Home > Alzheimer's Disease, Dementia & Brain Health > Assisted Living Facilities Help Preserve The White Matter In Senior Brains

Assisted Living Facilities Help Preserve The White Matter In Senior Brains

Imagine if we could peek through our skull to see what makes one brain smarter than another. Imagine what we would discover in regards to mental conditions such as Schizophrenia or learning disorders. The brain is made up of two components: grey matter (nerves) and white matter (Glial cells.) They support the nerves and produce myelin which wrap around and protects nerve extensions.

Many people residing in assisted living facilities across the country suffer from diseases of the brain, which primarily affect grey matter. Understanding the importance of “the other part” of our brain, its connection to grey matter and its development may be crucial in finding cures and preventing onset of certain conditions. Many assisted living facilities have been formed to specifically help patients of Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia.

A new kind of imaging technique is helping scientists observe such evidence, and it is revealing a surprise: intelligence, and a variety of mental syndromes, may be influenced by tracts within the brain made exclusively of white matter. This type of magnetic resonance technology, called Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI), has for the first time shown white matter in action, revealing its underappreciated role. Diffusion Tensor Imaging is a variation of the MRI. With DTI, white matter lesions can be found that do not show up on other MRI/imaging techniques, and can also be used to localize tumors. To do this, the brightness and mean diffusivity are measures used in a clinical setting. Diffusion Tensor Imaging data can also be used to track a fiber, or path, through which information travels in our brain. DTI can perform a tractography within white matter and track the path of our neural impulses from the brain, down to the spinal cord and into the peripheral nerves. This is an exciting development considering the possibilities it opens up for the study of our brain. Not only can it be used to find tumors, but also to study how we process information, control our muscles and develop during childhood.

Brain chips by *markdow on deviantART

Myelin is only partially formed at birth and gradually develops in different regions throughout our 20’s. The timing of growth and degree of completion can affect learning, self-control (and why teenagers may lack it), mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, autism and even behavior such as pathological lying. Multiple Sclerosis is one of the most common diseases that affect white matter. In MS lesions, the myelin shield around the axons is destroyed by inflammation.

Changes in white matter known as Amyloid plaques are associated with Alzheimer’s disease and other Neurodegenerative diseases. White matter injuries may be reversible, while grey matter regeneration is less likely. Other changes that commonly occur with age include the development of Leukoaraiosis, which is a rare faction of the white matter that can be caused by a variety of conditions, including loss of myelin, axonal loss, and a breakdown of the blood-brain barrier. Bacteria from urinary tract infections crossing the blood-barrier and causing dementia-type symptoms is a common occurrence in the elderly. Assisted living medical professionals are aware of these conditions and effectively can treat patients to provide them as much comfort and relief as possible. Senior patients suffering from mental conditions, diseases and illnesses can get the proper treatment they need by joining an assisted living facility.

800Seniors.com is a leading referral system in the Elderly Healthcare industry. We are located on 5400 Atlantis Court, Moorpark, California 93021. 800Seniors.com provides the perfect match between seniors searching for health care provisions such as Home Care, Home Health, Skilled Nursing, Hospice Care, Medical Supplies, as well as a variety of Assisted Living San Diego and Care Homes nationwide. Take the confusion and hassle out of the search. For more information call 1-800-768-8221, visit http://800seniors.com or fax us your details at (805)517-1623.

About The Author: Gloria Ha’o Schneider is an expert in senior citizen and baby boomer issues. Her topics revolve around Senior Living and Healthcare to provide the latest information to this demographic as well as their families and loved ones.

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