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The Hippocampus 

The Hippocampus is the part of your brain that stores memories it is also responsible for learning and emotions it is located in the brain on the left and right hand side under the cortical surface.Its main job is to transport short term memories and turn them into long term memories.

If one or both sides are damaged this will stop the person being able to create new memories.

One of the most common changes in depressed patients is shrinkage of the brain especially the hippocampus how much shrinkage depends on the severity of the depression.

A chemical imbalance caused by the hormone cortisol(the stress hormone)is what triggers the shrinkage.

Depression causes the hippocampus to raise its cortisol level this stops neutrons in the brain developing.

It is said that you can strengthen your hippocampus by 


Drinking coffee 

Eat plenty of fish 

Dark chocolate 


Practice mindfulness 

Stimulate your brain by doing puzzles ,learning new skills.

Marina Barker 


Also known as subcortical vascular Dementia 

Blimey I never heard of this one before 

This is a rare form of dementia that involves extensive microscopic damage to the small blood vessels and nerve fibres that make up your brains white matter.

White matter refers to nerve fibres (axons )

 Axons send communications around your brain a bit like a computer or telephone exchange depending on your age.

These are surrounded by myelin this is a whitish colour of fats and other stuff that acts like a protective blanket.

The problem being once they are damaged they can't be repaired.


Thromboembolism =when a blood clot forms in a vein




sleep apnea

arterial fibrillation =iregular heartbeat 

arteriosclerosis =blood vessels that carry oxygen away from the heart become damaged 

Symptoms unsteady walk /shuffling 

speech and swallowing difficulty

mood swings 

loss of ability to think 

make decisions 


memory loss 


Unfortunately there is no cure for this progressive disease 

the life span is on average 5 years from when symptoms begin 

many people with vascular dementia will die from a heart attack or a stroke this is due to the blood vessels becoming more and more obstructed 

Antidepressant drugs can be helpful as depression is associated with disease 

( it is at some in most dementias that I have seen )

Marina Barker 

Dementia in the mirror

Whos that in the mirror that i see 

Is it you it cant be me 

For she is old and i am young 

The dance of dementia has begun 

What is your name 

Oh i should know 

You said you new me long ago 

Well long ago when i was me 

I had adventures by the sea 

Iwas a wife a friend a mother

We used to chat to one another

And now i sit here sipping tea 

A knitted blanket on my knee My life is strange now 

Ill agree 

But somewhere there is still some me 

Dont talk about me when im near 

Undertand i live in fear 

Hold my hand and speak me 

Is that you it cant be me 

Dementia with Lewy bodies 

This is caused by clumps of protein that build up in the brain the clumps are called Lewy bodies 

These clumps are also found in people suffering with Parkinson's they build up in an area of your brain that is responsible for thinking, your vision and your muscle movement. it is thought that these Proteins ( clumps) affect the signals between brain cells so that messages to different parts of your brain break down.

This is rare in people under the age of 65.

There is I'm afraid to say no cure at the moment for this Disease but there are medications that can help it will not stop the disease from worsening but may help the symptoms some of these are 




These are called inhibitors and may help with confusion ,hallucinations and sleep.

Symptoms for this disease are usually gradual over several years and get worse as time goes on.



slow movement 

seeing and hearing things that aren't there

memory loss 




difficulty swallowing 


sleep disturbance 

Life expectancy from diagnosis is around 5-7 years 

Peoples  symptoms for this disease can switch on and off in seconds one minute they are hallucinating and the next they are back in the room.

Hallucinations are very real to the person they may hear  sounds be able to smell, touch  and of course visually see what is not there.

When i worked in a care home I witnessed 2 ladies sitting at the table both flicking ants of with there napkins somehow they where sharing the same hallucinations and it is very important when caring for someone that this is there reality.

Another time i stayed over at a ladies house and she talked to her husband all night he had died several years ago .

All night she was talking to him and begging me to make him a cup of tea in the end i did and very soon after she settled .

So as I always say 

to care for someone with dementia you must step out of your reality and into there's and always remember to take time for your self the journey ahead is not an easy one.

Marina Barker 





This is a rare form of Dementia caused by abnormal clumps of proteins developing in the brain cells 

these  normally develop in the front and sides of the brain these are the parts of the brain that control language ,behavior and the ability to organize or plan anything .

around 1 in 8 people who get this condition will have relatives also affected by the same condition.

