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NINDS Disorders is an index of neurological conditions provided by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. This valuable tool offers detailed descriptions, facts on treatment and prognosis, and patient organization contact information for over 500 identified neurological disorders.

AAN Press Releases
Study: Link Between Vitamin D and Dementia Risk Confirmed 08.06.2014
How Is Depression Related to Dementia? 07.30.2014
Study: Traumatic Brain Injury in Veterans May Increase Risk of Dementia 06.25.2014
Cynical? You May Be Hurting Your Brain Health 05.28.2014
Two Parents with Alzheimer’s Disease? Disease May Show up Decades Early on Brain Scans 02.12.2014
High Estrogen Levels, Diabetes Together May Increase Dementia Risk 14-Fold in Older Women 01.29.2014
Speaking a Second Language May Delay Different Dementias 11.06.2013
Lower Blood Sugars May Be Good for the Brain 10.23.2013
From Einstein to Oprah: Famous Faces May Help Spot Early Dementia 08.12.2013
Chocolate May Help Keep Brain Healthy 08.07.2013
Anemia Linked to Increased Risk of Dementia 07.31.2013
People with Alzheimer’s Disease May Have Lower Risk of Cancer and Vice Versa 07.10.2013
Does Being a Bookworm Boost Your Brainpower in Old Age? 07.03.2013
Stroke Symptoms Associated with Developing Memory and Thinking Problems 06.19.2013
Rapid, Irregular Heartbeat May Be Linked to Problems with Memory and Thinking 06.05.2013
Tests to Predict Heart Problems and Stroke May Be More Useful Predictor of Memory Loss than Dementia Tests 04.01.2013
Could That Cold Sore Increase Your Risk of Memory Problems? 03.25.2013
New Add-On Drug May Improve Memory in People with Moderate Alzheimer’s Disease 03.11.2013
Antioxidants in Your Diet May Not Reduce Risk of Stroke or Dementia 02.20.2013
Study: Number of People with Alzheimer’s Disease May Triple by 2050 02.06.2013
Can Blood Pressure Drugs Reduce the Risk of Dementia? 01.07.2013
New MRI Method May Help Diagnose Dementia 12.26.2012
Can Going Hungry As a Child Slow Down Cognitive Decline in Later Years? 12.10.2012
Obesity Gene Variants Linked to Memory Decline in Middle Age 11.07.2012
Exercise May Trump Mental Activity in Protecting Against Brain Shrinkage 10.22.2012
New Biomarker in the Blood May Help Predict Alzheimer’s Disease 07.18.2012
Keeping Pace: Walking Speed May Signal Thinking Problems Ahead 06.11.2012
Working with Solvents Tied to Cognitive Problems for Less-Educated People 05.28.2012
Get Moving: Daily Exercise May Reduce Alzheimer’s Disease Risk at Any Age 04.18.2012
Studies: Memory Declines Faster In Years Closest to Death; Mental Activity Best Protection 04.04.2012
Memory Problems May Increase After Being Hospitalized 03.21.2012
How Fast You Walk and Your Grip in Middle Age May Predict Dementia, Stroke 02.15.2012
Larger Belly Linked to Memory Problems in People with HIV 02.13.2012
Marker for Alzheimer’s Disease May Affect Mental Function Even in Healthy Adults 02.01.2012
Study: Men at Higher Risk for Mild Memory Loss Than Women 01.25.2012
Brain Size May Predict Risk for Early Alzheimer’s Disease 12.21.2011
Is It Alzheimer’s Disease or Another Dementia? Marker May Give More Accurate Diagnosis 11.30.2011
People with Early Alzheimer’s Disease May Be More Likely to Have Lower BMI 11.21.2011
Your Stroke Risk Profile May Also Help Predict Your Risk of Memory Problems 11.07.2011
Researchers: People with Dementia Less Likely to Return Home After Stroke 10.31.2011
Think You’re in Poor Health? It Could Increase Your Odds of Dementia 10.05.2011
Diabetes May Significantly Increase Your Risk of Dementia 09.19.2011
Keeping up Your Overall Health May Keep Dementia Away 07.13.2011
Brain Starts Shrinking Nearly a Decade Before Alzheimer’s Appears 04.13.2011
Treating High Blood Pressure, Cholesterol, Diabetes May Lower Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease 04.13.2011
Actress Lea Thompson Hosts New, Free Video to Help People with Alzheimer’s Disease 04.06.2011
Stroke Survivors with Irregular Heartbeat May Have Higher Risk of Dementia 03.07.2011
More Evidence That Alzheimer’s Disease May Be Inherited from Your Mother 02.28.2011
Alzheimer’s Disease May Be Easily Misdiagnosed 02.23.2011
Memory Problems May Be Sign of Stroke Risk 02.09.2011
Metabolic Syndrome Linked to Memory Loss in Older People 02.02.2011
Vitamin B12 May Reduce Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease 10.18.2010
Study: Old Age May Not Be to Blame for Becoming Forgetful 09.15.2010
Sleep Disorder May Signal Dementia, Parkinson’s Disease Up to 50 Years Early 07.28.2010
