Follow
Share

When I was younger there were no elders in my family, extended family, or friend's families who had this awful disease. My elder relatives were very much a vital part of our lives and integrated into everything we did. I know it wasn't called Alzheimers back then, but I knew very few people who had diminished mental capacity as they aged. Fast forward to the present and it seems that so many more seniors are afflicted with this illness.
Is the cause environmental, from having less healthy diets and lifestyles than past generations, social deprivation, or from living longer lives. It seems so odd to me that we would have this tremendous leap in cases in such a short period of time.
I also wonder if it is coming from a shift in our thinking about aging. In the past most people did physical labor until the day they died. We did not warehouse older citizens or make them feel like their usefulness was up. My grandfather worked on his farm until his 80s. My grandmother was dancing 2 weeks before she passed.
If it is a societal issue, that troubles me. The last few decades have ushered in a youth-fixated philosophy, so much so, that the media and advertisers try to suggest that people in their 40s+ are "old." We separate generations and grandparents are just for "visiting" on Sundays. Could lack of inter-generational contact be contributing to the cognitive issues we are seeing now? I don't know.
I know very little about this illness, and am hoping others will share their theories. I hope we find a cure...it is such a dignity-robbing disease.

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
1 2 3 4
I think dementia is caused by pesticides ,preservatives and insecticides. Do you agree
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

The article that awaking cites include this observation:

""In part, some of the results are explained by more effective treatments for cancer and heart disease, with advances in medicine making such physical illnesses easier to treat, whilst there have been less advances in the treatment of neurological conditions""

My husband always thought it unfair that he managed his heart disease so well only to develop dementia. And I agree, if there weren't good treatments available for heart disease he would have died (as his brothers and a sister did) long before dementia was obvious.

That is not the only factor, of course, but it is one to consider.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

It's not just an older population. It's increasing among 40 year olds too...

sciencedaily/releases/2015/08/150806091328.htm

We can't make the mistake of thinking one or two people we know, speak for millions. Everyone knows someone who smoked into old age, but it's a terrible fallacy to conclude that smoking doesn't cause cancer for millions of others.

We're living very differently than 100, even 50 years ago. Agriculture, Livestock, electromagnetic fields have been drastically shifted, modified, and we're all consuming and living in the midst of it.

We have to remain open-minded to the reality that the drastic changes industry is making to the environment we live within, are inescapable.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

My neighbors all they consume is basically junk, but as they say you can take em to the water fountain but etc. People don't want to hear it, if it's a company name they have known all their lives they trust it to be wholesome & healthy. I order my meats from the Midwest, shipping is free, no taxes, and I love it. Tuna I order from a co in CA best on the market American Tuna ships free also, this is the real stuff not the tail ends you buy at the store. Same with dog food, anything that cannot be sold to the consumer is swept off the floor mixed with grains & sold by the tons.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

two pups,
Yes, I agree!! But sometimes it is hard for people to make the choice of quality over quantity. You most definitely should do you homework before eating what most stores are selling. I'm all for the free range farming and support it when ever I can, seeing I live right in the heart of it. I also go out of my way to buy grass fed dairy products at the grocery along with unproccessed coconut oil. (I also use MCT oil).
Just wish I could get my MIL who has dementia/Alzheimers to consume it. She was raised on junk, prepared junked herself (plus she smoked) and won't touch anything healthy short of a banana.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

A big factor is the STATINS which sucks the good fat out of the brain, fats are needed to keep the body working, it's expensive but buying your meats & chicken from farms that don't feed the animals the crap that Monsanto makes. Also buying meats at the grocery store, just check the web on what they use to keep all those meats red & fresh looking. Quality beef is good for your health, and worth the cost
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

There is no doubt in my mind that diet is a huge factor here. We are told that so many things are good for us so that companies can make money. This is also true in the pharmaceutical field! They don't want there to be "cures" because cures do not make continuing profit. Coconut oil has been found to have many healing qualities, especially to the brain (it is the ONLY other thing that the brain can turn into energy besides glucose) and it use to be used in our food way back when until they "thought" it was bad for you and replaced it with other horrific fats. We also used to get CLA (another good fat) in our food from grass eating cows and chickens. Not any more....everything eats corn and soy, then so do we. We use to spend actual time in the sun so that our bodies produced the crucial hormone/vitamin D. Then we were told that the sun is bad, we should only go out at certain hours and if we we're out, to slather ourselves in SPF or cover up. Now a large number of our population is vitamin D deficient. Vitamin D is crutial to our well being.

