Brucie

Registered User
Jan 31, 2004
12,413
near London
Hi Joanne,
in a previous post in this thread I said
Yep, I agree, chasing those chinks of light is always worth it! Who is to know whether something will work or not until they have tried it in their individual case?
so I guess we are in agreement!