dementia (dĬmĕn´shə) [Lat.,=being out of the mind], progressive deterioration of intellectual faculties resulting in apathy, confusion, and stupor. In the 17th cent. the term was synonymous with insanity, and the term dementia praecox was used in the 19th cent. to describe the condition now known as schizophrenia. In recent years, the term has generally been used to describe various conditions of mental deterioration occurring in middle to later life. Dementia, in its contemporary usage, is an irreversible condition, and is not applied to states of mental deterioration that may be overcome, such as delirium. The condition is generally caused by deterioration of brain tissue, though it can occassionally be traced to deterioration of the circulatory system. Major characteristics include short- and long-term memory loss, impaired judgement, slovenly appearance, and poor hygiene. Dementia disrupts personal relationships and the ability to function occupationally. Senility (senile dementia) in old age is the most commonly recognized form of dementia, usually occurring after the age of 65. Alzheimer's disease can begin at a younger age, and deterioration of the brain tissue tends to happen much more quickly. Individuals who have experienced cerebrovascular disease (particularly strokes) may develop similar brain tissue deterioration, with symptoms similar to Alzheimer's disease and senile dementia. Other types of dementia include Huntington's disease, Parkinson's disease, and Pick's disease. Some forms of familial Alzheimer's disease are caused by specific dominant gene mutations.

See L. L. Heston and J. White, The Vanishing Mind (1991).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Dementia: Selected full-text books and articles

Mario Maj; Norman Sartorius.
Wiley, 2002
Perspectives on Rehabilitation and Dementia
Mary Marshall.
Jessica Kingsley, 2005
The Perspectives of People with Dementia: Research Methods and Motivations
Heather Wilkinson.
Jessica Kingsley, 2002
Explorations in Dementia: Theoretical and Research Studies into the Experience of Remediable and Enduring Cognitive Losses
Michael Bender.
Jessica Kingsley, 2003
Dealing with Dementia: A Guide to Alzheimer's Disease and Other Dementias
Brian Draper.
Allen & Unwin, 2004
Thinking about Dementia: Culture, Loss, and the Anthropology of Senility
Annette Leibing; Lawrence Cohen.
Rutgers University Press, 2006
Theory and Practice of Psychiatry
Bruce J. Cohen.
Oxford University Press, 2003
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 6 "Dementia"
Communication and the Care of People with Dementia
John Killick; Kate Allan.
Open University Press, 2001
Aging, Communication, and Health: Linking Research and Practice for Successful Aging
Mary Lee Hummert; Jon F. Nussbaum.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2001
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 7 "Communication in the Care of People with Severe Dementia"
Discourse Analysis and Applications: Studies in Adult Clinical Populations
Ronald L. Bloom; Loraine K. Obler; Susan De Santi; Jonathan S. Ehrlich.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1994
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 9 "Studies of Discourse Production in Adults with Alzheimer's Disease" and Chap. 10 "Conversational Topic-Shifting Analysis in Dementia"
Mental Disorders, Medications, and Clinical Social Work
Sonia G. Austrian.
Columbia University Press, 2000 (2nd edition)
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 10 "Delirium, Dementia, and Amnestic and Other Cognitive Disorders"
Nursing Home Ethics: Everyday Issues Affecting Residents with Dementia
Bethel Ann Powers.
Springer, 2003
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