All Posts in Category: Dementia

Dementia with Lewy Bodies

Caring for Someone with Dementia

When somebody is diagnosed with dementia, it often impacts on their loved one too – especially if you are going to be caring for them.

There are different types of dementia, including vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, but symptoms typically involve varying degrees of memory loss, declining cognitive function, confusion and mood changes, and people with dementia may gradually lose their independence or ability to carry out day-to-day tasks. 

Although there is no cure for dementia, getting an accurate diagnosis as early as possible, along with the right support and treatments, can make a big difference. 

At Dementech Neurosciences, the dementia specialists at our Neurology Clinic can provide a number of diagnostic tests and assessments, as well as tailored treatment plans and advice to suit your individual needs. It’s very important that carers are provided with information and support too and this is something we are happy to help with.


Here’s a look at some points to keep in mind when it comes to caring for someone with dementia at home:


1] Don’t forget to look after yourself too

It’s easy for carers to put their own needs last, but it’s very important to prioritise your own wellbeing too and make time for regular respite. Whether it’s exercise, doing something fun, socialising or all of the above, these are vital tools for keeping yourself resilient and energised. As the saying goes – you can’t pour from an empty cup – so taking breaks really isn’t selfish, it’s healthy for everyone.


2] Tell family and friends what’s happening

If you’re caring for someone with dementia, it’s not uncommon to feel isolated and alone, and possibly even frustrated if you feel nobody really understands what you’re dealing with. Telling those close to you what’s going on can be very helpful; often they won’t know if you’re finding things hard unless you tell them. If you are still working, it might be a good idea to tell your employer too, so they’re aware of any additional pressures and support you may need.  


3] Ask for help

Caring for someone with dementia at home can be challenging. Don’t feel you have to shoulder everything alone though, as there may be a number of options or means of additional support available. This might include external carer support, hiring a cleaner to help take the weight off at home, or looking into community resources that could provide outside support and respite. Charities such as Alzheimer’s Society, Dementia UK and Age UK can be useful sources of information. 


If you are looking after somebody with progressive dementia, their needs may change as time goes on. They may also need help with personal care and be less able to manage around the house. An occupational therapist can help assess their needs at home and suggest helpful solutions.


4] Embrace carer support 

Support for dementia carers is available too, and is something we also provide through our Neurology Clinic. Carer support might mean talking things through with a trained professional, or joining a local support group where you can let off steam or talk about your experiences with others in similar positions. Knowing you’re not alone can be extremely reassuring, and you might find useful information and ideas.


5] Focus on positives 

Caring for someone with dementia can sometimes feel all-consuming and, in some cases, a thankless task. Focusing on the positives can really help. After all, you are doing a wonderful thing for somebody you care about. Is it still possible to enjoy quality time doing nice things with the person you’re caring for? Perhaps days out, visiting favourite cafes or galleries – keeping up those positive connections can be therapeutic for both the person with dementia and their carer. If you do find getting out and about an increasing struggle, perhaps ask a good friend or another relative to join you too. 


6] Go easy on yourself

Everybody will have tough days, and feeling angry, sad and resentful on occasions is completely normal. Don’t beat yourself up – you are not a robot and you are allowed to express these feelings. In fact, doing so can be very healthy and help you find ways to move forwards. You are doing a great job and making a big positive difference to somebody’s life. 


Dementech specialises in diagnosing and treating neurological disorders like dementia. For more information contact our experienced and friendly team.

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Diagnosing complex neurological conditions with tech

Accurate diagnosis is critical for people with suspected neurological disorders in order to manage the condition appropriately. While, sadly, many neurological disorders are incurable, if sufferers are given the right medication and other forms of treatment, it can slow the progress of the disease and significantly improve quality of life.

But such conditions are complex and getting an accurate diagnosis can sometimes be challenging.

Diagnosing Neurological and Psychological Conditions

Dementech is a private clinic in the heart of London. Our internationally renowned team of healthcare experts, who cover a wide range of specialisms from neurology to speech therapy, provide diagnosis and treatment for patients with neurological and psychological conditions. 

We particularly specialise in complex or intensive interventions for people who may not have benefitted from more usual approaches.

