Why dementia hits its brighter victims harder

Better educated dementia victims go downhill faster than those with less schooling because they manage to "mask" the disease in its early stages, scientists believe.

They found that university graduates suffer a memory decline that is 50 per cent faster than someone with a minimal education. The scientists believe that by the time dementia becomes apparent, both groups will have suffered the same damage to the brain.

However, the well educated go downhill quicker because their greater "thinking power" allows them to compensate subliminally for their disease in its early stages.

Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of dementia, with about 500 cases diagnosed every day in the UK as more live longer.

Among the brilliant minds who have fallen victim to it are novelist Iris Murdoch, who died in 1999 aged 79, and author and broadcaster Bernard Levin, who died three years ago, aged 75.

The condition is caused by an accumulation of "plaques and tangles" or protein deposits in the brain which may first lead to difficulty finding words.

This progresses to typical symptoms of dementia, loss of memory, confusion and agitation.
Researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University, New York, looked at 117 people who developed dementia out of an original group of 488 from the 1980s onwards.

Source - Daily Mail

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