This essay Dementia has a total of 3197 words and 20 pages.
What is Dementia ?
Dementia is an organic brain syndrome which results in global cognitive impairment. Dementia can occur
as a result of a variety of neurological diseases. Some of the more well known dementing diseases include
Alzheimer’s disease (AD), multi-infarct dementia (MID), and Huntington’s disease (HD). Throughout this
essay the emphasis will be placed on AD (also known as dementia of the Alzheimer’s type, and primary
degenerative dementia), because statistically it is the most significant dementing disease occurring in over
50% of all demented patients (see epidemiology).
The clinical picture in dementia is very similar to delirium, except for the course. Delirium is an acute
transitory disorder. By contrast Dementia is a long term progressive disorder (with the exception of the
reversible dementias). The course of AD can range anywhere from 1.5 to 15 years with an average of about
years (Katzman, Lasker & Bernstein, 1988). AD is usually divided into three stages mild, moderate,
and severe. Throughout these stages a specific sequence of cognitive deterioration is observed (Lezak,
1995). The mild stage begins with memory, attention, speed dependent activities, and abstract reasoning
dysfunction. Mild language impairments also begin to surface at this period. In the moderate stage,
language deficits such as aphasia and apraxia become prominent. Dysfluency, paraphasias, and bizarre word
combinations are common midstage speech defects. In the severe stage the patient is gradually reduced to a
vegetative state. Speech becomes non-fluent, repetitive, and largely non-communicative. In addition,
Auditory comprehension becomes exceedingly limited, with many patients displaying partial or complete
mutism. Late in the course of the disease many neuropsychological functions can no longer be measured.
Furthermore, primitive reflexes such as grasp and suck emerge as well. Death usually results from a disease
such as pneumonia which overwhelms the limited vegetative functions of the patient.
Dementia is commonly differentiated along two dimensions age and cortical level. The first dimension,
age, serves to distinguish between senile and presenile dementia. Senile dementia is used to describe patients
who become demented after the age of 65, whereas presenile dementia applies to patients who become
demented prior to that age. Late onset AD (LOAD) also known as senile dementia of the Alzheimer’s type
(SDAT) is the predominant cause of senile dementia. Early onset AD (EOAD) is the most frequent cause of
presenile dementia, but HD, Pick’s disease, and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease though not as frequent are also
important causes in presenile dementia.
The second dimension, cortical level, differentiates between cortical and subcortical dementia. Cortical
dementia is used to describe dementia which results from brain lesions at the cortical level, whereas sub-
cortical dementia applies to dementia which results from subcortical brain lesions. AD and Pick’s disease
are amongst the best known examples of cortical dementia; whereas HD, Parkinson’s disease (PD), and
progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) are good examples of subcortical dementia (Derix, 1994). When
dementia with both cortical and subcortical features occurs, the term mixed dementia is used. MID is a
common example of mixed dementia.
Historical Developments in Dementia
The use of the term dementia dates back to Roman times. The Latin word demens did not originally
have the specific connotation that it does today. It meant ‘being out of one’s mind’ and as such was a
general term for insanity (U’Ren, 1987). It was the encylopedist Celsus who first used the word dementia in
his De re medicina, published around AD 30. A century later the Cappadocian physician Aretaeus first
described senile dementia with the word dotage: “The dotage which is the calamity of old age…dotage
commencing with old age never intermits, but accompanies the patient until death” (U’Ren, 1987, P. 1).
Curiously, dementia was mentioned in most systems of psychiatric classification throughout pre-modern
times, though the precise meaning of the word is often unclear (U’Ren, 1987).