To support our diagnoses and improve accuracy we use a range of leading-edge technologies, including:

Parkinson’s KinetiGraph

The Parkinson’s KinetiGraph is a small device that is worn on the wrist by a patient with Parkinson’s Disease. It is used to collect data over a period of six to 10 days, which is then compiled into a report for the doctor. 

This report reveals variations throughout the day in motor symptoms and complications of Parkinson’s Disease (such as tremors, stiffness and dyskinesias). Using this information, a doctor will be able to see how well people are functioning at home and whether the current medication dose needs to be altered or the medication itself needs to be changed. 

The technology is also used to remind people when to take their prescribed medication and to capture information about daytime sleepiness and night-time disturbances.


Cantab is an analytical computerised assessment software programme that is used to measure brain function and cognitive health in five key areas:

    • Executive function (central control, planning, strategy, flexible thinking)
    • Processing speed (the ability to perform mental tasks quickly and efficiently)
    • Attention (the ability to concentrate and actively process information)
    • Working memory (how we hold information while processing or acting on it)
    • Episodic memory (memory of events and experiences, what happened, where and when)

An assessment using the software normally takes around 30 minutes and the results are adjusted for age, gender and education. They provide an accurate evaluation of a person’s cognitive performance and can be compared over time to assess for any decline.

Computerised Cognitive Rehabilitation and Psychotherapy

Computerised Cognitive Rehabilitation and Psychotherapy is a 12-session computer package of 12 challenging tasks designed to exercise specific cognitive functions in people with dementia. The skills learned can be transferred into real life situations with the support of a therapist. 

The package is designed to build cognitive, emotional and societal skills as well as increasing awareness and understanding of their new self. Therapists use such computer-based interventions to help people develop skills for day-to-day living and to learn strategies to compensate for the loss of cognitive function.  The technology uses a combined psychological and cognitive approach which addresses the interaction between people’s thoughts, feelings and behaviour.

Dementech is not limited to the above technologies but can also call upon leading neurologists, with their own specialised teams, to assist with the diagnosis and treatment of neurological conditions.

If you would like more information about using leading edge technologies in the diagnosis and management of complex neurological conditions, contact us.

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patient with Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease

CJD or ‘Mad Cow Disease’?

Both Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD) and its close relative Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD) are caused by Prions, incorrectly folded proteins, which destroy brain tissue. Neither are infectious but types of CJD can be spread by exposure to infected blood products, meat or medical instruments.

BSE (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy) or ‘Mad Cow Disease’ is a form of Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy (TSEs). The ‘spongiform’ in the name refers to the fact that the infected brain is filled with holes, resembling a sponge.

CJD is a degenerative brain disorder, estimated to affect one in a million people annually worldwide. Appearing in later life usually, the onset is rapid and fatal. Early symptoms include problems with vision, coordination problems, changes in behaviour, and memory problems, which lead to blindness, involuntary movements and coma.

vCJD was acquired by humans by exposure to meat infected with BSE. It is estimated that only 1% of CJD is ‘variant’. It was discovered in 1996 in the UK and, according to the government, 260 cases have been reported since then.


The Different Types of CJD

When it comes Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, there are 4 types:

  1. Sporadic CJD
  • Sufferers have no known risk factors.
  • Most common type of CJD
  • 85% of all CJD cases


  1. Hereditary CJD
  • Family history of the disease
  • 10 to 15% of CJD cases


  1. Acquired or Iatrogenic CJD
  • Transmitted by exposure to bodily tissue during medical procedures
  • Improperly sterilised medical instruments are also thought to spread this
  • Before 1985, was spread by a treatment using glands from deceased humans


  1. Variant CJD (vCJD)
  • Caused by consuming meat from a cow infected with BSE AKA ‘Mad Cow Disease’
  • 1% of all CJD cases
  • Possible 10 year+ incubation period
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scan of a brain with young onset dementia

What is Young Onset Dementia?

A lot of young and middle-aged people joke when they forget something or miss an object that is right in front of them or say the wrong word, that they have dementia. Even though it is relatively rare, Young Onset Dementia is a serious concern.

Affecting people under 65 years of age, Young Onset Dementia, also known as early onset or working-age dementia, is so-called because of the old belief that dementia was an affliction that only affected the elderly.

