1. Our next Q&A session is on the topic of Christmas and dementia.This time we want our Q&A to involve our resident experts, you! Share tips and advice on navigating Christmas here in this thread.

    Pop by and post your questions or if you prefer you can email your question to us at talkingpoint@alzheimers.org.uk and we'll be happy to ask them on your behalf.
  1. H20

    H20 Registered User

    Jan 31, 2010
    57
    Is Alzheimer's always when a person can't remember the present or can it also be for people that can't remember the past?
    Sorry if the question is confusing..what I'm trying to say is can a person have a loss of memory for present day things and be diagnosed with Alzheimer's or is it always loss of memory for past things that indicate Alzheimer's.
    Thanks
     
  2. Beate

    Beate Registered User

    May 21, 2014
    11,745
    Female
    London
    It starts with the loss of short-term memory but long-term memory (the past) can be lost too over time.
     
  3. Margarita

    Margarita Registered User

    Feb 17, 2006
    10,824
    london
    #3 Margarita, Aug 19, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2015
    In order to understand why patients with Alzheimer's disease lose their memory, it's helpful to know how the brain creates memories. Once a person with a healthy-functioning brain learns something new or has an experience – whether it's when they're five or 55 – it registers in the part of the brain called the hippocampus, which sends that memory or info to other parts of the brain for storage. That "storage bank" retrieves the memory. When Alzheimer's starts to take hold, the hippocampus is one of the first areas of the brain to be damaged. Because this part of the brain doesn't remember that the event (or person) ever took place, it can't assist in retrieving the memory.




    As the disease progresses, memories start to slowly dissipate. "The first thing that gets affected is the ability to take in new memories,
    New memories that don't have the same emotional attachment are stored in a different place than other memories, which is why an Alzheimer's patient whose disease has progressed might remember an event from 20 years ago, but can't remember what they did 20 minutes ago.
    As a result, you cannot teach a love one to not repeat themselves because the hippocampus cannot register the teaching or send it to the storage units of the brain -- this is caused by damage to the hippocampus.

    When plaque builds up in the brain's nerve cells – one of the causes of Alzheimer's – memory and thinking are impacted. That is one of the causes of confusion among people with Alzheimer's disease and their inability to organise their thoughts or remember the faces of people closest to them.

    This is a good link
    http://www.alzheimers.org.uk/site/scripts/documents_info.php?documentID=114
     
  4. Lawson58

    Lawson58 Registered User

    Hi H20,

    You also need to remember that every Alzheimer's patient is different and that memory is a whole lot more complex than just recent or past recollections.

    OH worked in many different countries for many years. He can remember being in those places but cannot recall when he was there. This became evident several years ago when he was applying for a temporary residence visa and was required to list where and when he had lived in various countries. At the time I had no idea that he had AD but I do believe that this was an early indication of what was to come.

    And though there was some recent memory loss, it was his confusion in processing and comprehending language that alerted me to his problem. His diagnosis was a very complicated process which certainly was not based on memory alone but on a barrage of neuropsychological tests as well as the usual CAT scans and the elimination of other possible disorders. The link between memory and language processes is not only intricate but enormous so memory should never be considered in isolation.
     
  5. Countryboy

    Countryboy Registered User

    Mar 17, 2005
    1,427
    Male
    Cornwall
    #5 Countryboy, Aug 20, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2015
    Hi I think it would be difficult to answer for starters Alzheimer’s is one of many typical words used today for describing Dementia or mental illness , your question about memory I was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s 16 years ago and Fronto-temporal-dementia 13 years ago , I forget things in seconds for instance we have the usual thing walking from one room to another to get something but can’t remember well that happens several times a day , I can’t learn anything new somewhere between reading and then retaining what I just read has gone , that the down side , however there is a plus side I can remember things that happened many years ago no problem what so ever , my dad had Alzheimer’s he could recognize any family member or what day it was , but in his younger days a professional boxer and could remember all his fights names of other boxers just amazing the brain and memories is as I said a difficult one were all individuals, Hopefully one of our T.P members Barry from Indonesia will pick up on this thread he could give an excellent explanation,, unfortunately i not that clever with words ( maybe because in 72+ years i have never read a book only work shop manules ) again this only my personal view as a person with dementia
     
  6. Countryboy

    Countryboy Registered User

    Mar 17, 2005
    1,427
    Male
    Cornwall
    Well Margarita thats very interesting
     
  7. Saffie

    Saffie Registered User

    Mar 26, 2011
    22,499
    Female
    Near Southampton
    My mother was convinced that things that had happend a few years previously hadn't happened but was still able at the time to function well in the present day. It is true that these things can occur at different times for different people. The brain is complex.
     
  8. Margarita

    Margarita Registered User

    Feb 17, 2006
    10,824
    london
    #8 Margarita, Aug 20, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2015

    Joanne who is a
    Carer and Volunteer Moderator
    writes on her profile

    When you've seen one person with Alzheimer's, you've seen one person with Alzheimer's,

    What she means is that no 2 people with Alzheimer's / dementia experience the same symptoms everyone one is different .
    every human being is unique, so our people with Alzheimer's / dementia symptoms
    So what you're saying is true .


    Love this quote


    “Each human being is unique, each with their own qualities, instincts, forms of pleasure, and desire for adventure. However, society always imposes on us a collective ways of behaving, and people never stop to wonder why they should behave like that. They just accept it, the way typists accepted the fact that the QWERTY keyboard was the best possible one. Have you ever met anyone is your entire life who asked why the hands of a clock should go in one particular direction and not the other?”


    ― Paulo Coelho, Veronika

    As it applies also to people with Alzheimer's / dementia :)
     
  9. Slugsta

    Slugsta Registered User

    My mum doesn't yet have a diagnosis so I cannot say that her problems are due to Alzheimer's.

    She is certainly getting very forgetful - but she is nearly 90, so that could be acceptable. She also has other changes that are worrying me so I have asked for a referral to the Memory Clinic. At first assessment she did quite well, got the day and date right and then confidently stated that the year was 1975. She then said that she was an only child ( she had one sister) and has no grandchildren (I am an only child but have 1 son). So, for her, some of her earlier memory seems to have gone sooner than we might have thought.
     

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