Mixed dementia also called “dementia-multifactorial” is a disease condition where more than one type of dementia occur at the same time. However, only autopsies can definitely determine which kind of dementia or combination of dementias the deceased suffered from. At present there is no real way to diagnose mixed dementia. According to the National Institute on Aging (NIA) some studies show that mixed dementia is the most common cause of dementia in the elderly.
Most Common Mixed Dementia is Alzheimer’s Disease with Vascular Dementia
The most common form of mixed dementia is Alzheimer’s disease with vascular dementia. Brain autopsies showed the presence of beta amyloid plaques and tangles of tau, the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease, but also blood vessel problems like undiagnosed blood clots. See our blog post from July 18, 2019 about vascular dementia.
Alzheimer’s and Lewy Body Dementia
Alzheimer’s hallmarks may also coexist with Lewy bodies found in Lewy body dementia. Lewy bodies are made up of alpha-synuclein, which is also found in the brains of people with Parkinson’s disease. See our blog post from September 5, 2019 about Lewy body dementia.
Alzheimer’s Rarely Occurred Alone
A study based on autopsy exams that was published December 15, 2017 in the journal Annals of Neurology showed:
- Alzheimer’s was the most common disease, but rarely occurred alone.
- 78% of people with dementia had two or more diseases in the brain.
- 58 percent of people with dementia had three or more brain diseases
- 35 percent of people with dementia had four or more brain diseases.
Most had been Diagnosed with only One Dementia
The researchers discovered that most of the people had been diagnosed with only one type of dementia, but the autopsies showed that most really had mixed dementia.
Protecting Blood Vessels May help to Protect against Dementia
Since vascular dementia was the most commonly found dementia to be coexisting with another dementia, preventive strategy against all dementias may be to protect blood vessels from aging and other damage, as well as preventing strokes.
The Berlin Manifesto – Preventing Dementia by Preventing Stroke
A group of researchers led by professor, Dr. Vladimir Hachinski of Western University, together with international collaborators are seeking to raise awareness around the world of the need to unite to take action on preventing dementia by preventing stroke. The Berlin Manifesto was published July 18, 2019 in the journal Alzheimer’s and Dementia. The Berlin Manifesto was a result of a meeting of international scientists that took place in Berlin, Germany in October 2018.
Risk Factors for Stroke and Dementia are the Same
The Berlin Manifesto claims that the risk factors for both stroke and dementia are the same and that there is growing evidence that by preventing strokes dementia can also be prevented. Stroke doubles the risk for dementia and 90% of strokes and 35% of dementias are believed to be preventable. The researchers estimate that more than a third of dementias could be prevented by preventing a stroke. The experts hope to achieve this by international and national policies. They are calling for an international consortium to be established to find out just how these ideas could be implemented on a global scale.
Help is Available for Dementia
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or another dementia, you are not alone.
The National Institute on Aging’s ADEAR Center offers information and free print publications about Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias for families, caregivers, and health professionals. ADEAR Center staff answer telephone, email, and written requests and make referrals to local and national resources.
NIA Alzheimer’s and related Dementias Education and Referral (ADEAR) Center
The Alzheimer’s Association is a great resource for reliable information, education, referral and support to millions of people affected by the disease.
Call their 24/7 Helpline: 800.272.3900.
Memory Care is Best Long-term Option for People with Dementia
Memory care is the best long-term option for people with dementia like the memory care offered by the Van Duyn Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing in Syracuse, New York. Your loved one will be cared for 24 hours a day in a setting specially designed to help people with dementia.
Let us hope that a way of preventing and treating all dementias will be found.