Larger Head Size May Protect Against Alzheimer’s Symptoms 07.12.2010
Depression May Nearly Double Risk of Dementia 07.05.2010
Two Researchers Awarded $100,000 Potamkin Prize from AAN 02.18.2010
Two Researchers Awarded $100,000 Potamkin Prize from AAN 02.11.2010
Is Disorder That Causes Dementia Hereditary? 11.02.2009
‘Brain Exercises’ May Delay Memory Decline in Dementia 08.03.2009
White Matter Changes May Predict Dementia Risk 07.13.2009
Language Skills in Your Twenties May Predict Risk of Dementia Decades Later 07.08.2009
Weight Loss in Old Age May Signal Dementia 05.18.2009
Pain Relievers Ibuprofen and Naproxen May Delay—Not Prevent—Alzheimer’s Disease 04.22.2009
Having a Parent with Dementia May Affect Memory in Midlife 02.18.2009
Can Exercising Your Brain Prevent Memory Loss? 02.17.2009
Education May Not Affect How Fast You Will Lose Your Memory 02.02.2009
Socially Active and Not Easily Stressed? You May Not Develop Dementia 01.19.2009
Hormone Therapy Linked to Brain Shrinkage, But Not Lesions 01.12.2009
Sleep Disorder May Be Early Sign of Dementia or Parkinson’s Disease 12.24.2008
Occasional Memory Loss Tied to Lower Brain Volume 10.06.2008
Vitamin B12 May Protect the Brain in Old Age 09.08.2008
Even Without Dementia, Mental Skills Decline Years Before Death 08.27.2008
Statins May Protect Against Memory Loss 07.28.2008
Are Men or Women More Likely to Have Memory Problems in Very Old Age? 07.02.2008
Low Childhood IQ Linked to Type of Dementia 06.25.2008
Short Arms and Legs Linked to Risk of Dementia 05.05.2008
Using Anticholinergic Drugs May Increase Cognitive Decline in Older People 04.17.2008
Men More Likely to Have Problems with Memory and Thinking Skills 04.16.2008
Chemotherapy May Not Affect Memory in Breast Cancer Patients 04.15.2008
How Big Is Your Brain? Its Size May Protect You from Memory Loss 04.15.2008
Larger Belly in Mid-Life Increases Risk of Dementia 03.26.2008
Does Gingko Biloba Affect Memory? 02.27.2008
Worried About Family or Friends Falling? New Guideline Identifies Those Most at Risk 02.04.2008
Walking and Moderate Exercise Help Prevent Dementia 12.19.2007
Eating Fish, Omega-3 Oils, Fruits and Veggies Lowers Risk of Memory Problems 11.12.2007
Educated People Who Develop Dementia Lose Memory at Faster Rate 10.22.2007
Not Finishing High School May Lead to Memory Problems 10.01.2007
Hormone Therapy in Early Post-Menopause Has No Effect on Memory 09.24.2007
Does Being Overweight in Old Age Cause Memory Problems? 09.19.2007
Smokers Are More Likely to Develop Dementia 09.03.2007
Removing Ovaries Before Menopause Leads to Memory and Movement Problems 08.30.2007
Women Lose Weight at Least a Decade Before Developing Dementia 08.20.2007
In Women, Caffeine May Protect Memory 08.06.2007
Older Women with Memory Problems at Increased Risk for Restless Nights 07.16.2007
New Gene Mutation Identified in Common Type of Dementia 07.09.2007
Distress-Prone People More Likely to Develop Memory Problems 06.11.2007
Personality Changes May Help Detect Form of Dementia 05.28.2007
A Drink A Day May Delay Dementia 05.21.2007
Drinking Heavy Amounts of Alcohol Shrinks Your Brain 05.02.2007
Secondhand Smoke Increases Risk of Dementia 05.01.2007
Brain Structure Changes Years Before Memory Loss Begins 04.16.2007
High BMI Tied to Poor Cognitive Function in Middle-Aged Adults 10.09.2006
Fitness and Childhood IQ Indicators of Cognitive Ability in Old Age 10.09.2006
Forgetful? You May Be Losing More Than Just Your Memory 09.11.2006
Alzheimer’s Pathology Related to Episodic Memory in Those without Dementia 06.26.2006
Essential Tremor Associated with Increased Risk of Dementia 04.13.2005
Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Midlife Strongly Linked to Risk of Dementia 01.24.2005
Maintaining Physical Activity Linked to Less Cognitive Decline in Older Men 12.27.2004
Dementia, Sensory Neuropathy in Sub-Saharan HIV-Positive Patients 04.28.2004
Reading Test May Validly Estimate Pre-Dementia Functioning 04.12.2004
Smoking Linked to Accelerated Cognitive Decline in the Elderly 03.22.2004
Artist’s Work Evolves Despite Dementia 05.26.2003
Loss of Brain Tissue May Contribute to Cognitive Impairment Among Otherwise Healthy Diabetes Patients 04.01.2003
New Study Counters Previous Research Linking Intake of Dietary Fat with Increased Risk of Dementia 12.23.2002
Drinking Wine May Lower Risk of Dementia 11.11.2002
Memory Loss Affects Nearly One-Fourth of Those Over 65 11.12.2001
Study Ties Weight Loss in Female Alzheimer's Patients to APOE e4 Allele 03.12.2001
Diabetes and High Blood Pressure Can Lead to Cognitive Decline 01.08.2001

