Memory-assessment expert from Longwood at Oakmont to give dementia talk

| Wednesday, May 8, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Mike Coleman stays active mentally and physically.

Coleman, 75, a resident of Longwood at Oakmont in Plum, walks a few miles a day, participates in physical fitness activities, reads short stories and watches educational television.

Coleman also finds time to watch his young grandchildren.

In addition to enjoying the activities, Coleman hopes to stave off diseases such as dementia that are common among older adults.

Dementia affects thinking and social abilities severely enough to interfere with daily functioning, according to the Mayo Clinic. Many causes of dementia symptoms exist. Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of a progressive dementia.

Len Lecci, professor and director of clinical services at Memory Assessment & Research Services at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, will talk about the most common forms of dementia including Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and vascular dementia at 11 a.m. Wednesday in the Commons Ballroom at Longwood at Oakmont, 500 Route 909, Plum.

According to the World Health Organization, some 35.6 million people were living with dementia in 2010, but that figure is set to nearly double to 65.7 million by 2030. By 2050, the cases of dementia are expected to nearly triple to 115.4 million.

Lecci said mild cognitive impairment is a warning sign of dementia. The impairment typically occurs about five to eight years before the onslaught of dementia.

When memory decline accelerates, many older adults withdraw from events, Lecci said. The isolation serves to exacerbate the dementia.

Lecci said before impairment begins, older adults should go for a “memory checkup” much the same way they get physical exams.

Physical and mental activity throughout one's life can help reduce the risk of developing dementia for some, Lecci said.

Also, recent research suggests that even older adults can create new brain neurons if they are cognitively and physically active throughout their lives, he said.

“Neurogenesis can continue throughout life,” Lecci said.

Lecci also said some studies have suggested foods rich in antioxidants — including red beans, blueberries and other fruits — that help protect the brain can diminish the likelihood of developing dementia.

No medications have been developed to stop dementia, Lecci said. The available medications merely slow the progression of the disease.

Lecci said fighting dementia requires older adults to be “proactive” and get screened before they have symptoms.

“It's a mindset change,” Lecci said.

Those interested in registering for the seminar should call 1-877-214-8410 or go to

Karen Zapf is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8753, or

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.


Show commenting policy