Just Like A Remote Control

November 27, 2013

We attended a dementia training last week with an excellent speaker who is experienced in caring for people with dementia… Alzheimer’s Disease, Lewy Body dementia, vascular dementia and more.  She gave an excellent analogy for what many of us experience with our moms and dads who have dementia — how our loved ones, on occasion, seem to be fine.  How is it that, despite the disease, mom will make a few comments that suggest insight, understanding and recall?

The trainer suggested that it’s just like a remote control for the TV when the battery gets weak and the contacts begin to oxidize.   Gunk builds up on the contacts.  Sometimes the electricity flows, sometimes it doesn’t.  The only thing that seems predictable is that over time, it will work less and less.

It’s a wonderful tool to help us understand what goes on in the brain.  Just like the blue oxidation stuff that builds up on the contacts of the remote, gunk (typically amyloid plaques) builds up on the brain cells.  The electrical impulses in the brain sometimes cross synapses correctly, but many times do not.  And, with all certainty, the condition will get worse.

 

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