Why humans outlive apes

The same evolutionary genetic advantages that have helped increase human lifespans also make us uniquely susceptible to diseases of aging such as cancer, heart disease and dementia, reveals a study to be published in a special ...

Sorting out structure of a Parkinson's protein

Clumps of proteins that accumulate in brain cells are a hallmark of neurological diseases such as dementia, Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease. Over the past several years, there has been much controversy over the ...

Breakthrough in understanding role of enzyme in disease

Researchers at the University of Dundee have uncovered the mechanism of an important human enzyme that plays a role in the development of debilitating diseases including cancer, dementia and diabetes.

Home-based assessment tool for dementia screening

(Phys.org)—With baby boomers approaching the age of 65 and new cases of Alzheimer's disease expected to increase by 50 percent by the year 2030, Georgia Tech researchers have created a tool that allows adults to screen ...

Order from disorder

NPL and University of Leicester scientists have explored a new way of ordering proteins for materials engineering at the nanoscale, using natural biological phenomena as a guide.

Into the (mis)fold: a diagnostic tool for proteins

(PhysOrg.com) -- Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, currently affecting more than 35 million people worldwide. Although many genetic and hereditary factors are thought to contribute to the telltale ...

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Dementia

Dementia (meaning "deprived of mind") is a cognitive impairment. It may be static, the result of a unique global brain injury or progressive, resulting in long-term decline in cognitive function due to damage or disease in the body beyond what might be expected from normal aging. Although dementia is far more common in the geriatric population, it may occur in any stage of adulthood. This age cutoff is defining, as similar sets of symptoms due to organic brain syndrome or dysfunction, are given different names in populations younger than adult. Up to the end of the nineteenth century, dementia was a much broader clinical concept.

Dementia is a non-specific illness syndrome (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 which has been seen only over shorter times, particularly 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 are or others around them). Dementia, though often treatable to some degree, is usually due to causes which 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 percent of cases of dementia are due to causes which 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, and the fact that delirium is often associated with over-activity of the sympathetic nervous system. Some mental illnesses, including depression and psychosis, may also produce symptoms which must be differentiated from both delirium and dementia.

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