Dementia brain tour
The dementia brain tour is a free educational video
resource that includes chapters on the brain and how brain cells function, Alzheimer's disease, Posterior Cortical Atrophy, vascular dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies, fronto-temporal dementia and other rarer causes of dementia.
The human brain is incredibly complex. It controls everything our body does, from coordinating our movements and our speech, keeping our heart beating and storing our memories.
The brain is made up of billions of nerve cells. Nerve cells are specially designed for their function. They are elongated with many tentacle-like projections called dendrites that make connections with the cells around them.
Dementia affects over 750,000 people in the UK. It is not a disease in its own right and it is not a natural part of ageing. It is an umbrella term that describes a group of symptoms that are caused by many diseases that affect the brain for example, Alzheimer's disease.
Alzheimer's disease affects over 400,000 people in the UK. It is the most common cause of dementia and it is also the best understood. Alzheimer's most commonly develops in the hippocampus which is why it is often linked to memory loss.
Posterior cortical atrophy or PCA is a specific type of Alzheimer's disease that affects the back of the brain, the occipital lobe. This is the type of Alzheimer's that the author Terry Pratchett has been diagnosed with.
Vascular dementia is the second most common type of dementia although it can also occur it combination with Alzheimer's disease in a condition called mixed dementia.
Dementia with lewy bodies affects about 4% of people with dementia. It is closely related to Alzheimer's disease and also to Parkinson's disease.
Fronto-temporal dementia covers a range of conditions that affect the frontal and temporal lobes. People with damage to their frontal lobes will often experience changes in their behaviour for example becoming more disinhibited whereas people with damage to their temporal lobe will often struggle with language.
There are a number of rarer diseases and conditions that cause dementia. People with Down's syndrome are particularly at risk of developing dementia, and they are more likely to develop Alzheimer's disease early in life.