Delivered February 4th, 2020. Contributors: Maureen K., Mayank B., Josh T., Mia G., Ian C. and
Information for Women's Brain Health Initiative, Milken Institute, and Be Brain Powerful has been entered into the attached Google Slide. A summary is below.
Women's Brain Health Initiative
Who They Are
Women’s Brain Health Initiative (WBHI) is a charitable organization with offices in the United States and Canada. It assists in the protection of women's brain health.
What They Do
WBHI helps to protect women's brain health by using its resources to fund research aimed at fighting diseases that age the brain such as dementia. It focuses on diseases that affect women in disproportionate numbers.
The Milken Institute is a non-profit organization that helps people live meaningful lives and experience health and well-being. It promotes healthy and purposeful aging.
What They Do
The Milken Institute carries out research in seven centers. For example, in its Center for the Future of Aging, its research includes topics related to dementia such as “reducing the cost and risk of dementia” which analyzes the importance of brain health and how dementia affects different communities.
The organization describes itself as "a private-charity partnership between Alzheimer’s Research UK, the pharmaceutical companies Abbvie, Astex Pharmaceuticals, Eisai, Johnson & Johnson, Lilly and MSD and the partner research organisations Charles River Laboratories and Evotec."
Typical funding provided for a project ranges from approximately $110,000 to $276,000 (originally reported in Euros as £100,000-£250,000), though in “exceptional cases” can be around $553,000 (reported as £500,000). We converted the amounts provided in Euros to USD by using this currency converter.
The organization describes itself as "a global network that inspires bold leadership, research, and solutions that advance women in STEM, spark innovation, promote organizational success and drive systemic change."
The organization has 100,000 members, supporters, & allies.
The main causes of dementia are Alzheimer's disease and vascular disorder. Both of these are progressive, degenerative, and irreversible. Other causes include abnormal structures of protein in the brain or Lewy bodies, traumatic brain injury, and infection. Insights and details around these causes are presented below, as well as in slides 28 to 31 of the attached presentation.
AD is caused by the abnormal depository of protein in the brain. It then destroys the cells in the areas responsible for controlling mental functions and retaining memory.
There are 2 risk factors for developing AD:
Advancing age: Around 5% of those who suffer from AD are above 65 years old, 20% are over 80 years old, and 30% are over 90 years old.
Family history: People who have a sibling or a parent affected by AD have 2x to 3x more likely to also develop AD compared to people without a family history.
The second most common cause of dementia is a vascular disorder. It accounts for about 20% of dementia cases.
Vascular disorders affect the circulation of blood in the brain, causing the specific type of dementia called vascular dementia.
This disorder is due to the blockage or narrowing of the blood vessels causing the reduced supply of oxygen in the brain.
People who suffered from a stroke or multiple small strokes are prone to the development of vascular dementia.
Patients who have heart disease and high blood pressure that remains untreated are also at risk of developing vascular dementia.
Aside from memory loss, the more common symptoms seen in a person developing vascular dementia are slowed thinking, having difficulty in organization, focus, and problem-solving.
Lewy body is one of the neurodegenerative causes of dementia.
Lewy bodies are discovered by Friederich H. Lewy. These are found in the brains of patients with Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease.
These are abnormal deposits caused by the build-up of protein called alpha-synuclein within the brain, which leads to a type of dementia called Lewy body dementia (LBD).
The abnormal structures (or Lewy bodies) disrupt the brain's chemistry leading to the death of the brain cells.
The common symptoms of LBD include difficulty with movement, thinking, sleep, and memory.
Most of the symptoms seen in persons with LBD are relatively the same as those who have Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. However, there are some that are unique to those with LBD. These include hallucinating, having delusions, becoming violent at night, and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep disorder.
Traumatic Brain Injury
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a condition often caused by head trauma that is recurrent or repeated concussions.
The people that are more prone to experience this condition are football players, soldiers, or boxers.
Signs of TBI include explosiveness, depression, impaired speech, and memory loss. But these symptoms differ depending on what part of the brain is injured and its severity.
For milder injuries, symptoms include difficulty in doing "executive functions" like organizing, problem-solving, making judgments, and abstract reasoning.
But for severe cases of TBI, the higher level of mental skills are lost, like the ability to keep hold of memories or form new ones, which then results in dementia.
It is caused by prions, the abnormal proteins in the brain, which "infect" other healthy proteins.
Initial symptoms include personality changes, muscular coordination problems, and impaired vision, while severe conditions can lead to a loss in the ability to speak or move.
Symptoms typically occur to those about 60 years of age. CJD is a rare disorder, however, 90% of them die within one year.
Dementia Prevention and Treatment
Insights surrounding the prevention and treatment of dementia have been provided in Slide 26 of the attached presentation. A summary of the key findings has been provided below.
Summary of Findings
Cholinesterase inhibitors are among the medications used for treating dementia. They can reduce the progression of language loss, memory loss, and impaired judgment. These types of medication, which include Aricept, Exelon, and Razadyne, can have side effects, such as diarrhea, vomiting, and nausea.
Memantine, which is commonly referred to as Namenda, is a medication that treats vascular dementia and Alzheimer's disease. The medicine is said to improve concentration, memory, and awareness. One known side effect of the drug is dizziness.
Occupational therapy approaches dementia as a condition that impacts occupational performance. Occupational therapists can collaborate with family members, friends, and people in the early stages of dementia to address the disease's functional implications. Practitioners examine people with dementia to find out their strengths, weaknesses, and areas that require intervention.
Observational evidence reveals that there is an inverse association between elements that encompass a healthy lifestyle, such as physical exercise, healthy relationships, and mental activities, and incidences of dementia. For instance, regular physical exercise is said to reduce the chances of developing Alzheimer's by up to 50%. In addition, exercising slows further deterioration for those who are in the early stages of the disease.
Cognitive training is used to treat dementia by offering guided practice on assignments that require cognitive function, such as problem-solving and memory. Cognitive training has positive effects on verbal semantic fluency and global cognition. Nonetheless, additional studies on cognitive training need to be conducted.
The additional insights regarding the social burden of dementia/compelling reasons to donate to dementia research are included in the attached slideshow. We also provided those insights below, along with the two or more sources that reported the same/very similar insights.
Additional Insights About the Social Burden of Dementia/Compelling Reasons to Donate to Dementia Research
Approximately 150 million individuals are expected to have dementia by 2050. This insight was stated by Alzheimer’s Research UK (which projects 152 million individuals) and Psych Central (which projects 150 million individuals).
The total care cost (lifetime) for an individual who has dementia is projected at over $320,000. This insight was stated by research published in the U.S. National Library of Medicine (which estimated the total at $321,780) and Alzheimers dot net (which estimated the total cost at $341,840).