Alzheimer's disease & dementia

Link between paid employment and slower age-related memory decline

Over the past century, patterns of employment, marriage and parenthood have changed drastically for women across the Western World. In a study presented today at the Alzheimer's Association Internal Conference 2019, researchers ...

Alzheimer's disease & dementia

Loss of multiple senses increases dementia risk

Two studies presented at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference 2019 have explored whether losing multiple senses, including hearing and sight, increases the risk of dementia.

Alzheimer's disease & dementia

Dementia and transitional care: Gaps in research and practice

Patients with dementia are hospitalized at higher rates and involved in transitional care more frequently than those who are cognitively unimpaired. Yet, current practices for managing transitional care—and the research ...

Alzheimer's disease & dementia

Apathy: The forgotten symptom of dementia

Apathy is the most common neuropsychiatric symptom of dementia, with a bigger impact on function than memory loss—yet it is under-researched and often forgotten in care.

Health

Wearing hearing aid may help protect brain in later life

A new study has concluded that people who wear a hearing aid for age-related hearing problems maintain better brain function over time than those who do not. It builds on important research in recent years pulled together ...

Alzheimer's disease & dementia

Scientists close in on blood test for Alzheimer's

Scientists are closing in on a long-sought goal—a blood test to screen people for possible signs of Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia.

Alzheimer's disease & dementia

Healthy blood vessels may be the answer to Alzheimer's prevention

If you're worried about Alzheimer's disease, your best shot at prevention could be maintaining cardiovascular health through exercise and diet and staying on top of conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure.

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Dementia (taken from Latin, originally meaning "madness", from de- "without" + ment, the root of mens "mind") is a serious loss of global cognitive ability in a previously unimpaired person, beyond what might be expected from normal aging. It may be static, the result of a unique global brain injury, or progressive, resulting in long-term decline due to damage or disease in the body. Although dementia is far more common in the geriatric population, it can occur before the age of 65, in which case it is termed "early onset dementia".

Dementia is not a single disease, but rather a non-specific illness syndrome (i.e., set of signs and symptoms) in which affected areas of cognition may be memory, attention, language, and problem solving. It is normally required to be present for at least 6 months to be diagnosed; cognitive dysfunction that has been seen only over shorter times, in particular less than weeks, must be termed delirium. In all types of general cognitive dysfunction, higher mental functions are affected first in the process.

Especially in the later stages of the condition, affected persons may be disoriented in time (not knowing what day of the week, day of the month, or even what year it is), in place (not knowing where they are), and in person (not knowing who they, or others around them, are). Dementia, though often treatable to some degree, is usually due to causes that are progressive and incurable.

Symptoms of dementia can be classified as either reversible or irreversible, depending upon the etiology of the disease. Less than 10% of cases of dementia are due to causes that may presently be reversed with treatment. Causes include many different specific disease processes, in the same way that symptoms of organ dysfunction such as shortness of breath, jaundice, or pain are attributable to many etiologies.

Without careful assessment of history, the short-term syndrome of delirium (often lasting days to weeks) can easily be confused with dementia, because they have all symptoms in common, save duration. Some mental illnesses, including depression and psychosis, may produce symptoms that must be differentiated from both delirium and dementia.

There are many specific types (causes) of dementia, often showing slightly different symptoms. However, the symptom overlap is such that it is impossible to diagnose the type of dementia by symptomatology alone, and in only a few cases are symptoms enough to give a high probability of some specific cause. Diagnosis is therefore aided by nuclear medicine brain scanning techniques. Certainty cannot be attained except with brain biopsy during life, or at necropsy in death.

Some of the most common forms of dementia are: Alzheimer's disease, vascular dementia, frontotemporal dementia, semantic dementia and dementia with Lewy bodies. It is possible for a patient to exhibit two or more dementing processes at the same time, as none of the known types of dementia protects against the others.

This text uses material from Wikipedia licensed under CC BY-SA