Other names for this are 

Picks disease 

frontal dementia

semantic dementia primary progressive aphasia


Personality changes 

acting inappropriately



 neglecting personal hygiene 

over eating 

lack of motivation   

Language problems forgetting words calling a dog a sheep etc.

other symptoms that may occur 

stiff movements difficulty swallowing 


The following medications are sometimes given 


Antipsychotics rarely used but can help to control severely challenging behavior

There is much more information on the NHS WEBSITE 

Marina Barker 



Hallucinations are due to changes in the brain more commonly seen in people suffering with 

Dementia with Lewy bodies 

 Parkinsons disease Dementia 

 Vascular Dementia 


What are the causes of Hallucinations' lots of things apparently 






not forgetting the dreaded Urinary infection 


The person can see, smell, hear and even feel something they may see spiders one lady I cared for insisted there were snakes at her door and on another occasion I witnessed 2 ladies sitting at the dining table flicking there serviettes with great gusto ,when I finally managed to find out what was going on they both said there where ants all over the table is it possible to have a joint hallucination?

They may have conversations with people that are not there!

Not all hallucinations are disturbing to the person having them

 It is a natural instinct to tell someone what they are seeing is not there

  But in my opinion  what they are seeing is as real as what we are seeing so who are we to argue.

Obviously if they are becoming violent because of what they're seeing that is a different kettle of fish and you need to seek medical help

Offer them reassurance  

Speak calmly were quite safe 

Hold their hand Make tea ,I always distract with tea everyone loves a cuppa

A well-lit room is good people often see things lurking where there are shadows 

go for a walk 

put on some gentle music 

Most important don't argue with the person you will never get anywhere.

Marina Barker

For more information go to NHS website  

At the beginning

When you are at the beginning of the Dementia journey you will no doubt feel overwhelmed ,angry ,frustrated ,frightened and hurt that your loved one has this horrible disease. 

In my humble opinion gather as much knowledge as you possibly can .

Start to put things into place it can be a long and winding road and i have often seen people wait too long and end up running round like headless chickens and making themselves ill.

Sort out things like


Prescription deliveries 

The diagnosis and what to expect 

power of attorney

Social workers

Risk assessments for trips and falls  

What future care are you entitled to  

Day centers in your area 

Care Companys

Personal alarms

Local support groups 

Most importantly time out for yourself you can't care for someone if you are physically and mentally exhausted



Some support services 

Dementia UK

Age concern 

Alzheimer's Society


Teepa snow on YouTube


Where memories go 

Still Alice 

The language of kindness

Somebody I used to know 

I hope some of this will help if only a little.

Marina Barker





Adult Sepsis 

This is a life threatening disease sometimes called Septicemia or blood poisoning 

This happens when your immune system over reacts  to an infection it will then start to damage your internal organs and body tissue .

Sepsis can be hard to spot as it is sometimes not unlike the flu .

You cant catch Sepsis from another person it is not there for contagious .


slurred speech 





extreme shivering 

muscle pain 

severe breathlessness 

 mottled or discolored skin  skin 

not passing urine 

Sepsis needs treatment straight away so if you think some one you are caring for has it do not hesitate to ring the emergency services if not treated straight away a person may go into septic shock extremely dangerous as your organs will start to fail

you may then need to be put on a ventilator in intensive care and or surgery to remove infection.

you will be given antibiotics straight away  and you may be in hospital for several weeks.

People do recover mostly from Sepsis but you can be left for months or even years with  physical and emotional symptoms this is called 

Post-Sepsis Syndrome

Symptoms feeling tired and weak 

no appetite

ill more often than before mood swings





post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) 

For more information go to the NHS website 

Please do call emergency services if you are not sure better to be safe than sorry 

Marina Barker 


Well were do you start with this one it is one of the most frustrating things I have ever come across .

It is  an art a person with Dementia can act out to perfection.

Even  though our loved ones and the people  we care for might know they have a problem they become experts in deceit.

Although I have come across this many times unless Doctors,Social workers and any one else involved start to believe what we are saying and not the poor person with Dementia I cant see it getting any better any time soon .

Every one in the medical profession including social workers must be trained in this disease and any other related disease to better understand what is going on .

So what is it ?

Im sure you have experienced your loved one acting more strangely or they seem to be ill you worry (panic) ring the doctor for an emergency appointment when you get there your loved one perks up like nothing has ever happened ,there absolutely fine and dont know why they are waisting the doctors time. 

