Jorge G Ruiz
That is the essence of science: ask an imperti-
nent question, and you are on the way to a
Dementia is the result of an irreversible decline in mental functions. Althouge Alzheimer's disease is a common and important cause, there are many other because in some cases the decline in mental functions can be stopped and even revensed. Even if no improvement is expected, it is relevant to make an accurate diagnosis of the cause of dementia because of the different prognostic and psychosocial implications. The purpose of the chapter is to briefly review other causes of dementia apart from Alzheimer's disease.
Vascular dementias are the result of an interference with the blood flow to the brain. When this occurs, the brain cells are deprived of nourishment and die. There is usually a relative preservation of personality and the frequent occurrence of depression.
Vascular dementia is the second most common type of dementia in the elderly in western societies, and is probably responsible for about 10% to 30% of all cases of dementia. The incidence of dementia increases linearly with increasing age. Both sexes are about equally affected, despite the increased incidence of stroke in men. Unlike Alzheimer's disease, the onset of vascular dementia is usually abrupt, the rate of deterioration is stepwise, and neurological signs are usually detected during the clinical examination.
These signs vary according to the part of the brain deprived of blood supply, and can be broadly grouped into cortical and subcortical signs. Among the