Dementia vs. Alzheimer's

How are they different? And what are the causes and cures?

What is Dementia?

"Dementia is the name for a group of symptoms or disorder caused by diseases that affect the brain. It is not a specific disease. People with dementia may not be able to think well enough to do normal activities, such as getting dressed or eating. They may lose their ability to solve problems or control their emotions. Their personalities may change. Memory loss is also a common symptom of dementia."

What Is Alzheimer's?

"Alzheimer’s disease affects five million people in the U.S., according to the Alzheimer’s Association. The progressive disease disrupts memory and thinking, impairing and eventually killing brain cells. This damage can lead to symptoms like forgetfulness, having difficulty with time, language problems, or an inability to recognize loved ones. Also Memory and thinking depend on transmission of signals among 100 billion neurons in the brain. Alzheimer’s interferes with cell signal transmission. This produces flawed signaling, so the brain’s messages are lost. This impacts the ability to learn, remember, and communicate."

Difference between Dementia and Alzheimer's

"Alzheimer's is the most common cause of dementia. As you have read Alzheimer's and Dementia affect most of the same things like, memory loss, the ability to learn, personality change, and many more, but they are not the same thing. You can have a form of dementia that is completely unrelated to Alzheimer’s disease. Dementia isn’t a disease. It’s a group of symptoms that affect mental tasks like memory and reasoning. As you can see they are not the same disease, and Dementia isn't even a disease. Next time your talking about these sicknesses make sure you don't get them mixed up."
What's the Difference Between Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia?

What are the cures?

Currently, there is no cure for Alzheimer's. Although there is no cure, Alzheimer's medications can temporarily slow the worsening of symptoms and improve quality of life for those with Alzheimer's. Drug and non-drug treatments may help with both mental and social symptoms. Researchers are looking for new treatments to alter the course of the disease and improve the quality of life for people with dementia. Even though there is unfortunately no real cure for these sicknesses, doctors won't give up hope and will keep trying until there's a cure.

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Through the Eyes of a Doctor

Jenny is a neuropathologist. She studies the brains of people who have had Alzheimer's who have dies from it. She also teaches medical students. She has been studying Alzheimer's and Dementia for about 12 years. She believes that you are your memories and that we need to know more, and that is why she keeps doing this, no matter how sad it may seem. She researches this for a living, and she told me that the brain during the form of Dementia I am studying looks the same as Alzheimer's. She has been doing this for a while and will keep doing this until she finds answers.

Possible causes

"After age 65, the risk of Alzheimer's doubles every five years. After age 85, the risk reaches nearly 50 percent." Scientists are not sure of any causes yet, but there are some that they know of. Less than 5 percent of the time, Alzheimer's is caused by specific genetic changes that virtually guarantee a person will develop the disease. Some other causes that are known are
  • Plaques. These clumps of a protein called beta-amyloid may damage and destroy brain cells in several ways, including interfering with cell-to-cell communication. Although the ultimate cause of brain-cell death in Alzheimer's isn't known, the collection of beta-amyloid on the outside of brain cells is a prime suspect.
  • Tangles. Brain cells depend on an internal support and transport system to carry nutrients and other essential materials throughout their long extensions. This system requires the normal structure and functioning of a protein called tau.

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Verel, Dan. "Can Self-reporting Work for Dementia Patients?" Medcitynews. Medcitynews, n.d. Web. 2 Nov. 2015.

Treacy Colbert. "What Does Alzheimer's Do to the Brain?" Healthline. Healthline, n.d. Web. 03 Dec. 2015.

Healthline Editorial Team. "What's the Difference Between Dementia and Alzheimer's?" Healthline. Healthline, n.d. Web. 04 Nov. 2015.

Unknown. "Is There a Cure for Dementia?" Can Dementia Be Cured? NHS Choices, n.d. Web. 05 Nov. 2015.

Trinity College Dublin. "What's the Difference Between Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia?" YouTube. YouTube, n.d. Web. 07 Nov. 2015.

Jenny the neuropathologist

Unknown. "Alzheimer's Disease." Causes. Mayo Clinic, n.d. Web. 09 Nov. 2015.

About the Author

My name is Alex Orlando, and I am 11 years old. I lived in Morris town, New Jersey until I was in kindergarten. Then I moved to Wyckoff, New Jersey. Last year in WEL I did a big project on the brain and have been fascinated about it since. There are so many aspects of the brain that I would love to discover. These brain sicknesses are just one part. I hope you enjoyed reading my article on these two brain sicknesses as much as I enjoyed writing it.