What is dementia?

Updated: Dec 23, 2019
  • Author: Thomas J Montine, MD, PhD; Chief Editor: Adekunle M Adesina, MD, PhD  more...
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Multiple neuropathologic processes may underlie dementia, including both neurodegenerative diseases and vascular disease. [1] Under the current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), dementia is considered a major neurocognitive disorder, in which a deficit in cognitive functioning is acquired rather than developmental. [2]  All dementia share common molecular mechanisms responsible for disease etiology and progression, such as hypoxia and oxidative stress, neuroinflammation, mitochondrial bioenergetics, neurodegeneration, and blood–brain barrier permeability. [1]

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