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I’m too young to have Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, right?
Hearts and minds
Vascular disease contributes to up to half of all cases of dementia. But lifestyle changes can prevent or slow down the course of this brain affliction.
Alzheimer’s disease, the most common and best-known form of dementia, is marked by memory loss, problem-solving difficulties, and mood or personality changes. But autopsy studies show that more than half of people with Alzheimer’s disease also have one or more other types of dementia. Most often, it’s a syndrome called vascular dementia.
"Over the past 10 years, we’ve begun to recognize that dementia should be considered as a spectrum of disorders in the brain," says Dr. Anand Viswanathan, a neurologist in the Stroke Service and Memory Disorders Unit at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital. While Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia have different underlying causes, there’s a great deal of overlap in terms of their symptoms, presentation, and treatment, he says.
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Improving Memory: Understanding age-related memory loss
By age 60, more than half of adults have concerns about their memory. However, minor memory lapses that occur with age are not usually signs of a serious problem, such as Alzheimer’s disease, but rather the result of normal changes in the structure and function of the brain. This report, Improving Memory: Understanding age-related memory loss, describes these normal age-related changes and other more serious causes of memory loss — and how to distinguish between them.
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