Dementias that affect the young are seemingly rare but this may be because younger people cannot understand or are unwilling to believe that the malady affecting them is actually Dementia. They are much less likely to visit a doctor when they are presenting symptoms of dementia and, as sad as it is, doctors may be missing the signs too.


Who is likely to suffer from Young Onset Dementia?

Young Onset Dementia sufferers are more likely to have inherited a genetic form, for example, frontotemporal dementia presents in 40% with a family history of the disease.

Other groups at higher risk are people from BAME backgrounds, who are less likely to receive a timely diagnosis, and people with learning disabilities are also at greater risk of developing Young Onset.

Alzheimer’s disease accounts for about 1/3 of all Young Onset sufferers and vascular dementia affects 20% of Young Onset sufferers. 10% of Young Onset sufferers have Lewy Body dementia. 20% have something rarer, like Parkinson’s or Creutzfeldt Jakob.

Early Onset Dementia affects around 42,325 people in the UK, which is 5% of all dementia sufferers in the UK. The actual number may be as high as 6-9%. That is a pretty shocking statistic and a surprise for most people reading this. It is important that people, no matter their age, receive the correct diagnosis and are given the most up-to-date treatment.

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Close up of a dementia doctor

Dementia or another condition?

Some symptoms that the majority of people would ascribe to Dementia can be brought on by other conditions, so it is vitally important that this is taken into consideration during diagnosis. Here is our guide to help you tell the conditions apart.

Urinary Tract Infection

A Urinary Tract Infection can cause a sudden bout of confusion in an older person. Rapid changes in behaviour like agitation, inability to communicate properly and withdrawal are symptoms. If the person has complained of pelvic pain, a fever, a burning during urination or they use a catheter, UTI may be the culprit. The reason for the confusion symptom is due to the UTI overwhelming the kidneys and entering the bloodstream, causing blood poisoning which affects the brain. This is a serious condition and can be life-threatening.

Subdural Hematoma

The dura is the thin membrane that covers the brain. Blood trapped in between the membrane and the brain, caused by injury and bruising, can be mistaken for Alzheimer’s. The symptoms can emerge slowly, adding to the confusion and inhibiting a correct diagnosis. If the person has had a fall prior to the onset of symptoms, it may be a Subdural Hematoma.


Signs of depression can have the appearance of Dementia. The area of overlap is large including a lack of interest in subjects the person is usually passionate about, disrupted concentrating, forgetfulness, withdrawal and excessive sleeping. The main differences between the two are that those suffering from depression display less severe symptoms, ones that come and go, and do not reference suicide as much as Dementia sufferers. Obviously, that is not a lot to go on, so diagnosis is the only real way to differentiate.


Although the symptoms of Delirium and Dementia are similar, the difference is that Dementia and other associated neurological conditions emerge over an extended period of time and Delirium starts suddenly. Things to look out for are an unusual amount of confusion, feelings of paranoia, hallucinations, rambling, behavioural changes, distraction, disorientation and excessive alertness problems – either drowsiness or agitation. Triggers can be clashes in medication or an underlying, untreated infection. Of course, people suffering from Dementia can also display these symptoms.

Side Effects

Medicines can create a variety of side effects which can be confused with dementia. The list includes, but is not limited to, sedatives, antidepressants, anti-anxiety medication, anticonvulsants, corticosteroids and antihistamines.

Vitamin Deficiency

A lack of Vitamin B1, Vitamin B6, Folic Acid and Niacin have been linked to dementia-esque symptoms. Alcoholics can succumb to Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome due to a long-term lack of vitamin B1. Deficiency of B12 can lead to pernicious anaemia which is also mistaken for Dementia, and as the liver stores B12 (as well as vitamins A, D and Iron), liver damage can precipitate dementia-like effects.


Too much (hyperthyroidism) or too little (hypothyroidism) thyroid activity can mimic some of the symptoms of dementia.

Hypothyroidism happens when the gland can’t produce enough hormones. This may be due to many factors such as an autoimmune disease. Individuals experiencing hypothyroidism experience declining mental sharpness, depression, ‘foggy brain’, difficulty concentrating, mood swings, visual-spatial skills and memory loss amongst others. Other symptoms that could be clues as to whether you have hypothyroidism are difficulty losing weight/water retention, brittle fingernails, hair loss, sensitivity to cold, enlarged tongue and enlarged thyroid gland.