I took a lady to an emergency appointment last week as she was in pain and her gait was very bad 

( balance and walking)

We sat in the reception where she on numerous occasions tried to escape as if her life depended on it insisting that the old witch behind the door was going to try and see her off .

After what seemed like for ever we went in to see the doctor immediately my lady sat up eyes shining walked in without help ,smiling like she just won the lottery and apologised for waisting the doctors time and blamed the family and me !

Luckily on this occasion the doctor was aware of the history and we got through it quite well .

I had a call from a client her husband who was mid stages off Dementia and was acting so strangely she was in a terrible state he was in bed she had given him his normal cup of tea but he was unable to put it to his mouth instead holding the cup to his ear and unable to speak  just making grunting noises as I got there  I immediately rang the paramedics thinking he was having some sort of a TIA (stroke) or had a UTI (urinary infection )

To cut a long story short they came very quickly He sat up and said hello and ask them if they would like a cup of tea  and he had a definite twinkle in his eye ha ha I swear his poor wife wanted to finish him off there and then but we calmed down and even when he left us we still laugh about it now .

I had a lady in my care who used to pretend she was dead unconscious or had fallen when the family or carers called the emergency services she would be back to normal within seconds and there was no point trying to ignore her as if she was crying wolf because she gave an Oscar winning performance.

As funny as it can be it is also frustrating .upsetting and dam right annoying for the people dealing with it on a daily basis as you feel as though family ,friends and medical professionals think its you that needs help you do but a different sort of help .

Try keeping a journal of everything that is happening this is not only a good report to show  the medical experts but it will also help with your own mental health.

On a daily basis things like dad lost his keys ,dad struggling to get dressed ,Dad had an accident .

Dad using the the telephone to change tv over this sort of thing in a journal really helps the professionals see the decline.

Lastly the person with dementia is not doing any of this to annoy you but they are trying to cope with what is going on hanging on to there last bit of reality and dignity.

As their journey continues this behavior will become less. So as frustrating as it is use the old count to ten ,deep breaths and smile.

Marina Barker


Fatal Familial Insomnia

Fatal familial insomnia is a very rare genetic degenerative disorder it is caused by an abnormal variant in the protein gene 

A person with this disorder will normally live between 12 to 18 months however it has been known for people to live for up to 7 years.

The onset of this disease normally occurs between the ages of 32-62 years although it has occurred in some people earlier on in life 

this disease can present itself as dementia as the person becomes more and more confused 

unfortunately there is no cure and there doesn't seem to be any treatment although it seems sleep medications are given and a drug called Klonopin  to treat muscle spasms 


trouble sleeping

vivid dreams 

hallucination's can occur 

trouble staying asleep 

muscle twitching and spasms or Parkinson's kike symptoms  

loss of appetite 

deteriorating cognitive and mental function

speech problems 

excessive sweating 


unexplained weight loss 


Marina Barker 

The Cerebellum

The Cerebellum can be found behind the top part of the brain stem.

The cerebellum gets information from sensory systems the spinal cord and other parts of the brain and then regulates movements.

It controls walking ,talking ,coordination, balance and eye movements

it is a small part of the brain but has over 80% of the brains Neurons .

Neurons are cells that transmit information to each other by sending electrical signals .

If the Cerebellum is damaged it might lead to lack of balance ,slower movements and shaking 

T keep healthy Cerebellum  exercise regularly, limit alcohol and smoking 

eat a well balanced diet full of leafy greens such as 



oily fish 









Marina Barker

Walking with purpose 

I'm sure you have heard the term wandering ,its also known as walking with purpose .

We tend to think that this is part of the dementia stating that the person wont settle 

We  need to stop and think maybe they are reliving an old memory

 does it happen at a certain time of day?

If a person has gone back to when there children were small they may feel the need to pick them up from school.

They could be looking for someone who normally came at that time.

I cared for a lady and every tea time she would pace up and down the corridor looking out of the window getting more and more anxious ,this was the time her husband used to come home.

All you can do is defer the situation by maybe saying I think he is working late tonight lets go for a cup of tea while we wait and then you can tell me all about him.

Its a small lie but rather that than cause distress by telling her every day he died 10 years ago.

The person concerned might just be bored.

Maybe they actually just want to walk if that's the case assess the risks are they ok to go alone

will they come to harm on roads etc. 

will they fall have they been assessed for walking aids.

each person is totally different and just because the word dementia has come into the equation people do not just give up and sit in a chair for the rest of there lives.

