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What is dementia?

Dementia is a general term for a syndrome that involves impairment in multiple aspects of mental ability, and is sufficiently severe that an individual cannot function independently.

Causes of dementia

There are many diseases that cause dementia, including:

There are other conditions that can cause dementia or dementia-like symptoms including reactions to medications, metabolic problems and endocrine abnormalities, nutritional deficiencies, infections, brain tumors, anoxia or hypoxia, and heart and lung problems. A comprehensive work-up is therefore indicated for all patients who develop symptoms of dementia.


Hopkins clinicians recommend the Alzheimer's Association web resource known as Carefinder, It outlines how to plan ahead for patients with memory problems, and identifies care options, support services, and guidelines for how to coordinate care for persons with memory disorders. This interactive web-based tool permits you to identify resources that fit your needs.

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