Alzheimer's disease & dementia

Trouble managing money may be an early sign of dementia

After Maria Turner's minivan was totaled in an accident a dozen years ago, she grew impatient waiting for the insurance company to process the claim. One night, she saw a red pickup truck on eBay for $20,000. She thought ...

Neuroscience

Reduced kidney function linked to increased risk of dementia

Chronic kidney disease is when a person's kidneys progressively lose their ability to filter waste from the blood and eliminate fluids. Now a new study has found that people with reduced kidney function may have an increased ...

Gerontology & Geriatrics

How accurate are virtual assessments of cognitive function?

Virtual care provided through telephone or videoconference has been broadly implemented in recent months because of the COVID-19 pandemic. A new analysis of published studies has examined the accuracy and reliability of virtual ...

Alzheimer's disease & dementia

Biting the bullet: Firearm ownership in persons with dementia

In Sweden, there are over 2 million legally owned firearms. At the same time, up to 150,000 people live with a diagnosis of dementia. In an aging society such as Sweden, legislators will face challenges in gun ownership. ...

Medical research

New algorithm for the diagnostics of dementia

Researchers from the University of Eastern Finland and the University of Oulu in collaboration with an international team have created a new diagnostic biomarker-based algorithm for the diagnostics of dementia. The team is ...

Alzheimer's disease & dementia

Driving behaviors harbor early signals of dementia

Using naturalistic driving data and machine learning techniques, researchers at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health and Columbia's Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science have developed highly ...

Alzheimer's disease & dementia

Study evaluates biomarker criteria for assessing Alzheimer's risk

One of the biggest challenges in Alzheimer's research is to identify biomarkers that can identify people who are at risk of developing dementia. Biomarkers could be used to screen people so they might be helped before they ...

Alzheimer's disease & dementia

Better country dementia care

Rising levels of dementia is putting pressure on residential aged care facilities, including in rural and regional centers where nursing homes and staff are already under 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