So let them walk they are walking with a purpose.

Marina Barker 

Personality and Dementia

I have met 100s of people with Dementia and not one person is the same .

It stands to reason that as a persons memory is going and they are going back to a time when they were younger their personality will change to a certain extent .(If a person is suffering from TIAS this can indeed change ones personality )some of us are dancers some of us accountants, artists ,actors ,pilots the list goes on some of us have extremely strong personalities and like to socialize and others prefer their own company .Dementia does not randomly pick out certain people its across the board people with extremely high intelligence and people with no social skills at all.

As the disease takes hold and it destroys their memories remember them as you knew them and what they like to do if the person was a dancer then dance, I passionately believe its about the person and not the disease so lets all sing in the rain for as long as we can.

Marina Barker

Dementia and aggresive behavior 

                                                                           Dementia and aggression

There is a lot of advice out there for coping with aggressive behavior but anyone who has worked in the care system or is looking after someone with dementia knows it is easier said than done.

A client of mine 93 went for a days respite recently and was attacked so badly by another client she was left with stiches in in her arm she doesn't remember what happened but has since been wandering and walking with purpose meaning she is unable to settle ,the sad thing is the person who did this will not remember either and in a past life (before this horrible disease ) would be absolutely heartbroken about doing such a thing!

I Myself have been punched ,kicked had poo thrown in my face and bitten so badly I had to visit the hospital, on more than one occasion a very lovely lady would decide to throw all the library books at me because she couldn't get out of the dementia unit its hard to distract some one when your being bombarded by flying books.

but an hour later she would be back to her lovely smiley self with no knowledge of what had just taken place.

Someone I know was actually assisting a chap in the shower who turned round and knocked her out she was using red body wash at the time and he thought it was blood luckily assistance was at hand.

I looked after a lady who used to get picked up by bus every morning to visit a day center to get to the front door she had to pass a large mirror where she would stop and question who the hell that was in her house (her reflection)

she would get so angry and upset about this she would sometimes not get on the bus because she thought the person in the mirror was taking over her house .in the end I had the family remove the mirror as it was her trigger point.

The frustration of losing your capacity to think for yourself must be extremely frightening in the begging and then I guess the frustration sets in when you no longer  know who you are, where you are or who anyone else is for that matter.

all we can do is our best .

When someone is being aggressive towards you verbally keep your voice low and calm speak slowly unfold your arms put your glasses on your head so they can see your eyes I don't know why but I have always find this helps

don't disagree with them if they say something happened to them it did say I'm sorry that happened what can i do to help shall we make some tea while we decide what to do this is deferring the situation and the chances are they will forget what the problem was while your making the tea.


make sure there not in pain if you can

soft lights and music

Soft cushions

A favorite blanket

lavender oils

go for a walk

Take deep breaths maybe leave the room for a few minutes until you a both calmer.

Physical aggression is of course much harder to deal with and I will leave that to the experts however try to get yourself away from the situation and call the emergency services it might be that there medication needs changing Marina Barker  



Trouble swallowing

People with Dementia often have trouble with eating, drinking, and swallowing.

This normally occurs as the brain changes and basically, they forget how to do these things.

The risks that come with this problem are choking when your food goes down the wrong hole as I’m sure we have all experienced this at some stage in our lives we can appreciate how distressing and frightening this is.

It can also result in poor nutrition and a reduced quality of life.

The signs that someone may be suffering with Dysphagia

Coughing when eating

Wet gurgly voice during and or after eating

Difficulty chewing

Moving food to the back of mouth.

Suffering with chestiness or persistent chest infections.

Eating and drinking problems with Dementia

Forgetting to put food in the mouth

Chewing constantly but not swallowing

Leaving most of there food

They believe the food is poisoned

Spitting out food

Difficulty swallowing tablets

Saying the food is inedible

Food is not paid for

Overfilling mouth with too much food then choking

Having a companion eat with the person is often quite helpful

Create a happy relaxed atmosphere

Use contrasting colors so they can see food a person with dementia can often not see water in a glass so use a colorful tumbler

Don’t over fill plate as this can be distressing little and often is the key

Cut up grape’s strawberries any finger foods of their liking and leave in reaching distance.

