Useful information about cognitive disorders

Useful information about the conditions we treat.

Alzheimer’s disease

This is the most common dementia with around 500,000 sufferers in the UK. The disease accounts for 50 to 70% of all dementia, and one in three over the age of 85 are thought to have the disease. Alzheimer's disease usually affects those in old age; however the disease can affect those under 65 (early-onset Alzheimer's). 

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Behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia

This is a dementia caused by damage to the frontal or temporal lobes of the brain. The disease usually presents with behavioural disturbances (for example stubbornness, apathy and reduced inhibition) and predominantly preserved memory. It usually affects patients aged 45 to 65, with men and women equally likely to be affected.

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Corticobasal degeneration

This is a progressive degenerative disease which is characterised by movement difficulties of rigidity, slowing of movement (bradykinesia) and difficulty in making a limb follow commands (apraxia). Often these movement symptoms are accompanied by cognitive difficulties, with both movement and cognitive symptoms commonly presenting together after around two years. It usually affects patients aged 45 to 70.

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Huntington’s disease

This is a rare hereditary degenerative disorder of the brain which affects the movement and the cognition of sufferers. Symptoms often present as a combination of motor (movement), behavioural (mood) and cognitive (thinking) disturbances. It affects up to 1 in 10,000 people in Europe, with men and women equally likely to inherit the disease.

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Lewy body dementia (or dementia with Lewy bodies) 

This is a dementia caused by abnormal clumps of proteins in the brain called Lewy bodies. These clumps are also found in Parkinson’s disease. Patients with the disease show varying symptoms, however a decline in cognition in conjunction with movement difficulties similar to those found in Parkinson’s disease is common. 

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Mild cognitive impairment

This is a problem where memory is affected, however not at a level which affects daily functioning (unlike Alzheimer’s disease). These memory problems are mild with subtle changes in day to day memory, language, attention or visual spatial skills. The mild cognitive impairment can stay stable for many years; however it often progresses to Alzheimer’s disease.

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Primary progressive aphasia 

This is a type of frontotemporal dementia where overall language function is affected without an obvious disease cause. As the disease progresses a steady cognitive decline occurs, with language dysfunction being the most quickly deteriorating feature of the disease. Memory is usually predominantly preserved throughout the disease, which distinguishes it from Alzheimer’s disease and other frontotemporal dementias such as behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia. The most common forms of primary progressive aphasia are progressive non-fluent aphasia and semantic dementia.

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Progressive supranuclear palsy 

This is a neurodegenerative disease associated with profound slowing of movement, affecting walking and the eyes, as well as cognitive difficulties. The disease primarily affects those in middle age and is rare.

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Vascular dementia 

This is a form of dementia caused by damaged blood vessels in the brain which reduce the amount of blood supplied to the brain. A range of symptoms can be experienced by those with vascular dementia and these can often be similar to those of Alzheimer’s disease. The disease progresses slowly with gradual deterioration of memory and other cognitive functions.

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