Dementia – Causes; Traits; Case Study Resource

I am following up on a Chinese news report last month on Singaporean television that raised the links between air pollution and dementia; as well as a review on a touching book.

Article Review

Emily Underwood wrote in her 26 Jan 2017 article in Science magazine <The Polluted Brain> of two studies:

  • “…11-year epidemiological study… (for) Translational Psychiatry, University of Southern California (USC) researchers will report that living in places with PM2.5 exposures higher than the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) standard of 12µg/m3 nearly doubled dementia risk in older women.” [EPA is a United States government organ]
  • The University of Toronto in The Lancet (Elsevier owned medical journal): concerning the 6.6 million residents of Canadian Ontario,those living within 50 meters of a major road—where levels of fine pollutants are often 10 times higher than just 150 meters away—were 12% more likely to develop dementia than people living more than 200 meters away.”

Underwood does make a balanced call though, highlighting that this research angle is still in its infancy… Causation remains to be fully proven.

Comic Book Review

Tony Husband. Take Care, Son: The Story of My Dad and His Dementia. (2014). Constable and Robinson. London.

A moving book. Tony the author writes about his father’s slow demise to dementia. His father (Ron) gave him the final farewell by saying: Take care son. He had been bedridden and largely unresponsive by then.

Intellectually, it was a breeze to read (the only obstacles were my tears choking me back); and the pictures helped. (Learning need not necessarily be tedious, perhaps a change in medium i.e. not merely words, can help…) Dementia is a different kind of forgetting. Ron for instance routinely forgot to put on the handbrake in the car while parking; or did not turn off the tap. For Ron, his childhood memories were revived. That is strange/interesting to note.

There is a list of resources at the back of the book for people who want to know more about the disease. There are different types of dementia.


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