Causes of Dementia - dummies

By Simon Atkins

Part of Dementia For Dummies Cheat Sheet (UK Edition)

Four main diseases cause dementia: Alzheimer’s disease, named after the person who discovered it; vascular dementia, called after the part of the brain that’s damaged (the blood vessels); fronto-temporal dementia, named after the areas of the brain affected; and Lewy body disease, called after the protein deposits seen in the brains of sufferers when looked at under the microscope.

Despite the different causes, the symptoms are largely the same, although each disease has its own special features that differentiate it from the other three.

Percentage of Total Cases of Dementia Special Features
Alzheimer’s disease 62 Abnormal protein structures called plaques and tangles are
found in the brain cells.
Vascular dementia 17 Caused by damage to the blood vessels bringing oxygen to brain
cells. Twenty-five percent of people who have strokes are likely to
develop vascular dementia.
Fronto-temporal dementia 2 Affects two parts of the brain called the frontal lobe and the
temporal lobe. Very likely to cause changes in a person’s
personality.
Lewy body disease 4 Lewy bodies, named after the person who first described seeing
them, are spherical protein deposits in brain cells. This condition
shares a number of features of Parkinson’s disease, and
sufferers often have poor mobility and experience visual
hallucinations.