The most likely cause of hyperthyroidism is also autoimmune related. This causes the gland to secrete too much hormone. The symptoms which cause it to be confused with more serious neurological conditions are tremors, nervousness, agitation, anxiety, poor concentration, lack of spatial awareness, eye problems and slowed reactions.

These conditions can be reversed a lot of the time, so if you or someone you know is displaying these symptoms, seek a diagnosis.

Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus (NPH)

NPH is a brain disorder, affecting those in their 60s and 70s primarily, where excess cerebrospinal fluid enters the brain ventricles and destroys brain tissue, causing dysfunction which leads to dementia-like symptoms like reasoning problems and walking problems. It can be treated with surgery which improves the mobility aspects but has little positive effects on the sufferers reasoning.

Brain Tumour

Malignant or benign tumours can disrupt the flow of information around the brain in a similar fashion to that of dementia. Two of the most common are changes in personality and disruption of cognitive function. These can depend on the position of the tumour within the brain and there can be mimicry of many different symptoms of dementia. Symptoms of a brain tumour are increased pressure in the brain, seizures, headaches, vomiting, changes in senses. Brain tumours can be deadly and if you suspect you have one, seek treatment immediately.


Strokes happen when the blood flow to the brain is interrupted. Cognitive abilities are suddenly disrupted. This may be the key to recognising the difference between Dementia and the stroke version known as Vascular Dementia. The similar symptoms between the two are memory loss, confusion, hallucinations and impaired motor skills. Strokes can be treated by lowering blood pressure or cholesterol with medication.

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doctor that knows what is the difference between Alzheimer's and Dementia?

What is the difference between Dementia and Alzheimer’s?

If you are unsure, do not worry. Some health professionals do not know the difference either, so you are not alone.

Dementia is an umbrella term for serious brain conditions that affect reasoning, focus, memory, communication and visual perception. Some types of serious brain conditions are named Dementia such as Vascular Dementia, Lewy Body Dementia and Frontotemporal Dementia. Alzheimer’s is a type of Dementia too.

Alzheimer’s is a degenerative brain disease that leads from difficulty remembering and apathy to difficulty speaking and walking.

To make things even more confusing for people finding out about Dementia, it is possible to have two types of Dementia at the same time. Getting the correct diagnosis is so important to aide the correct treatment.

Just remember: Alzheimer’s is a form of Dementia but Dementia is not a form of Alzheimer’s.

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schreen shot of an interview Parkinson's and dementia research clinic set up by man with no medical background

We have been featured on ITV News, please click play for the full report.

It has become one of the country’s leading Parkinson’s and dementia research clinics – but one with a rather unusual story behind it. The Dementech Centre, in central London was set up by a man with no medical background or experience. He was so upset and frustrated by the rapid decline of the health of his business partner that he felt he had to do something to help.

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Nine lifestyle changes can reduce dementia risk, study says

One in three cases of dementia could be prevented if more people looked after their brain health throughout life, according to an international study published in the Lancet.

At Dementech, using the latest imaging technologies, we are offering innovative risk-assessment appointments, including Dementech Biomarker Tool and genetic counselling. Early identification of people at risk of developing dementia is crucial. Implementing tailored  prevention strategies targeting all modifiable risk factors and making positive lifestyle changes allows us to strengthen the brain’s networks so it can continue to function in later life despite damage.

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A novel integrative psychological and cognitive approach for dementia

CCRP: A novel integrative psychological and cognitive approach for dementia.

At Dementech we are at the forefront of Computerised Cognitive Rehabilitation Therapy and patients are treated in a holistic frame of reference with appropriate techniques and strategies for cognitive, emotional, and societal skills while at the same time they increase awareness and understanding of their new self.

Our CCRP program is an integrative psychological and cognitive approach that addresses the interaction between people’s thoughts, feelings and behaviour while at the same time using computer-assisted methods focusing on neuropsychological processes using computerised exercises that train different cognitive functions. We are currently in collaboration with the Computational Psychopathology Research Group (University of Oxford) headed by Professor Robin A Murphy for evaluating the effectiveness of the CCRP programme for patients with neurodegenerative disorders.

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