An Update on the Diagnosis and Management of Dementing Conditions
Worsening memory is a common complaint in the elderly and predictably causes affected individuals and their families to wonder whether the underlying cause is Alzheimer disease, the most common form of dementia. Alzheimer disease is a devastating illness that unavoidably leads to a complete loss of independence and, as a result, substantial emotional, physical, and financial distress for patients and their families. The causes and severity of memory impairment in the elderly are diverse, however, so any given case might not necessarily be secondary to a neurodegenerative disorder such as Alzheimer disease. Consequently, it is critical to rule out potentially reversible causes of dementia and to initiate treatment while cognitive and functional deficits are still mild and more likely to respond to treatment. Furthermore, identifying the etiology and defining a suitable treatment plan early in the course of dementia allows patients to be more actively involved in the management of their disease and is more likely to improve quality of life for both patients and caregivers. This review presents the etiology of dementia in the elderly, describes the diagnostic process, and discusses current therapeutic strategies, including pharmacological agents, nonpharmacological interventions, safety assessments, legal issues, and caregiver needs.
Medical Subject Headings
Reviews in Neurological Diseases
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Maalouf, Marwan; Ringman, John M.; and Shi, Jiong, "An Update on the Diagnosis and Management of Dementing Conditions" (2011). Neurology. 208.