11B. Potentially reversible dementias

Definition

Dementia (major neurocognitive disorder) is an organic disorder of the brain where the patient experiences a significant decline in cognitive abilities, and these cognitive deficits interfere with the patient’s ability to perform simple everyday activities.

In patients with dementia, it’s important to look for potentially reversible causes of dementia. These causes can be treated.

Potentially reversible dementias

  • Depression (often called pseudodementia)
  • Normal-pressure hydrocephalus
  • Metabolic disorders
    • Liver failure
    • Kidney failure
  • Post-trauma (contusion, subdural haematoma)
  • Endocrine disorders
    • Hypothyroidism
    • Hypercalcaemia
    • Hypoglycaemia
  • Vitamin deficiencies
  • CNS infections and inflammation
    • HSV encephalitis
    • Autoimmune encephalitis
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Drugs and medications

Evaluation

To exclude potentially reversible dementias, there are certain screening tests which should be performed in people with dementia:

  • CBC
  • Electrolytes
  • TSH level
  • B12 and folic acid
  • Creatinine for kidney failure
  • Liver function tests
  • Screen for depression and anxiety
  • Neuroimaging with native MRI or CT

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11A. Types of epilepsy (and epileptic seizures)

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12A. Encephalitis

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