However, bear in mind that a person’s taste will change as the journey of dementia progresses and you will probably find that even if they didn’t like cake, they will now want it the last thing you will be able to taste in dementia is sweet.

So, let’s eat cake.

You can find more information on the NHS website

Marina Barker

Dementia ,Lobotomy's and the Ice Pick 

The term Dementia comes from the Latin  roots demons meaning out of your mind 

( without mind )

  In Victorian asylums people were called lunatics ,demented ,Maniacs and lots of other  names that we would not dreaming of using today.

The first Lobotomy was performed on the 17th January 1946 On a lady called Sallie Ellen Ionesco she was a house wife from Washington DC

When The Labotomy was invented there was no medication or cure for Dementia and it is said that people were desperate for some kind of treatment.

The powers that be said it was a great success in treating patients with depression schizophrenia, panic attacks and mania But according to research the side effects were horrific vomiting, bladder and bowel incontinence apathy lethargy eye problems eating disorders the list goes on.

But they still continued to treat people around the world.


The first lobotomy's involved cutting  a hole in the persons skull and injecting ethanol into the brain to destroy the fibers that connect the frontal lobe to other parts of the brain.

An instrument  was developed called  Leucotome  that had a retractable loop of wire when rotated this would cut a circle out of your head.

Lobotomy's became unpopular in the 1950s (Hardly surprising! )

There side effects became more well  known it also became apparent that patients in asylums and prisoners  being operated on without there consent.

One flew over the cuckoos nest comes to mind 

Lobotomy's are very rarely if at all performed today.

 If it is  a much different operation is performed.


An Italian named Ammaro Fiamberti developed the procedure in 1945  it involved accessing the frontal lobes through the eye sockets they used an instrument called a orbioclast  a long slender instrument it was actually modelled on an ice pick they would then insert this through the persons eye socket using a hammer moving it from side to side to separate the frontal lobes from the part of the brain that receives and sends sensory input.

The last Labotomy was performed in 1967 on a lady called Hellen I cared for her for a while she was like a frightened mouse all the time terrified of her own shadow all I can say is thank god we have moved on!

Marina Barker  




Dementia with Lewy bodies is the second most common type of Dementia the first being Alzheimer's.

It is commonly mistaken for Alzheimer's.

It is named after a German man who discovered the Disease his name was 

Friedrich Heinrich Lewy 


Tiny deposits of protein build up in the nerve cells of the brain.

 researchers don't fully understand why  this happens but it is linked to low levels of acetylcholine and dopamine and a loss of connections between nerve cells that then die.

Dementia with Lewy body and Parkinson's  disease  are just two of several diseases which effect the brain and nervous system over time.

LB in the base of the brain is linked to movement this is the main feature of Parkinson's!

LB  in the outer layer of the brain is  linked to problems with mental abilities

 (cognitive symptoms) this is a feature of dementia with Lewy bodies .

A person with this diagnosis will have a progressive decline in  mental abilities the average life expectancy is from 6-12 years from diagnosi



Tremors ,shaking fingers, thumb or chin 

Loss of smell

Trouble sleeping 

Dizziness ,fainting 


Trouble moving or walking 

Low voice 

Masked face 

Not being able to stand properly 






These are often people and animals

 The person will be convinced that what they are seeing is real and this can last for several minutes.


Knocking ,footsteps conversations that are not happening.

A common delusion is that someone is out to get them.

 Strangers living in the house they may think their husband, wife is an intruder.

This is extremely distressing for the carer.

Movement problems a bit like Parkinson's (slow and rigid)

Blank facial expression 

The person may Yell out 

Sleep disturbance

This is common and may start several years before being diagnosed


 They may feel faint lose consciousness 

Later stages 



Yelling out 

Speech problems

Unable to walk properly leading to falls 

Problems with swallowing 

Chest infections 

Risk of choking 

Marina Barker 

For more information visit NHS helpline 


Also known as CJD 

This is a very rare disease it only affects around 2 in a million people a year in the united kingdom ,its caused by clumps of protein building up and makes the brain cell die .This leaves the brain cells like a sponge .

A person with this disease will have vision  memory problems ,they will experience loss of balance and will find it harder to use  there muscles as in walking or picking up a cup.

This disease usually takes a long time to develop so the symptoms may take longer to appear unfortunately once they do it is a rapid decline and the person will die within a year .