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Dementia

Dementia is not a specific disease. It is a descriptive term for a collection of symptoms that can be caused by a number of disorders that affect the brain. People with dementia have significantly impaired intellectual functioning that interferes with normal activities and relationships. They also lose their ability to solve problems and maintain emotional control, and they may experience personality changes and behavioral problems, such as agitation, delusions, and hallucinations. While memory loss is a common symptom of dementia, memory loss by itself does not mean that a person has dementia. Doctors diagnose dementia only if two or more brain functions - such as memory and language skills -- are significantly impaired without loss of consciousness.  Some of the diseases that can cause symptoms of dementia are Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, Lewy body dementia, frontotemporal dementia, Huntington’s disease, and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.  Doctors have identified other conditions that can cause dementia or dementia-like symptoms including reactions to medications, metabolic problems and endocrine abnormalities, nutritional deficiencies, infections, poisoning, brain tumors, anoxia or hypoxia (conditions in which the brain’s oxygen supply is either reduced or cut off entirely), and heart and lung problems.  Although it is common in very elderly individuals, dementia is not a normal part of the aging process.

Treatment

Drugs to specifically treat Alzheimer’s disease and some other progressive dementias are now available.  Although these drugs do not halt the disease or reverse existing brain damage, they can improve symptoms and slow the progression of the disease. This may improve an individual’s quality of life, ease the burden on caregivers, or delay admission to a nursing home. Many researchers are also examining whether these drugs may be useful for treating other types of dementia.  Many people with dementia, particularly those in the early stages, may benefit from practicing tasks designed to improve performance in specific aspects of cognitive functioning. For example, people can sometimes be taught to use memory aids, such as mnemonics, computerized recall devices, or note taking.

