Site updated at Wednesday, 02 September 2015

Living with Dementia

A Guide to the Diagnosis and Assessment of Alzheimer’s Disease

  • - Dementia News
  • Aug 21, 2011
  • Comments
  • Viewed: 5117
Tags: | agnosia | alzheimer's disease | american psychiatric association | aphasia |


The characteristic clinical feature of dementia is the presence of cognitive decline sufficient to cause functional impairment. Criteria for dementia are defined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition (DSM IV). When dementia has been confirmed, the differential diagnosis can begin. The onset of progressive dementia is usually insidious. The first signs are forgetfulness, personality change, changes in the capacity to carry out the ordinary tasks of daily living, and repetitive behavior.

In addition, delusions and paranoid or antisocial behavior may be experienced in more advanced dementia. The exact clinical symptoms vary between patients and the duration of the illness may be long or short, taking from months (e.g. Creutzfeld-Jakob disease) to years (average 9 years in AD). Dementia has diverse etiologies. One challenge is to make a correct differential diagnosis.

Differentiating Alzheimer’s disease from other forms of dementia


  * Differentiate dementia from normal aging, depression and delirium and effects of drugs
  * Explore the causes of dementia
  * Describe the etiology, neuropathology and clinical symptoms of AD
  * Briefly review the clinical symptoms of other common dementing disorders

Multiple cognitive deficits, including memory loss and at least one of the following:

      * Problems with language (aphasia)
      * Inability to performpurposeful actions (apraxia)
      * Poor recognition (agnosia)
      * Impaired executive functioning

Cognitive deficit:

      * Interfering with occupational and/or social functioning
      * Representing a decline from a higher level

Table 1. Adapted from DSM IV criteria for dementia, 1994. Reprinted with permission from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Fourth Edition. Copyright 1994; American Psychiatric Association


Developed from scientific presentations at a special IPA meeting.
Sponsored by an educational grant from Pfizer Inc and Eisai Ltd.

International Psychogeriatric Association

Post a comment [ + Comment here + ]

There are no comments for this entry yet. [ + Comment here + ]

Your details

* Required field

Please enter the word you see in the image below:

Comments are moderated by our editors, so there may be a delay between submission and publication of your comment. Offensive or abusive comments will not be published.

Going Home (A short film on Dementia)

anti-hypertension medication1 - psychiatrist's bible1 - myelination1 - cognitive changes1 - ireland's national dementia strategy1 - early detection of dementia1 - progressive neurodegenerative disorder1 - diet1 - type 1 diabetes1 - pre-senile dementia1 - alzheimer's process1 - amyloid beta peptide1 - degeneration theory1 - transient ischemic attack1 - brain functions in patients1 - lou gehrig's disease1 - dementia progression1 - dysarthria1 - rigidity1 - delirium8 - exercise2 - neuroscience2 - apoe2 - hspb11 - voxel-based morphometry1 - igfbp-31 - examination of handwriting1 - social engagement1 - psychiatric status rating scales1 - vesanic dementia2 -