J Korean Geriatr Psychiatry.  1999 Jun;3(1):3-13.

Etiological Illnesses of Dementia

  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Samsung Medical Center, College of Medicine, Sungkyunkwan University, Seoul, Korea.


Dementia is the clinical syndrome characterized by acquired losses of cognitive abilities severe enough to interfere with daily functioning and the quality of life. More than 50 illnesses, some nonprogressive, can cause dementia. The etiologies of dementia may be grouped as follows:neurodegenerative illnesses, vascular causes, space occupying lesions, traumatic causes, toxic causes, infectious diseases, and metabolic imbalances. Because all types of dementia are treatable, at least with psychosocial interventions, accurate diagnosis is essential to determine the appropriate treatment and to provide information about prognosis, possible genetic risks, and health care planning to the patient and family. This article will review several etiological illnesses of dementia which may be faced frequently by general psychiatrists.


Dementia; Etiology; Diagnosis
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