New memories form in the area of the brain known as the hippocampus. Most memory diseases begin in this area. As time goes on, dementia diseases spread throughout the brain and affect more brain functions like orientation, understanding, learning and thinking.
What is cognition?
It is the mental process of acquiring knowledge and understanding. Cognition requires the use of working memory. Working memory is that system that briefly stores and uses information to gain knowledge and understanding. If short term memory is impaired then cognition can also become impaired. What is mild cognitive impairment? Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is a condition where there is a decline in memory but not in other cognitive abilities. There is no significant impact on daily life. It often goes unnoticed by the individual experiencing it but, a person with MCI remains at a greater risk of progressing on to dementia.
What is dementia?
Dementia is the term used to describe the many symptoms associated with declining cognitive ability especially if it is severe enough to interfere with independent functioning and lifestyle. It means there is serious mental decline in an individual, often caused by brain disease or injury. Memory loss is one symptom of dementia, while Alzheimer’s Disease is one of several types of dementia.
What is Alzheimer’s Disease?
Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is the most common type of dementia. It causes a decline in cognitive abilities, and will eventually affect an individual’s memory, thinking, awareness, and behavior. This is a progressive disease that starts slowly and eventually causes a significant decline of higher mental processes and an individuals ability to function independently. Most cases of AD begin people over age 65. The incidence of AD increases as one gets older. 1 in 9 people over 65 have AD and 1 in 3 over 85 have AD.
If you or someone you know is having memory problems, the University of Miami Health System's Memory Program can help. A qualified team of memory experts will assess the situation, propose a plan of action and answer all of your questions. Because there are many causes of memory disorders, it’s important to have a full assessment and evaluation as early as possible.