Types of CJD


 this is the most common and seems to develop for no reason in people over 60


 from inheriting faulty genes from a parent  this can start from as young as 30 years old 

Acquired CJD

 This happens when you come into contact with an abnormal prion protein such as eating meat from an infected cow also known to us as mad cow disease.

These cases are extremely rare as measures were taken to remove infected animals from the food chain ,apparently there were 178 cases between 1970 and 2017 the average age of the people suffering from this was 26 years.

A diagnosis for CJD is difficult and may involve brain scans  MRI

Samples of spinal fluid using a lumber puncture.

There is no cure for this it just involves the person being made as comfortable as possible.

Marina Barker  


This is a group of disorders that effect speech and is usually caused by damage to the cerebellum but can also be by damage to the spinal cord this is a long bundle of nerves that runs down the spine it connects the brain to all the different parts of your body.

causes can be due to trauma, vitamin deficiency, alcohol abuse, drugs, infections and cancers

there are several types of Ataxia 

Aquired Ataxia

Genetic Ataxia 

Idiopathic Ataxia


slurring of speech 

frequent falls 

muscle tremors

vision problems 

heart problems 

slow eye movements 

difficulty with writing, eating 

wide based gate 

poor coordination of arms and legs 

balance and coordination will be affected first 


Low Blood Pressure 

your blood pressure should be around 120/80mm

However it does fluctuate .

HYPOTENSION is when your blood pressure drops below 90/60mm

This can be caused by severe vomiting, Diarroea, sweating due to vigorous exercise .Problems with your heart because it cant pump the blood around your body ,Diseases such as Parkinson's , diabetes Age can also be a reason  and infections 




Blurred vision 

feeling sick 


unable to concentrate 

feeling thirsty



feeling cold 

rapid shallow breathing 



Shock can cause your blood pressure to drop however low blood pressure can also send you into shock in this case they will need to raise your blood pressure by IV fluids.

When your blood pressure drops quickly it can lead to shock

This is an emergency situation and you need medical help immediately

While you are waiting for medical help elevate the persons legs off the floor with whatever is available to you and keep them warm.

You will have tests to see what is causing your blood pressure and medication will no doubt be given.

You can help yourself by eating a well balanced diet 

avoiding alchohol

Drink plenty of water 2-3 litres a day 

eat more salt 

eat smaller portions several times a day helps your blood pressure from falling rapidly. 

Marina Barker 



You may find that your loved one or the person you are caring for starts following you around constantly.

In the middle and later stages of the Dementia journey the person will start to feel a loss of who they are and be anxious about what is going on afraid of being left alone they are following you because they need to feel safe. they will ask you the same question every few minutes.

Try to reasure  them that they are safe try to move the focus by doing little jobs together dusting ,peeling vegetables even folding towels .

It is extremely frustrating being followed around by someone constantly so remember to breath deeply and when ever you can have ten minutes to yourself.


This stands for 


This is rare it is a type of vascular disease .This is a disease of the blood vessels as in arteries and veins 

 Cadisil is caused by a faulty gene When one  of your parents carries the gene  you have a 1 in 2 chance of developing Cadisil .

 when a person has Cadisil they are likely to have several mild strokes which cause damage to the brain tissue mostly the white matter that connects different parts of the brain.



slurred speech 

weakness down one side of the body 

may effect memory 

visuospatial skills 

lack of motivation 



depression \

At the moment there is no cure for Cadisil  some of the symptoms can be managed 

such as drugs for high blood pressure and cholesterol and making lifestyle changes.

Women may notice symptoms in pregnancy 

About 2 in 3 people will go on to develop Dementia 

More information is available on 

Marina Barker 

Vitamin B12 Deficiency

It is thought that this effects around 6 in every 100 people under 60 years old and 20 in every 100  people over 60 years old .

There are a lot of different symptoms 

Tingling and numbness in limbs

Lack of coordination 


Problems with vision 

When the problems are not treated it can come across very much like Dementia 

In some cases a limited diet of meat, eggs  and dairy for example in vegans and vegetarians may result in insufficient B12

In some cases the body is unable to absorb B12 this is due to certain genetic conditions such as pernicious anemia or from taking medication such as metformin.

If treated early enough the symptoms of vitamin B12 can be reversed through supplements, injections and changes in diet.

The help line for Pernicious Anemia is 01656 769717

Marina Barker 


This is a rare form of Dementia that begins by affecting your vision it is also called Bensons syndrome 

It is caused by damage to the brain cells at the back of the brain .

