A Range of Causes of Dementia Syndrome Essay

A Range of Causes of Dementia Syndrome Essay

Neurodegenerative diseases is a common cause of dementia which means that the brain cells known at the neurons either are degenerating therefore the neuron die off quicker than that of the neurons of a normal aging processes. This will lead to a more decline in the persons mental health such as memory, language and sometimes their physical abilities all depending on which area of the brain is infected. These neurodegenerative diseases are known to us as Alzheimer’s, fronto-temporal dementia, and Lewy bodies are where over time a build up of abnormal protein deposits in the brain cause the gradual change and damage to the neurons which will cause the shrinkage of the brain. A Range of Causes of Dementia Syndrome Essay.

Dementia is anything which affects the brain and the loss of function of the brain in such a way that the things we normally take for granted for e.g. our ability to remember things such as time, date, events, to place ourselves in a location to use words, to use language all of these things begin to disappear.


Then there is the blood supply to the brain which is interrupted causing the brain cell to die, and resulting in brain damage. This is vascular dementia which is cause by either lots of small mini strokes or one large stroke as the oxygen and blood is restricted or stopped before reaching the brain cell. There is other more rare causes of dementia caused by depression, brain tumours, thyroid hormone, head injuries, alcohol abuse, Huntington’s disease, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, supranuclear palsy and corticabasal degeneration. Some of these causes of dementia can also be dementia-like conditions which may be treatable or non-progressive. So therefore it is imperative that the person is diagnosed by a professional that deals with mental health diagnoses. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common of dementia which affects both memory and cognitive processes, such as our way of thinking, calculation, language and of planning process.

As the shrinking of the brain is so obvious in Alzheimer’s disease you will too notice the devastation taking place as the brain is destroyed by the tangles of protein which interfere with their functions and outside the neurons is the amyloid protein which interferes with the nerve cells. A Range of Causes of Dementia Syndrome Essay. This affects the brain cells from communication with each other and they begin to die. So if the hippocampus (the part of the brain which is responsible for all our memories both storing and retrieving it) is the affected area of the brain then the memories become trapped or lost inside the hippocampus. Lewy bodies are small circular lumps of protein that deposits inside the neurons, although it is unclear how they damage the brain and cause dementia, there is a theory that Lewy bodies interfere with the effects of two of the messenger chemicals in the brain – dopamine and acetylcholine. Dopamine and acetycholine are thought to play an important role in regulating brain functions, such as memory, learning, mood and attention.

Lewy bodies is closely related to Parkinson’s disease as this condition deteriorates the physical symptoms like the Parkinson’s disease such as involuntary shaking, muscle stiffness and slowness of movement take place. Fronto-temporal dementia is caused by damage and shrinking in two areas of the brain. The temporal lobe and the frontal lobe of the brain are both affected and is only common in people under the age of 65 years old. It is said that it is an inherited genetic mutation (an altered gene) from their parent that cause this type of dementia. Although sometimes motor neurone disease is also associated with fronto-temporal dementia, however it is a rare condition that progressively damages the nervous system and causing muscles to waste away.

Dementia isn’t a single disease. Dementia is a term used to describe the symptoms that occur when there’s a decline in brain function.

Several different diseases can cause dementia. Many of these diseases are associated with an abnormal build-up of proteins in the brain. A Range of Causes of Dementia Syndrome Essay.

This build-up causes nerve cells to function less well and ultimately die. As the nerve cells die, different areas of the brain shrink.

Causes of Alzheimer’s disease

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia.

In the brain of someone with Alzheimer’s disease, there are two different proteins called amyloid and tau.

Deposits of amyloid, called plaques, build up around brain cells. Deposits of tau form “tangles” within brain cells.

Researchers don’t yet fully understand how amyloid and tau are involved in the loss of brain cells, but this is an area of active research.

As brain cells become affected in Alzheimer’s, there’s also a decrease in chemical messengers (called neurotransmitters) involved in sending messages, or signals, between brain cells.

Levels of one neurotransmitter, acetylcholine, are particularly low in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease.

Medicines like donepezil increase levels of acetylcholine, and improve brain function and symptoms. A Range of Causes of Dementia Syndrome Essay.

These treatments aren’t a cure for Alzheimer’s disease, but they do help improve symptoms.

Read more about treatments for dementia.

The symptoms that people develop depend on the areas of the brain that have been damaged by the disease.

The hippocampus is often affected early on in Alzheimer’s disease. This area of the brain is responsible for laying down new memories. That’s why memory problems are one of the earliest symptoms in Alzheimer’s.

Unusual forms of Alzheimer’s disease can start with problems with vision or with language. A Range of Causes of Dementia Syndrome Essay.

Read more about Alzheimer’s disease.

Causes of vascular dementia

Vascular dementia is caused by reduced blood flow to the brain.

Nerve cells in the brain need oxygen and nutrients from blood to survive. When the blood supply to the brain is reduced, the nerve cells function less well and eventually die.

Reduced blood flow can be caused by:

  • narrowing of the small blood vessels deep inside the brain – known as small vessel disease (subcortical vascular dementia); this is the main cause of vascular dementia and is more common in people who smoke, or have high blood pressure or diabetes
  • a stroke (where the blood supply to part of the brain is suddenly cut off, usually as a result of a blood clot) – called post-stroke dementia
  • lots of “mini strokes” that cause widespread damage to the brain – known as multi-infarct dementia. A Range of Causes of Dementia Syndrome Essay.

Not everyone who’s had a stroke will go on to develop vascular dementia.

Read more about vascular dementia.

Mixed dementia

Because both vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are common – especially in older people – they may be present together.

This is often called mixed dementia because a mix of these two conditions is thought to be the cause of the dementia.

It can be difficult to be sure how much each cause is contributing to a person’s problems.

Causes of dementia with Lewy bodies

Lewy bodies are tiny clumps of a protein called alpha-synuclein that can develop inside brain cells. A Range of Causes of Dementia Syndrome Essay.

These clumps damage the way the cells work and communicate with each other, and the cells eventually die.

Dementia with Lewy bodies is closely related to Parkinson’s diseaseand often has some of the same symptoms, including difficulty with movement and a higher risk of falls.

Read more about dementia with Lewy bodies.

Causes of frontotemporal dementia

This is an important cause of dementia in younger people. It’s most often diagnosed between the ages of 45 and 65. A Range of Causes of Dementia Syndrome Essay.


It’s caused by an abnormal clumping of proteins, including tau, in the frontal and temporal lobes at the front and sides of the brain.

The clumping of these proteins damages nerve cells in the frontal and temporal lobes, causing brain cells to die. This leads to shrinking of these areas of the brain.

Frontotemporal dementia is more likely to run in families and have a genetic link than other, more common causes of dementia.

Read more about frontotemporal dementia.

Rarer causes of dementia

There are many rarer diseases and conditions that can lead to dementia, or dementia-like symptoms.

These conditions account for only 5% of dementia cases in the UK.

They include:

  • Huntington’s disease
  • corticobasal degeneration
  • progressive supranuclear palsy
  • normal pressure hydrocephalus

A Range of Causes of Dementia Syndrome Essay