Journal of Alzheimers Disease & Parkinsonism
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The term dementia is of Latin origin and means “devoid of the mind.” It is used to describe a persistent state of serious cognitive,
functional and emotional deterioration from a previously higher level of functioning. The essential feature of dementia is the
acquired and persistent compromise in multiple cognitive domains that is severe enough to interfere with everyday functioning.
Memory is the most common cognitive ability lost with dementia; 10% of persons >70 years and 20-40% of individuals >85 years
have clinically identifiable memory loss. The main cause of dementia is neurodegenerative diseases. Alzheimer’s disease (AD)
became the most common neurodegenerative disorder and one of the most common diseases of the aging population. Dementia is
irreversible when caused by degenerative disease or major trauma, but might be reversible in some cases. The reported frequency
of dementia due to potentially reversible causes varies from 0 to 23% and careful evaluation of persons referred for dementia
evaluation can identify these treatable cases. Commonest among these causes are alcohol and drug related dementia, brain lesions
such as normal pressure hydrocephalus , tumors and chronic subdural hematomas, metabolic disorders such as hypothyroidism,
hypoparathyroidism, vitamin B12 deficiency and central nervous system (CNS) infections such as neurosyphilis and HIV. Patients
with a reversible or potentially reversible disorder should be evaluated properly and should not be falsely diagnosed as untreatable,
irreversible dementia disorder. Most reversible conditions are easily identified by a proper history taking, physical examination,
psychiatric evaluation, brain imaging, and routine laboratory tests. Early detection and treatment of them can improve the quality
of life of patients.
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