Prognosis

There are many disorders that can cause dementia. Some, such as Alzheimer’s disease or Huntington’s disease, lead to a progressive loss of mental functions. But other types of dementia can be halted or reversed with appropriate treatment. People with moderate or advanced dementia typically need round-the-clock care and supervision to prevent them from harming themselves or others. They also may need assistance with daily activities such as eating, bathing, and dressing.

Research

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) and other institutes of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) conduct research related to dementia in laboratories at the NIH and also support additional dementia research through grants to major medical institutions across the country.  Current research focuses on many different aspects of dementia. This research promises to improve the lives of people affected by the dementias and may eventually lead to ways of preventing or curing these disorders.

View a list of studies currently seeking patients.

View more studies on this condition.

Read additional information from Medline Plus.

Organizations

Alzheimer's Disease Education and Referral Center (ADEAR)

National Institute on Aging
P.O. Box 8250
Silver Spring, MD 20907-8250
Tel: 1-800-438-4380
Fax: 301-495-3334

Alzheimer's Foundation of America

Works to provide optimal care and services to individuals confronting dementia and to their caregivers and families thruogh member organizations dedicated to improving quality of life.

322 Eighth Avenue
7th Floor
New York, NY 10001
Tel: 866-AFA-8484 (232-8484)
Fax: 646-638-1546

John Douglas French Alzheimer's Foundation

Provides seed money for novel and innovative Alzheimer's research at major California universities. Unsolicited applications and/or letters of inquiry not accepted.

11620 Wilshire Blvd.
Suite 270
Los Angeles, CA 90025
Tel: 310-445-4650
Fax: 310-479-0516

Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration (AFTD)

Nonprofit organization that promotes and funds research into finding the cause and cure for frontotemporal degeneration, also called frontotemporal dementia (FTD); provides information, education, and support to those affected by FTD and their caregivers; and sponsors professional health education programs related to FTD.

Radnor Station Building #2 Suite 320
290 King of Prussia Road
Radnor, PA 19087
Tel: 267-514-7221 866-507-7222

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)

National Institutes of Health, DHHS
6001 Executive Blvd. Rm. 8184, MSC 9663
Bethesda, MD 20892-9663
Tel: 301-443-4513/866-415-8051 301-443-8431 (TTY)
Fax: 301-443-4279

Lewy Body Dementia Association

Supports those affected by Lewy body dementias through outreach, education and research.

912 Killian Hill Road, S.W.
Lilburn, GA 30047
Tel: Telephone: 404-935-6444 LBD Caregiver Link: 800-539-9767
Fax: 480-422-5434

Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation

Public charity whose mission is to accelerate the discovery and development of drugs to prevent, treat, and cure Alzheimer's disease, related dementias, and cognitive aging.

57 West 57th Street
Suite 904
New York, NY 10019
Tel: 212-901-8000
Fax: 212-901-8010

BrightFocus Foundation

Non-profit charitable organization dedicated to funding research and educating the public on Alzheimer's disease, glaucoma, and macular degeneration.

22512 Gateway Center Drive
Clarksburg, MD 20871
Tel: 1- 800-437-2423
Fax: 301-258-9454

Alzheimer's Association

National voluntary health organization committed to finding a cure for Alzheimer’s and helping those affected by the disease.

225 North Michigan Avenue
Floor 17
Chicago, IL 60601-7633
Tel: 312-335-8700 1-800-272-3900 (24-hour helpline) TDD: 312-335-5886
Fax: 866.699.1246

National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD)

Federation of voluntary health organizations dedicated to helping people with rare "orphan" diseases and assisting the organizations that serve them. Committed to the identification, treatment, and cure of rare disorders through programs of education, advocacy, research, and service.

55 Kenosia Avenue
Danbury, CT 06810
Tel: 203-744-0100 Voice Mail 800-999-NORD (6673)
Fax: 203-798-2291

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