So back to the coconut oil. Pharmaceutical did not miss that boat either. Though it has not been well publicized they put out a "medical food" for which you need a prescription, called Axona. Guess what is in it???? You guessed it, a component of coconut oil called Caprylic Triglyceride. Now that they have changed it and added a few things (including soy for emulsification - YUCK), they can now charge you a nice price for a watered down version of something that nature can give you at a higher concentration and a lower price.

The final word on trying to eat healthy for your body and your brain is that it is exspensive. If you are trying to feed a family on a budget, it is easier to spend less and get more on "junk". It is just so sad. I am sure that the food is NOT the only factor but I do feel it is a REAL one.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Several of the dementia sufferers I have cared for, prior to living - and dying - with the disease in their 80s and 90s, were very intelligent educated people with glowing careers in fields such as teaching. One was an eminent lady who moved in high circles in her healthier days. To see what this cruel disease reduces them to, is no less than tragic. I am just an onlooker - a carer. To their loved ones/families, this is a hundred times more painful.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

We hear more now because many years ago no one talked about this dreadful disease of the brain, remember Alzheimers was 1st discovered in the early 1900s we have wasted way too many years just letting that fact pass us by, when our parents or grandparents showed the horrible craziness and aggression that could not be controlled they were committed to an insane asylum. I also think the diagnosis numbers are way off, even if one knew what AD was, when they passed, that was not written down as the cause. Now people are still hiding it, like it's an embarrassing subject to talk about, when my husband began his AD journey about 8-9 years ago, I knew of no one personally or otherwise that brought up the subject, since then I have become involved and outspoken about AD people are not afraid to talk about it and disclose that yes, someone in their family has it, that's what we need, the gen pop needs to know. Just think if Dr Alzheimers work had been continued when he diagnosed AD in 1906 AD most likely would have been eradicated years ago. Having this disease is one h*ll of a way to make a graceful exit! It eats away minute by minute. I just smile when I keep seeing all the articles etc about how you can beat AD, the exercise, the wine, on & on, those we know with it were scholars, Drs great minds & it did not help them. God Bless us ALL
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

I too believe that the modern diet has a lot to answer for. Although the elderly now suffering from dementia are the ones who were brought up on a healthier diet, they have nevertheless spent the last few decades eating the poor quality rubbish that is available nowadays masquerading as "food". Maybe as the brain ages, it fails to process this diet. In which case, we may even start to find that dementia hits earlier and earlier in time to come. The other factor I believe has a lot to answer for is pollution. Again, maybe older brain cells cannot tolerate vehicle pollution and cleaning chemicals and they are damaged by these. Younger persons maybe can tolerate modern diets and pollution better in the early years because their body is still young, but as time goes on they may find that they are developing these problems earlier than the current older generation has done. Likewise with animals, they are susceptible to our modern idea of dog and cat food (highly processed garbage, mostly) and to modern chemicals and pollution. Years ago, many dogs and cats lived to 16 years of age without any brain degeneration, yet now there is evidence that many pets are suffering from dementia well before this age. In the case of pets, the only things that have changed are the food they eat and the pollution in our modern world. I work in a care home full of residents with dementia and it is a tragic end to an otherwise full and worthwhile life. Before I worked with dementia, I used to believe that it was only the family and friends who suffered and that the person with dementia was "blissfully unaware" of their condition...but I now know that this is rarely the case and that those existing with dementia are far from unaware - they are simply unable to process what they are aware of.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

I think it is environmental - food, food packaging, smoking, water quality - something. Although people are living longer, my parents generation (approx. 80 yrs old) don't recall so many w/dementias when they were my age (55). I personally know four persons w/dementia, my mother, who became symptomatic at age 67, my good friend, who is worsening now, at age 65, my friend's mother, who was diagnosed with Picks at age 61 and a neighbor who appears to be developing alz at age 71-72. These people are/were not old at the time of diagnosis. The woman with Picks has already died. I know OF many others who have had family members with alz and many were older than this, but still. Something has to be wrong here. I agree with the person who mentioned the big business aspect associated with these diseases also. My father is paying $90,000 a year for my mother's nursing home (Sunrise) and that's pretty standard from what I understand. Not to be paranoid, but, you really have to wonder - an aging population, big money to be made, a faltering economy. How much incentive is there to find a cure? But I digress. Thanks for the info on coconut oil Carol(?). Note too, our brains need cholesterol and how many people take statins. Anyway, good luck all. Elizabeth
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

catchlab, I, like you, am not holding my breath either. IF and that's a gigantic IF anything is discovered it will take years for it to be available. Then, will it be affordable? (Ask my terminally ill cancer ridden SIL how the medical world is treating her and her wallet.) All I can hope is something will help the next generation. My dad didn't live to see his 70th birthday.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Well, I'm 60 and my mom didn't start showing signs until she was 80, so maybe the medical world will come up with something in 15 or 20 years. But I'm not holding my breath, ha ha.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

