The Other Kinds: Dementia

DEMENTIA

Not every case of dementia--broadly defined as a progressive or permanent decline in intellectual function--is caused by Alzheimer's disease. In fact, there are dozens of conditions that can cause or mimic dementia, including depression, drug overdose, dehydration, anemia, syphilis, viral infections and vitamin deficiencies. Many of these are reversible if they are treated promptly, so it's important to get the proper diagnosis when you or someone you love starts experiencing serious mental deterioration.

Diagnosis can be tricky. Psychological tests go only so far because patients showing signs of dementia are often uncommunicative; failure to remember or fully answer questions can be...

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