Post image for Atypical Types of Dementia: Hippocampal Sparing Alzheimer’s Disease

Earlier this year I began reading about a variant type of dementia called hippocampal sparing Alzheimer’s disease, which results in symptoms far different than Alzheimer’s disease.  Those affected are mainly men and they often begin to show symptoms at a younger age.

Hippocampal sparing AD usually advances quickly and it presents initially as bizarre behaviors.  Those with the disease frequently exhibit anger and sometimes have profane outbursts.  They report feeling as though their limbs are uncontrollable and disconnected from their bodies.  As the disease progresses, those afflicted report feeling as though an alien-type force is controlling them.

While those with this disease experience challenges with speech, language comprehension and eyesight, hearing and general vocalization (other than speech) are largely unaffected.

Earlier this year, a study by the Mayo Clinic in Florida concluded as much as 11 percent of those given an Alzheimer’s diagnosis actually have hippocampal sparing.  This percentage translates into more than 600,000 individuals.

Now recognized as a subtype of traditional Alzheimer’s disease, hippocampal sparing AD doesn’t attack the brain’s hippocampus, therefore memories remain mainly intact.

Neuroscientists believe this is related to how the tau, a type of protein, forms its classic tangles in the brain.  Those identified with hippocampal sparing AD did have have less tangles, but fewer tangles were centered in the hippocampus and more tangles were in the  portions of the brain that control speech, vision, motor skills and general behavior.

Often misdiagnosed, hippocampal sparing is commonly confused with frontotemporal dementia.

Spotting the disease and securing a correct diagnosis is imperative since hippocampal sparing AD responds very well to the handful of existing memory-loss drugs currently on the market.  Early diagnosis is imperative for the medications to work effectively.

*Photo Purchased From iStockPhoto

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Alzheimer’s Awareness and Support Goes Local. What’s Happening in Minnesota

October 13, 2014
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As our population ages and no cure or effective treatments for Alzheimer’s are in sight, it is apparent we have to do more to accommodate those living with the disease and their caregivers. The challenge is how to build awareness and understanding and then take action? What’s happening in my native Minnesota is a great example […]

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Aging Parents and Adult Children: When a Health Crisis Changes Everything

October 8, 2014
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Fall housekeeping in the upper Midwest doesn’t just mean cleaning out the gutters, raking leaves and getting ready for winter.  For some reason, when the weather starts cool, I always feel the need to also clean up my digital life as well. Organizing bookmarks was on my agenda yesterday.  Wading through the hundreds of sites […]

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A Global Perspective: The Financial Cost of Alzheimer’s and Other Dementias

September 29, 2014
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Yesterday, I wrote about the Third Annual Worldwide Alzheimer’s month.  Now, I’m sharing information about the significant financial devastation for both individuals and nations around the globe. To understand the massive economic consequences of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI) has complied some sobering international figures.  This major report was published in […]

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Third Annual World Alzheimer’s Month

September 28, 2014
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World Alzheimer’s Month™, a global campaign aimed at bringing awareness and advocacy of the disease, is ending in two days.  For the month of September, Alzheimer’s organizations around the world have been raising money and awareness through memory walks, screenings, social activities and other events. In Dating Dementia, I often cite U.S. statistics, but the […]

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