It can be argued that the origins of the scientific study of dementia date back to the early nineteenth
century. The initial steps were undertaken by the great French psychiatrist Pinel at the beginning of that
century. Pinel’s observations led him to conclude that dementia is caused by ‘idiotism’. He used the term
dementia in relation to the “progressive mental changes seen in some idiots” (U’Ren, 1987,3). Furthermore,
Pinel thought that dementia was a distinct abnormal entity, and thus he used the term dementia to designate
DementiaaDementiaa IntrodWhat is Dementia ?uction Dementia is an organic brain syndrome which results in global cognitive impairments. Dementia can occur as a result of a variety of neurological diseases. Some of the more well known dementing diseases include Alzheimer’s disease (AD), multi-infarct dementia (MID), and Huntington’s disease (HD). Throughout this essay the emphasis will be placed on AD (also known as dementia of the Alzheimer’s type, and primary degenerative dementia), because statistically
Childhood DepressionChildhood Depression Childhood Depression In recent years, we have heard of depression and the affects of the disorder, and what medications and theories help to prevent depression in adults. Many people are not aware that not only is depression diagnosed in adults, recently studies show that depression is diagnosed in adolescents. Not only adults become depressed. Children and teenagers also may have depression. Depression is defined as an illness when it persists. Childhood depression is one o
Diagnostic Summary PaperDiagnostic Summary Paper Diagnostic Summary Paper AUTISM Autism is a disorder that impairs the development of a person\'s capacity to interact with, communicate with, and also maintain regular normal bonds with the outside world. This disorder was described in 1943 by Leo Kanner, an American psychologist. Autism is considered one of the more common developmental disabilities, and appears before the age of three. It is known to be four or five times more common in males than in females. It most c
DreamsDreams DREAMS Dreaming is an experience that has fascinated people for a very long time. Although researches about dreams have been limited in the past, it has developed tremendously in its field of science. There are many explanations why people dream, but there are three main theoretical explanations for why there is dreaming: the biological view, the cognitive view, and the psychoanalytic view. I will be assessing a dream of my own, using all three perspectives. All three views have been deba
Fantasys Integral Role In Creation Of A MonsterFantasys Integral Role In Creation Of A Monster Fantasy\'s integral role in the creation of a monster In the past decade, the elusive creature known as the serial killer has captured the attention of American culture. With the popular press churning out dozens of books and movies centered around the serial killer each year, the term has almost become a catch-phrase, replacing earlier terms such as \'homicidal maniac.\' Fiction writers and the movie industry use \'serial killer\' in a much more c
Beauty And The Beast: AnorexiaBeauty And The Beast: Anorexia Julie Mallon Psychology 310 Beauty and the Beast : Anorexia It seemed to me that the older I got, the more obsessed people seemed about their bodies. Whether it was the diet soda boom of the 80\'s, or the fact everyone has always been unhappy with his or her natural bodies; it just took me a while to comprehend. It always seemed like there were diets here, diets there; these drugs can do this, or these herbs can do that… Stop the insanity! This paper is going to di
Why Do Teens Contemplate To Suicide?Why Do Teens Contemplate To Suicide? Why do Teens Contemplate to Suicide? As the third largest cause of death between the ages of 15 and 24, the adolescent suicide rate has tripled since 1960. This is the only age group in which an increase has occurred over the last three decades. While there are approximately 10,000 reported teen suicides annually, it is estimated that the number of teen suicides is actually three to four times that number when unreported deaths and “suicide equivalents” are a
Multiple Personality DisorderMultiple Personality Disorder The most famous dissociative disorder is Multiple Personality Disorder, also known as Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). It is estimated that one in one hundred people may suffer from Multiple Personality Disorder and other Dissociative Disorders. With correct diagnosis and appropriate treatment, people have the potential for complete recovery. Multiple Personality Disorder is a condition in which a person has more than one identity, each of which speaks, acts an
Panic DisorderPanic Disorder The purpose of this paper is to understand Panic Disorder and symptoms, types of the disorder, treatment, and relation to other disorders and how it affects people in general. Included, is a case study of “Sarah” who suffered with a panic disorder. Panic Disorder is when someone experiences unexpected panic attacks followed by at least one month of persistent concern about having another panic attack, worrying about the possible consequences of the panic attacks, or a behavioral c