My religious norms don't allow for rational suicide, so I won't, but for those of you who feel differently, I would also say find out exactly what your bad family gene is and whether you even have it before plotting a suicide. Living a full life is worth some degree of indignity, and suffering can be reduced or relieved if you can get the docs and nurses to LISTEN though that's sometimes no mean feat. Some of the issues in getting to the cures is not knowing the genetics and metabolic underpinning of what is actually going on, or trying new treatments on what is actually a very mixed bag of different disorders so you really can't even tell that it helps at least 20% of the group (!) We would not even have steroids for Duchenne musclar dystrophy if we hadn't sorted it out from the other dystrophies for which steroids are no help or even harmful. ALS is looking that way, the folks with SOD1 mutations currently have more of a shot at real help soon; there is still some ways to go with the dementias to say the least, but there is beginning to be some help for at least a few of us and our loved ones. It would have been tragic for people with type I diabetes to suicide right before insulin came out, no?
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Whirlpool, we can sure hope, and brilliant scientists all over the world are working on treatment/cure/prevention of dementia. But science has been working for a very long time on a cure for diabetes, and for decades on HIV. We humans aren't quite as powerful as we like to hope, sometimes.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Dare we hope that in the somewhat near future that they can actually develop a cure or effective treatment for Alzheimer's? Again thanks to Eyerishlass for opening up this discussion, I bet there are many who quietly think "not me", I can't go through it.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Eyerishlass, Your "rant" was excellent in covering all the issues those of us have
concerning the decline and diminishment of our loved ones with dementia. Thanks for just putting it out there. Because of family history, I have a good chance of developing Alzheimer's and I don't plan to stick around if it develops. I don't have children so it's easier to make that kind of decision. I am watching my mother go through the end stages of Alzheimer's and it is HEARTBREAKING!
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Eyerishlass, I guess in my older age, I'm not real concerned what others think as long as I'm not hurting them, which i try never to do mI'm entitled to my opinion just as others are to theirs. It's a nice feeling for me, one who has lived my life worrying what others thought because my mom instilled that fear in me. But my greater fear is getting Alz. I don't dwell on it, I hope I don't get it (or already have it-yikes) but I'd be living on another planet to deny it. It's just like if cancer runs in your family, you'd always wonder. Who knows exactly what I'd do if I was ever diagnosed, but I definitely don't want to travel that road just like my great grandmother, her daughter my grandma, my father or his 3 siblings didn't want to either. They just weren't as informed as we are today. Above all else, we have to be honest with ourself.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

I was so afraid after I posted that rant. I'm new to this site and I tried to figure out a way to remove it. Not because I don't feel the way I described but I thought people might read it and think I'm some kind of loon. But I meant every word.

"The family curse" sends shivers down my spine.

xoxo to Whirlpool and AlwaysMyDuty
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

I totally understand you, Eyerishlass and Whirlpool. I've had the talk with my daughter too. I'm the fourth generation in line for what we call the "family curse". Most of my cousins and I have watched our parents die of Alz. Don't think WE aren't concerned?
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

Eyerishlass, your post sure got me thinking. I have a feeling that it might not be okay to delve too deep into this topic on this board, but I guess the moderators will let me know. I too think about ending my life at the right time before I get too old to do it. I don't and won't have children and am unlikely to marry, so I will face old age and dementia alone. Every generation in my family that I know of going back four has had dementia in old age, can I be so lucky not to? That's only on one side of my family, but the genes seem pretty strong. Still I think it would not be so easy, to be say 70 and still in pretty good health but to know one's mind is starting to slip and deliberately give up the last bit of life - while the mind is still good enough to enjoy life. But if you wait until your mind's not good enough to enjoy life, what then? You wouldn't have the independence or ability to do it. Also most people are traumatized by suicides in their family - I would think the adult children (if one had them) would still be devastated even while knowing the reasons. To me it's a sign that something is deeply wrong with how modern medicine treats the elderly that people are kept alive physically to a point of such spiritual/emotional suffering. I remember in her last days my grandmother yelling out in pain over and over to me to help her and there was nothing I could do. And in the years before that this once proud smart woman, humbled and humiliated by her circumstances a shadow of herself. I soon will go down into these depths again with my mother and I'm not ready.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

I've had a lot of coffee today.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

