by Internet Medical Society

  • Neurodegenerative diseases are associated with deposition of abnormal proteins, leading to neuronal cell loss and symptoms
  • The pathological processes leading to neurodegenerative dementias start years before symptoms
  • Mild cognitive impairment is a transition stage between normal ageing and dementia
  • Dementia – a syndrome not a diagnosis – commonly arises in the elderly, and it may be difficult to distinguish the earliest pathological stages from normal ageing
  • Dementia is currently defined as progressive impairments of cognitions involving memory sufficient to impair daily living.
  • Definitive diagnosis of a degenerative dementia can only be made at autopsy. It may be difficult to distinguish the different causes during lifealthough biomarkers are emerging as important diagnostic aids
  • Disorders other than dementia needs to be considered in elderly people with cognitive impairments
  • Alzheimer's disease is the commonest cause of dementia and its management represents one of the gravest challenges to health services worldwide

  • AD presents typically with memory impairment but atypical presentations exist in which there is predominant impairment of other cognitive domains

  • Diagnostic criteria for AD are currently under review and new proposed criteria will encompass specificbiological characteristics

  • Patients with mild cognitive impairment are clinically heterogeneous but at increased risk of progressing to AD 

  • 0.5-1% of AD cases are familial; as well as pathogenic mutations several susceptibility genes have been identified

  • Significant efforts are currently being made to develop and validate biomarkers for AD with particular emphasis on diagnosing pre-dementia AD pathology

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