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What is Dementia?

Dementia is a general term for different diseases that is characterized by declining memory, language, judgment and other cognitive abilities. One can also look at dementia as a stage of disease, as when a person is diagnosed with dementia, it means that cognitive impairment is significant enough to affect their independent living.

The new term for dementia is major neurocognitive disorder.

Causes

Multiple diseases can cause dementia. Most frequent is Alzheimer’s disease. Other causes include cerebrovascular disease, Frontotemporal dementia, dementia with Lewy Bodies and similar. Each of these disorders have distinct pathology found in the brain. 

In rare cases, dementia-type syndrome can be caused by reversible or treatable causes, such as nutrient deficiencies, hormonal changes, certain medications or mood disorders.

Symptoms

Common symptoms of disorders causing dementia include forgetfulness, difficulties with language, geographical disorientation, changes in personality etc. Different disorders might have slightly different symptoms and their combinations.

Treatment

Majority of diseases that cause dementia do not have cure. Certain medications could slow down decline related to the disease. If dementia syndrome is caused by non-degenerative processes, such as strokes, particular attention should be paid to stroke preventative measures.

Some patients may be eligible to participate in clinical trials, which are research studies that evaluate promising and innovative new treatments before they are available to the public.

Global Neurosciences Institute also provides advice and support for those caring for a loved one with dementia, Alzheimer's disease or memory loss.