I agree that we see it more now because people are living way past the age that they used to. My dad has had 4 heart attacks, diabetes, cirhhosis, and now dementia. Back in the day his 1st or 2nd heart attack would have killed him but he had a quadruple bypass. Medications, treatments, surgeries.....all these things that are available now to prolong life. If you ask me it's not always beneficial. Personally I would rather die in my sleep at age 72 than struggle with my health for years, suffer from pain for years, go and live with my daughter because I'm not able to live alone and then be placed in a nursing home because my body and mind are totally shot. And I remember as a wee girl scout going and visiting nursing homes and that was 40 years ago so yes, nursing homes have been around for a very long, long time. Modern medicine has figured out ways to keep us alive, maybe past the point we should be, but no one can figure out how to cure the issues we encounter from staying alive long past the time our body tries to konk out. My lovely father has a brilliant mind. Rather, he HAD a brilliant mind. College professor. Member of MENSA. He was creative and funny and loving and the best man I've ever known. Now he's been robbed of the dignity that he and so many others deserve because his body is continuing to outlive his mind. His brain in 80 years old. That is an old brain. I know there are people who live and thrive into their 90's and good for them! :-) However, that is the exception, not the rule. My daddy is facing an ugly, long, slow, painful decline into dementia and will probably end up in a hospital bed, in diapers, drooling and not being able to eat solid food because his implanted defibrilator shocks his heart back into rhythym when it's really time for his huge, loving heart to die. This defibrilator was a Godsend for him 10 years ago when he was vital and social and had things to occupy his time and his mind. Now he's a shell of who he once was and I think that stinks. He deserves better. Most people deserve better. But thank God for modern medicine!!! My dad is 80!!! We thought he'd pass away years ago due to his heart disease. But he's not vital. He's not happy. He's miserable!!! I never thought I'd see the day when he wasn't sharp as a tack but thanks to all of his medication over the years he's actually lived to see 80! There have always been stories from people I've known who've had relatives who were 'senile'. I married into a large Irish family who would regale me with "Uncle Bill" stories. Oh, he was mad as a hatter. He lived with relatives when he was old because he was so 'senile'. This was in the 1960's so dementia was around then even if wasn't referred to as 'dementia'. Now they have to build whole wings of rooms in nursing homes to house all the people with Alzheimers'. In my dad's nursing home there's a woman who is so out of her mind that she is wheeled around clasping a baby doll. Good for her Dr.!! Her brain and her body are shot but she lives on, day in and day out. Maybe we should take it up with God. Or maybe I'm accurate in thinking the Dr.'s have something to do with it. Who knows? I don't believe it's diet but I understand why people do. Maybe it's not my personal favorite, Big Pharmaceutical. Could be that we just hear about it more than they used to but there have always been families who have that one person, maybe it's Grandpa or maybe it's Aunt Tillie....that one person who was nuttier than a fruitcake with what we now call dementia or Alzheimer's. For as far back as I can remember there have always been people who would today be diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer's. It's not new. My mom took care of my grandma, my grandma took care of my great-grandfather, ad infinitum. And my parents told me, they vowed, that I would never, ever have to go through that with them. But guess what? And what's the alternative?! My father has asked me twice to kill him. First it was with a pillow and the second time he suggested an OD. He begged me, he sobbed. I actually had this conversation with my wonderful father. I told him that I would go to jail, that assisted suicide is illegal. And I've told my own daughter now how I will never, ever put her through what I'm going through with her grandpa. It's the thing we tell our children to make ourselves feel better but how do we prevent it? At the first sign of dementia should I kill myself to spare my daughter the pain of what I go through everyday because of my dad? How ridiculous is that? How many stories have we read here about parents refusing to leave their house as they age and begin to suffer from dementia? And for each person we read about there is a spouse or an adult child who is struggling to care for this person. Hell, we have websites of support for caregivers! We need support because it's a next to impossible job. We give up our jobs, our lives, our hobbies, sometimes our marriages so we can care for an aging parent or ill spouse. Who cares for us? We've all read the statistics about the caregiver getting sick before our loved one!

I come here because I can relate to all of you. I'm a caregiver. I cared for my dad for 5 years in my home until I. Couldn't. Do. It. Anymore. It was either him or me and I chose me and here's the secret no one tells us: When you put your loved one in a nursing home the caregiving doesn't stop. It's different but it's not over, not by a long shot.

