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Dementia Education Online

What is Dementia?


ii. Types of Dementia and Associated Pathophysiology


The aim of this content focus area is to provide an overview of the different types of dementia and their associated pathophysiological features


By the end of this content focus area you will have an awareness about the different types of dementia and the associated pathophysiological features of these different types of dementia

Types of Dementia and Associated Pathophysiology

Many types of dementia have been classified and described [1].

Alzheimer's disease is the most common type of dementia, and accounts for more than 50 percent of dementia cases. The next most common form is vascular dementia, which causes around 20 percent of cases. Other types of dementia include frontal lobe dementia, Pick's disease, Lewy Body disease and alcohol-related dementia. People may also develop dementia in relation to other conditions including Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease, Down syndrome and HIV/AIDS.

Below are descriptions of the most common types of dementia [1]:

  • Alzheimer's disease is a physical disease which attacks the brain resulting in impaired memory, thinking and behaviour.

  • Vascular dementia is the broad term for dementia associated with problems of circulation of blood to the brain.

  • Fronto Temporal Lobar Degeneration is the name given to dementia when there is degeneration in one or both of the frontal or temporal lobes of the brain.

  • Dementia with Lewy bodies is caused by the degeneration and death of nerve cells in the brain.

  • Alcohol related dementia is, as the name suggests, a form of dementia related to the excessive drinking of alcohol. This affects memory, learning and other mental functions.

Resources and References

[1] AA (2007a) - [Click Here]

Activity 1: Differentiating Types of Dementia

Complete the following table by recording 2-4 distinguishing clinical features for each of the listed types of dementia. Consider genetic factors, age, underlying pathophysiology and clinical symptoms

Type of Dementia

Distinguishing Clinical Features of this Type of Dementia

Alzheimer's Disease
Vascular Dementia
Fronto Temporal Lobar Degeneration
Dementia with Lewy Bodies

Resources: [1] relevant fact sheet

Activity 2: Dementia Quiz Question

Please now access the references listed above and the answer the following questions:

Question 1 : Which one of the following is the most commonly occurring type of dementia? (please select one)

Vascular dementia
Acquired brain injury
Alzheimer's disease
Dementia with Lewy Bodies

Correct answer: Alzheimer's disease

Resource: [1] page 1

Hide Answer

Question 2 : A 75 year old man presents with the gradual onset of fluctuating cognitive impairment, together with un-explained falls, visual hallucinations and Parkinson-like tremors. Which of the following the most likely cause of this behaviour? (please select one)

Alzheimer's disease
Vascular dementia
Dementia with Lewy Bodies
Parkinson's Disease

Correct answer: Dementia with Lewy Bodies

Resource: [1] Dementia Lewy Bodies fact sheet

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