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Additional info for Alzheimer's & Dementia: Questions You Have...Answers You Need

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If their language skills are affected, their communication habits may change. They may have difficulty following a conversation, or substitute one word for another in their own speech. If the part of the brain that controls coordination is affected, their physical coordination may decline and motor skills may suffer. They may have difficulty walking or feeding themselves; they may become incontinent. In short, they gradually become more and more dependent on others. Q: Some of these behaviors are frightening and dangerous.

Different vitamins and minerals are responsible for different bodily functions and, when deficient, different symptoms. Generally speaking, the B vitamins (including B12, folic acid, niacin and thiamin), which are responsible for the body's use of energy from foods and for normal tissue production, produce a variety of dementia symptoms when deficient. Vitamin B12, for instance, supports the growth and function of nerves and the spinal cord. Deficiency of this vitamin is linked to a deterioration in mental functioning, to neurological damage and to a number of psychological disturbances.

The risk of contracting the disease appears to be greater in people who have a relative with the disease, for example, so heredity may play a role. And because the incidence of MS is higher in the northern states than in the southern states, environmental and viral sources have not been discounted.

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