Dementia ability to communicate with other brain

 Dementia is a common disease that affects the
memory and cognition; resulting of old age with many forms, the most common
being Alzheimer’s disease. Dementia is a very common disease, with one in six
people over the age of 80 who develop the disease, and while it is mainly seen
in those of old age, younger people can also have the disease (Welton, 2013,
p.3). Dementia is important due to its significant effect the thinking and
memory of one who has the disease, and because this disease is so common, this disease
not only affects the patient, but those who are in association with them.

Because Dementia is a disease
associated with the loss of memory, the hippocampus,
which is the “structure in the temporal lobe associated with learning and
memory” (Spielman, 2017, p. 104). According to the Alzheimer’s Association, when
the brain cells in the hippocampus are damaged, this affects their ability to
communicate with other brain cells and in effect, can cause aspects of memory,
thinking, and behavior to change (Alzheimer’s Association, 2017).
Bonner-Jackson, Mahmoud, Miller, and Banks (2015) conducted research in
reference to the size of the hippocampus and its effect on Alzheimer’s disease,
and found that the disease “results in progressive loss of tissue” mostly in
the hippocampus, which in effect leads to a loss of memory (Bonner-Jackson, Mahmoud,
Miller, Banks, 2015, para. 3). The research found that there was a strong
relationship between memory ability and the volume of the hippocampus
(Bonner-Jackson et al., 2015).

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Dementia can also be linked to the cerebellum, that “receives messages
from muscles, tendons, joints, and structures in our ear to control balance,
coordination, movement, and motor skills” (Spielman, 2017, p. 97). When a
patient has a form of dementia such as Alzheimer’s disease, the shrinking or “atrophy”
of the cerebellum is found mostly in the default mode network of the cerebellum,
which is the cause for a loss of coordination or balance (Schmahmann, 2016,
para.5). The cerebellum can also be associated with processing a type of memory
of “learning and remembering how to perform tasks,” this and the other aspects
of the cerebellum are often linked to dementia as many patients have trouble
with coordination and balance along with various forms of memory loss (Spielman,
2017, p. 97).  For example, in the movie, The Notebook (2004), the older Allie Hamilton, who struggles with
Alzheimer’s disease, is portrayed as not only experiencing memory loss, but
also physical impairment where she needs assistance to walk.

Another part of the brain that can
be linked to dementia is the amygdala,
which is “involved in our experience of emotion and in tying emotional meaning
to our memories” (Spielman, 2017, p. 95). In reference to dementia, although
the Amygdala is found to be better preserved in old age than other parts of the
brain; but with atrophy in the amygdala, this is where the emotional effects of
the disease become present (Mammarella & Fairfeld, 2014). When the amygdala
is damaged, patients with dementia can display a number of conditions, some
being neuropsychiatric symptoms such as agitation or paranoia and can also
display personality changes in relation to cognition and mood (Knafo, 2012). For
example, in the movie The Savages (2007),
Lenny Savage displays increasing aggressive and agitated behavior towards his children,
even becoming physically violent, as the children learn he is diagnosed with
dementia. The emotional aspects of this character are linked to the amygdala
and its control of his emotions and the connections he makes with his emotions
and his memories.

There are far more aspects of the
brain that are connected to and affected by dementia, and while there is ample
information on what dementia does to the brain and its functions, there is
still much that is not understood by dementia. Dementia is a very complicated
disease, but with knowing the functions of the hippocampus, amygdala, and
cerebellum, one can have a better understanding as to how a patient with
dementia can lose their memory, or loose coordination, and even be emotionally
unstable. With the hippocampus being the structure of the brain associated with
memory and learning, this structure is one of the first to be affected by
dementia. Then with the amygdala, damage to this structure also creates an
effect on the patient that is strongly associated with dementia, being
emotional instability. And finally, with the cerebellum, which when damaged,
the patient displays motor and coordination problems, and this is typically a
symptom that is present in later stages of the disease. In conclusion, dementia
is a common disease that is linked mainly to the structures in the brain
pertaining to memory, emotion, and motor functions; this disease has many
effects on the human and the ability to communicate effectively, and while there
is no known cause for the disease, it is mainly present in the older-aged demographic.