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Dementia Symptoms in Men and Women
Psychology 625: Biological Bases of Behavior
Dr. Irene Nielson
The onset of a disease is a devastating thing for all those who are involved. Dementia is one of the diseases that fall in this category. The effects of Dementia, attack s neurons and causes deterioration within the brain that leads to problems in motor functioning, language, mood, and memory. Although a vast amount of research has been dedicated to understan ding and treating Dementia, more groundwork is needed. The grant I am proposing would be to extend the conversation about dementia and gender. It is well shown in former research studies that certain diseases are linked to one gender or the other more frequently. The difference in gender could be an opening in finding out better treatment options, earlier detection of disease, new prevention strategies, and even cures. So far, the prognosis of finding a way to heal Dementia has not shown to be efficacious in its efforts. H ow ever, gender can still be a helpful factor to continuously consider, but it needs support and, of course, funding to its aid. Dementia has been noted in research to effect women two thirds more than men ( Spira et. Al., 2012). This could mean that there may be a difference in how dementia is experienced by women as opposed to men. Most of the known symptoms of dementia , in addition to the ones mentioned above, are confusion, emoti onal imbalance, trembling in limbs, frustration and aggression. Biologically, men and women are wired differently; there are external as well as internal differences in the way they react to life. This could mean that these symptoms are more present and more severe in one gender. Women tend to have more emotional symptoms as men tend to be more callous in how the y interact with others as dementia progresses. T he effects of social roles that exist between men and women can alter the mind and how it will respond to a disease. The fact that there is a difference in what age men and women are more prone to being diagnosed with dementia is a factor in symptom severity. Women are usually diagnosed with dementia earlier in life. Does having the disease for a longer period make the symptoms worse and more frequentor does it have a smothering effect on symptoms making them more tolerable? This would be another avenue in dementia and gender differences that could come from examining dementia symptom frequency in men and women.
Dementia is one of the most studied and acknowledged neuro-disease in current science. The onset of dementia in a person is usually mistaken for normal cognitive decline that comes with age, however noticing the difference right away can be crucial in early detection and diagnosis (Chen et al., 2002). Unfortunately, there is more to it than that. Dementia is considered a sort of "umbrella" disease because a lot of neurodegenerative diseases share the same effects. The three most common ones are Alzheimer's, Vascular Dementia, and Vascular dementia with Lewy bodies. For this reason, dementia is referred to as "a group of symptoms " instead of being considered as just one singular illness (Warren, 2016).
Alzheimer's, which is the most common type of dementia (alz.org), is usually diagnosed after the age of 65 but it is possible for diagnosis to happen before then. Vascular dementia is caused by damage to blood vessels usually brought on by a stroke or multiple mini strokes. Dementia with Lewy bodies, which are clumps of protein that form in the cortex of the brain. These clumps are abnormal and cause dementia to form. Before one can assess the symptoms associated with dementia they must first know what type of dementia is the person diagnosed with. According to Friedman (2010) it is of importance to the patient and their family to know what a disease is and how to deal with it. This is also a key factor because even though the symptoms are shared, they can stem from issues in various parts of the brain. For this reason, symptoms have variance in how severe they