The part that processes information from your eyes and makes sense of what you see.

Alzheimers disease is often the cause of brain cell damage in PCA but it can be caused by Dementia with Lewy bodies and in rare cases it can be caused by Corticobasal syndrome or Creutzfield-jacob disease.

Alzheimers disease normally affects your memory first PCA starts with your vision 

normally this would develop between the ages of 50-65 how many people it affects around the world is not known.

Symptoms of PCA

Things appear to have unusual  ,a client of mine complains that her brown walking stick is green and her hands are always turning red !

Objects are not recognisable and sometimes float around in front of you.

A puddle can look like a hole in the ground.

When you turn and walk away from an object you can sometimes still see it but then again you might not see things in front of you and walk straight in to them.

Trying to cross a road becomes problematic and not being able to recognise faces and object.

Can you imagine how stressful this must be.

Bright lights are often uncomfortable people with Dementia often sit in the dark with the curtains shut because they don't like the light.

Life expectancy with PCA is 8-12 years from diagnosis similar to Alzheimer's disease.

At the moment there are no specific treatments to stop or slow PCA but as with other types of dementia there are medicines to treat the symptoms they are called Cholinesterase inhibitors.

These medicines help the brain cells to communicate  with each other.

Im sure most of you who know someone with Dementia will recognise these names 





These are the 4 Cholinesterase inhibitors

You can read up on PCA on Alzheimer's research uk 

Marina Barker

Vascular Dementia

Vascular Dementia is a common form of Dementia caused by a reduced blood flow to the brain a mini stroke where the blood supply to the brain is blocked off or lots of mini strokes these are called transient ischaemic or TIAs  attacks that cause widespread damage to the brain there is no cure for this as you cant replace the brain cells that have disappeared before the diagnosis but a medicines and a health life style may slow it down .

It is estimated there are 150.000 people affected in the UK.


Difficulty making plans 

Problems with concentration 

Changes in behaviour 

Feeling disorientated and confused 

Difficulty walking and balance 

Though there is no cure eating a healthy diet 

Stopping smoking 

Cutting down on alcohol

Taking medicines such as those to treat blood clots, high blood pressure and lowe cholesterol can help 



Imagine you have a bookcase with several shelves

each shelf is packed with books and each book is a memory about your life it is about people you have met and places you have been memories happy or sad are in all these books.

the shelves are stages in your life starting at the bottom .

shelf number 1 bottom shelf

memories of when you were a child

shelf number 2

memories of your school ,college maybe even university.

shelf number 3

starting out in your chosen career.

shelf number 4

your first love ,getting married.

shelf number 5

having children.

shelf number 6

your children getting married and having children.

shelf number 7 top shelf

your retirement years .

Now imagine someone comes along and shakes the bookcase so hard that some of the books fall out .

Notice that more books fall out from the top shelves then they do from the bottom .

Not forgetting these books are your memories .

shelf number 7

the top shelf is almost empty

the shelf that holds your day today memories your memories of now !

so you cant remember who people are or where you are.

you are not familiar with your surroundings as you do not remember them .

shelf number 6

the shelf has a lot of books missing your memories of your children getting married of you becoming a grandparent .

so your not quite sure why they are there because who are they you do not know or remember them.

shelf number 5

you may have forgotten who your children are because the book of memories fell out of the bookcase .

shelf number 4

the book is missing from when you got married its gone it fell out ,the man in your house could be an intruder because you have no idea who he is.

shelf number 3

there a few books left here you clearly remember your days working at the bank and your achievements there and that you were there for 5 years .

but you don't know what you did after that because that book fell out .

Shelf number 2

there are books here and there on this shelf you can remember you went to college and that you studied accounts ,your school days and friends are still there but only sometimes because that book of memories is teetering on the edge of the shelf and is about to fall out.

shelf number 1

this shelf is almost full you remember your brothers and sisters and your parents and you spend all day wondering where they are and why there not looking for you





Sundowning is also known as late-day confusion and is a form of Alzheimer's and other related forms of dementia .

Sundowning is not a disease but a group of symptoms effecting the person living with dementia.

This normally occurs late afternoon and carries on into the night .

the person will become confused and angry and it always seems to be as daylight fades and in the middle stages of dementia .

Some scientists believe that your body clock is affected by dementia and the part of your brain that recognizes when your asleep and when your awake breaks down.

