long-term brain disorder causing personality changes and impaired memory, reasoning, and social function

Dementia (officially major neurocognitive disorder since 2013) is a group of diseases with symptoms, which affect the way people think and interact with each other. It can often be linked to a disease or damage done to the brain. Very often, short-time memory, mind, speech and motor skills are affected. Certain forms of dementia cause a change in the personality of the sufferer. A person suffering from dementia will lose certain skills and knowledge they already had. This is the main difference to other conditions affecting the mind. People who suffer from learning problems, or lower intelligence will never acquire certain skills, people suffering from dementia will lose skills they have acquired.

Auguste, the patient Alois Alzheimer used to describe Alzheimer's disease, in 1901. Alzheimer's disease is commonly associated with dementia.

Dementia is more common in older people, but younger people can be affected as well. Certain forms of dementia can be treated, to some extent. The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer's disease, which accounts for between 50 and 60 percent of all cases. Other types include vascular dementia and lewy body dementia. In 2019, Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia ranked as the 7th leading cause of death. Women are disproportionately affected.[1]

Famous people who suffered from dementia include Augusto Pinochet, the Chilean leader, and also Rosa Parks, the civil rights activist. Ronald Reagan, a U.S. President, had dementia.



People who see the following signs and symptoms worsen may suffer from dementia:[2]

  • Decision-making ability
  • Judgment
  • Orientation in time and space
  • Problem solving
  • Verbal communication

Behavioral changes may include:

  • Eating
  • Dressing (may need assistance)
  • Interests
  • Routine activities (may become unable to perform household tasks)
  • Personality (inappropriate responses, lack of emotional control)



Some types dementia are reversible. This means the damage can be undone. Other types are irreversible. This means that they cannot be undone. Irreversible dementia is usually caused by an incurable disease, such as Alzheimer's disease.

Reversible causes of dementia also include diffuse axonal injury after injuries to the head or the brain, known medically as Traumatic brain injury.

Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease causes a dementia that gets worse quickly, over weeks or months, and is caused by prions.[3] ,other forms like encephalopathy or delirium may develop relatively slowly, over a number of years.

The two leading causes of dementia are Alzheimer's disease and Multi-infarct disease.[4] Glioma related tumors are another kmown cause. Alcohol dementia, is sometimes associated with Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, and is caused by long-term or uncontrolled, heavy alcohol abuse.

Possible metabolic causes are such as liver failure or kidney failure; and chronic subdural hematoma. Possible other causes may include brain infection by illnesses like meningitis leading in cases to viral encephalitis drug toxicity (e.g. anticonvulsant drugs). A recent report by Science Daily says that researchers at the University of Bergen, in Norway have discovered a connection between Oral health and Alzheimers disease.[5]

History of dementia



  1. "The top 10 causes of death". Retrieved 2024-05-22.
  2. Calleo J, Stanley M (2008). "Anxiety Disorders in Later Life Differentiated Diagnosis and Treatment Strategies". Psychiatric Times. 25 (8).
  3. Belay ED, Schonberger LB (2002). "Variant Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease and bovine spongiform encephalopathy". Clin. Lab. Med. 22 (4): 849–62, v–vi. doi:10.1016/S0272-2712(02)00024-0. PMID 12489284.
  4. Neuropathology Group. Medical Research Council Cognitive Function and Aging Study (2001). "Pathological correlates of late-onset dementia in a multicentre, community-based population in England and Wales. Neuropathology Group of the Medical Research Council Cognitive Function and Ageing Study (MRC CFAS)". Lancet. 357 (9251): 169–75. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(00)03589-3. PMID 11213093. S2CID 22754910.
  5. "Brush your teeth -- postpone Alzheimer's".

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