Brain Glucose Metabolism and Its Influence on Dementia-related Hallucinations
In the United States, 5.7 million Americans have been diagnosed with dementia. Dementia is reported to kill more people than breast and prostate cancer combined. One in three elderly patients dies from dementia or Alzheimer’s; Dementia is defined as “a progressive cognitive decline that affects a person’s social and occupational functioning,” which can lead to the inability to “think, reason, and remember” (Hoffman & Sullivan, 2020, 67). It affects multiple aspects of a person’s life including ability to accomplish independent activities of daily living as well as regular activities of daily living. Diagnosis of dementia can be accomplished through multiple scans which track an individual’s ability glucose metabolism in the brain. These scans include: PET (Positron Emission Tomography) and SPECT (Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography). These scans are nuclear medicine procedures that produce three-dimensional images of the head through functional scanning to depict brain activity after a glucose tracer is injected into the bloodstream (Henry et al., 2016, 22). Both of these scans capture and visualize regional metabolic activity in the brain and more specifically, the brain’s response or lack of a response to the tracer medium, thus signifying potential presence of dementia. The purpose of this evidence-based brief is to study the effect of hypometabolism of glucose compared to normal glucose metabolism and its impact on hallucination occurrences in patients with dementia over the age of 65. Early detection may improve prognosis and provide valuable time for healthcare decisions.