These are a few things that might help

Avoid stimulant's




Sweets and chocolate

Try to keep outings and appointments earlier in the day

Close the curtains and turn the lights out in the evening .

Make afternoons quite and calm .

Limit food intake in the evening to a snack rather than a hefty meal .


Dementia pugilistica punch drunk syndrome

This is a neurodegenerative disease caused by repeated head injuries,

such as constant blows to the head and or repeated concussion .

this used to be called punch drunk syndrome or dementia pugilistica it is very common in boxers .

the disease usually begins several years after repeated blow to the head.


Changes in mood

Difficulty thinking (cognitive impairment )

Impulsive behavior

Short term memory loss

as the disease progresses ,slurred speech (dysarthria)

Significant memory loss

Parkinsonism symptoms

Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)

there is no cure

This diagnosis will be treated with pain management and behavioral therapy to help with mood swings ,difficulty planning and carrying out tasks which will affect daily living as in personal care ,social interaction and general wellbeing.

The seven stages of Dementia 

no impairment 

everyone starts at stage 1 there are no symptoms of impairment and functions are normal


very mild cognitive decline 

this can vary between age related problems that most seniors face such as forgetting things (dates,places ect.)

some of the signs of this stage 

forgetting everyday phrases

forgetting things like where you put your keys .

mild cognitive decline

this is where symptoms for dementia or Alzheimer's can be come more apparent  to family and friends 

it will not have a big impact on everyday life 

you may notice 

problems with complex tasks

memory loss, forgetfulness 

diminished work performance 

getting lost 

difficulty driving 



Moderate cognitive decline 

This is sometimes described as early onset Dementia or Alzheimer's

Symptons are more noticeable and the person concerned should be seeing a health professional

Symptoms may include 

Social withdrawal 


Non responsive   

Trouble with tasks


Moderately severe cognitive decline 

The person concerned is now likely to need help with everyday tasks such as washing and dressing 

you may need a home carer 

Symptoms can include 



Memory loss i.e. personal details

Reduced mental ability for problem solving .


Severe cognitive decline 

Also known as middle stage Dementia or Alzheimer's 

The person concerned will now need help with daily activities such as using the bathroom or eating 

Symptoms may include 

Difficulty sleeping 

Increased paranoia 



Difficulty recognizing loved ones 


Very severe cognitive decline 

 Described as late stage Dementia or Alzheimer's

The person concerned is now unable to care for themselves 

They may lose the power to walk or speak





 In the past it was believed that all dementia was the same this is not so only recently has it been that distinct disorders such as Semantic Dementia it is related to frontotemporal dementia it is a progressive loss of the ability to remember words ,faces and objects this is from the shrinkage of the temporal lobe in the brain.

the problem usually starts with words people will forget the names of things like calling milk water a dog a cat they may also have problems understanding what is said.

people also have difficulty recognizing faces of the people they see all the time

they will find it hard to recognize objects.

people might become self centered not bothering about other peoples feelings becoming preoccupied with certain activities having a fixed routine daily .

the person cannot change there behavior as it is due to the damage that is effecting there brain cells.

people will normally stay physically well but may become slower as the disease progresses.

this condition normally happens to people between 50 and 65 years of age .there is no cure but certain medication can help with the symptoms.


                                                                                          WATER INTOXICATION


                                                                                Also known as water poisoning

                                           This is a disruption to the brain caused by drinking to much water.

This is very rare and whilst it might be very difficult to consume to much water it does happen and death can occur due to                                                                                                       excessive intake of fluid .

Drinking to much water can increase the amount of water in the blood this can dilute the electrolytes, and especially sodium in                                                                                                         the blood.


This is very common in sports people or endurance training but it does occur in people with mental health issues .

On one occasion because an athlete was not properly rehydrated ,his sodium levels fell below130mm0l/1 he then developed

                                                       water on the brain this is known as hydrocephalus .

                                                    developed a hernia in his brain stem and this lead to his death .

Overhydration happens when someone drinks more than there kidneys can get rid of via urine .

A build up of fluid in the brain is called cerebral edema which can effect the brain stem leading to central nervous disfunction .

                                                               In severe cases this can lead to seizures ,brain damage and comas .



                                                                                            Confusion disorientation



                                                                                                     double vision

                                                                                             difficulty breathing

                                                                                                muscle cramps

                                                                    not being able to identify sensory information

                                                    in rare circumstances swelling of the brain which can be fatal.

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