Dementia Etiologies

Degenerative dementias

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Lewy body dementia – early onset w/ associated psychosis and depression
  • Frontotemperal dementias (Pick’s) – change in personality
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Idiopathic cerebral ferrocalcinosis (Fahr’s disease)
  • Progressive supranuclear palsy

Cardiac, vascular, and anoxia

  • Infarction (single, multiple or strategic lacunar)
  • Binswanger’s disease (subcortical arteriosclerotic encephalopathy)
  • Hemodynamic insufficiency (hypoperfusion or hypoxia)
  • Subdural hematoma

Miscellaneous

  • Huntington’s disease
  • Wilson’s disease
  • Metachromatic leukodystrophy
  • Neroacanthocytosis

Psychiatric

  • Pseudodementia of depression
  • Cognitive decline in late-life schizophrenia

Physiologic

  • Normal pressure hydrocephalus

 Metabolic

  • Vitamin deficiencies (B12, folate)
  • Endocrinopathies (hypothyroidism)
  • Chronic metabolic disturbances (uremia)

 Tumor

  • Primary or metastatic (meningioma, metastatic breast, metastatic lung)

Traumatic

  • Posttraumatic dementia

 Infection

  • Prion disease (CJD, bovine spongiform encephalitis, Gerstmann-Straussler syndrome)
  • Virus: AIDS
  • Spirochette: syphilis
  • Bacterial: pneumococcal, meningococcal

 Demyelinating diseases

  • Multiple sclerosis

 Drugs and toxins

  • Alcohol
  • Heavy metals
  • Irradiation
  • Pseudodementia due to medications (anticholinergics)
  • Carbon monoxide

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