My dad is dying a little bit everyday. His mind is almost gone. Because of his liver failure he's full of toxic, noxious fluid. We've hired hospice to supplement the care my brother and I give him. The care I still provide him. It takes 3 people and a staff full of nurses and techs to care for my dad now. I told my daughter that I would never put her through this, just like my mom and and told me but I promise her I will never, ever put her through this. I promised her and I promised myself. Eventually, someday, the time will come and I'll know it's the right time and I will save my daughter years of grief, sadness, resentment, heartbreak, financial strife and everything else I've been through and everything else I've read about all of you going through. My daughter will never need a website like this.
Helpful Answer (5)
Report

Whitney, what about people who have never taken a supplement in their lives and still come down with dementia? Did he address that? Are those minerals added to food we commonly eat?
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

I saw a well-respected doctor on television several months ago, and his theory is that people are taking too much iron, copper and zinc, and that too much of it greatly affects the brain in a negative way. I am not saying what he says is correct, but this is his theory. I don't think folks many years ago took supplements at all, if so, not nearly as much as we do today.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Coconut oil has been discussed here before. My wife has cortical basal degeneration and a week on coconut oil put her in the hospital. Does not mean it won't work for other people, I would suggest reviewing the studies with your doctor first, like I did.

As far as causes, I am sure the quantity of medications people are currently taking is one cause.
A second is diet.
A third is lack of exercise.
A fourth possibility is a high level of stress.

I can speak to diet and medication peronally. Once I took over my wife's medications I discovered she had been taking premarin for over 12 years. There was a warning in the package not to use it for more than 6 months. I don't know if the warning was always there but I notice now the druggists are watching more of the medications she is taking.

When she was diagnosed, she was given a cocktail of medications. I kept telling the neurologist she was not eating, she was having these mini reactions at night, etc and she kind of pooh poohed everything I said. Finally I said, lets take her off everything and then we can add medications back as she needs them. It took almost a year to get her off all the medications and every time she went off one, her mental ability took a giant leap. Afterwards we had about 3 years when she was much more functional than she had been on the medications. The neurologist told us she couldn't do anything more for us. She was kind of ticked that I took the treatment out of her hands. Last spring when my wife was in the hospital for the reaction to coconut milk, she had to see a neurologist. One of the first things he mentioned was that I already knew medications did not help her situation at all.
As far as diet, she became incontinent about 6 years ago. One of the ladies at the senior center mentioned the fact that when she drank milk, it went right through here. I experimented with removing milk from the diet and there was a tremendous improvement. I did see a urologist and he gave her a 30 day supply of pills that did not help at all. I kept experimenting with her diet and a little over a year ago our local doctor told me she was starving to death. My comment was "She eats more than I do".
A week or so later I had a brainstorm. I removed anything with soy products from her diet. She lost another 4 pounds in a month's time but then she started to gain back a pound a week. I am guessing that tomorrow when we go to the doctor's office she will be 140 pounds or more, compared to 114 a year ago in January.
In order to find soy free products I buy most of my food in the natural food department at the grocery store. Coconut and almond yogurt, coconut milk, soy free sandwich spreads, etc. I also make fruit sauce for her to use on her sandwiches and to use to take pills. Currently she takes a thyroid pill, calcium and vitamin D3. The urologist gave her a prescription to keep urinary tract infections down, but I think I will be discussing that tomorrow.

If I seem to ramble, it is because my brain gets overtaxed at times.

Any stimulation helps, speech therapy, occupational therapy, just walking.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

People didn't talk about it because there was no general knowledge about what caused dementia. People didn't talk about embarrassing heath issues. People didn't live long enough for Alzheimer's to manifest. It used to be referred to as senility. There is so much increased awareness of Alzheimer's now that everyone knows what it is. The same is true of many mental disorders that people never used to talk about and now everyone knows about because they have been identified and named. The reason Alzheimer's seems to be more prevalent is because we are better educated about it and are aware of it. When I was growing up no one ever talked about alcoholism either, but there were just as many alcoholics! It was just covered up and not discussed. It's all about ignorance versus awareness.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

I am in my 50's now and was fortunate enough to be an older teenager when my GREAT grandparents passed away in their 90's, and worked their mountain farm on their own til the day they died. My grandparents all lived and "worked" til their 90's also.....the difference is clear to me: diet, chemicals in food and stress. They drank water and coffee only..no sodas ever, they ate ONLY what came off their farm, including the honey they "hived", everything was pesticide, preservative free, steroid, antibiotic and hormone free.
I recently learned that "organic" corn and strawberries have been genetically altered so the pesticides are in the seed, thus enabling the "organic" label.
I think the answers are clear, there just aren't many of us willing to make the effort and commitment to get away from chemicals. I am trying ......
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

This is a very interesting conversation.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Ah, sorry, capn -- give me a heads up next time. I don't want to step on your entrepreneurial toes.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

1 2 3 4
This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter