Every human being slowly loses its brain substance with increasing age. This process of healthy ageing is usually associated with a shift of strengths and weaknesses in mental performance without significant limitations.
In average every third person over 65 years develops a disease-related dementia. For younger people, in the age group of 45 to 65 years, 1 of 1000 is already affected. About two thirds of all dementias are of Alzheimer's type. This is due to an accelerated loss of brain mass, which can cause massive reduction in brain performance.
Risk factors for Alzheimer's dementia
- diabetes mellitus
- family history for dementia
First warning signs
Due to good compensation capability a relatively large amount of brain substance is already lost before there are restrictions on the affected persons. The typical Alzheimer's changes in the brain usually start several years before the first clinically noticeable changes occur.
The first warning signs are the impairment of brain performance, such as memory disturbances, lack of interest and drive reduction. Also a depressed mood and behavioural abnormalities such as social withdrawal, increased irritability, diffuse and inaccurate expression, frequent repetitions in conversation and specially for singles the depravation of the outside appearance belong to it.
Alzheimer's cannot be cured today. However, if the disease is detected at an early stage, symptom-free periods can be extended, symptoms are effectively alleviated by timely therapies and the progression of the disease is delayed. The sooner the diagnosis is made, the more effective is the treatment.
Diagnosis of Alzheimer's dementia
According to the "dementia guideline", a neuropsychological test (e.g. DemTect) is always required for the diagnosis, either in conjunction with a spinal tap analysis or with an imaging method (PET/SPECT or MRI).
The psychological test – which is usually used as a starting point for the diagnosis of dementia – generally finds little acceptance by patients. The stressfull test character of the psychological test relentlessly uncovers the weaknesses and is therefore often rejected from the patients. The lumbar puncture of the spinal chanel and the PET/SPECT examinations with the administration of radioactive substances contain risks, are invasive and time-consuming.
As an objective initial examination, without evoking fears, the volumetry by MRI is the method of choice. It is carried out without painful injection, without contrast media and is quickly feasible.
If the result is normal there is no higher risk for Alzheimer's and further neurological examinations are not necessary. The perceived memory disturbances are then mostly caused by factors such as vascular disease, vitamin deficiency, malnutrition, depression, stress or other diseases.
Our clinic works closely with clinical specialists to provide a closed chain from risk assessment, diagnosis and therapy.
Prevention of Alzheimer's dementia
Alzheimer's disease, with it's characteristic reduction of the grey matter, has an increased familial incidence, increases significantly in the industrialized countries and is influenced by risk factors.
As a preventative examination, the volumetry of the brain substance by means of MRI is able to detect these accelerated grey matter loss at an early stage. With the volumetry the risk assessment of a demential disease is possible even before symptoms occur.
In the best case, there is no risk of developing Alzheimer's dementia in the next 3 to 5 years.
In the phase of symptomless atrophy, studies show that the treatment of risk factors delays the onset of the disease. According to the latest findings, even an increase in brain substance is possible.
In the case of proven changes, we offer you a preventive treatment tailored to your individual needs in cooperation with MedPrevent.
For your comfort we carry out the Alzheimer's brain MRI at the "Open MRI Panorama".