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Dr. Andrew Rynne
Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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Article Home Adult and Senior Health Dementia


Dementia is a group of signs and symptoms in which the cognitive features like memory, attention, language and problem solving are affected. It is more common in old age individuals. It occurs due to destruction of brain cells. Dementia can be reversible or irreversible.


People suffering from dementia will be unable to think well and to do normal activities like getting dressed or eating. Memory loss is the commonest symptom of Dementia. The common cause for dementia is Alzheimer’s disease and stroke. In dementia higher mental functions are affected first. To make diagnosis the symptoms should be present for more that 6 months. Some mental illness and psychosis can also cause symptoms similar to the dementia. It was known as senility in the past.

Signs and symptoms of dementia

  • Recent memory loss
  • Difficulty in performing the familiar tasks
  • Problems in language
  • Disorientation of time and place
  • Poor judgment.
  • Misplacing things
  • Mood changes.
  • Personality changes

Tests and diagnosis

  • Medical history
  • Neurophysical testing
  • Informant questionnaires to test cognition.
  • Mental function testing.
  • Liver function tests.
  • Renal function tests.
  • CT scan of brain.
  • MRI brain scan

Types of dementia

Cortical dementia: It is dementia which arises from the disorders of the cerebral cortex. Cerebral cortex is known to control cognitive processes like memory and language.

Causes for cortical dementia re Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, and alcohol induced dementia like Korsakoff ’s syndrome and Wernicke’s encephalopathy

Subcortical dementia: It is the type of dementia which occurs due to dysfunction of the parts of the brain which is under the cortex. It is usually associated with memory loss, language difficulties.

Causes for subcortical dementia are Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, folate deficiency, syphilis, sub dural hematoma, decreased calcium, and low blood pressure.


  • Treatment includes treatment of underlying causes which leads to dementia.
  • Cholinesterase inhibitors are sued to improve the function of brain.
  • Memantine
  • Antidepressants are used to treat depression