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decorative star graphic  Late Adulthood:
Cognitive Development
- Dementia -

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Ψ  Dementia: irreversible loss of intellectual functioning caused by organic brain damage or disease. Dementia is chronic unlike delirium, which refers to acute, severe memory loss & confusion that disappears in a short time.

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      Dementia: Traditional diagnostic divisions:
           •  Presenile dementia: dementia before age 60.
           •  Senile dementia: dementia after age 60.

Alzheimer’s Disease:

  • Most common form of dementia
  • Characterized by abnormalities in the brain that destroys normal brain function.
  • Causes: Environmental, Genetic, Pathological

    Stages of Development

  • 1st: Absentmindedness of recent events.
  • 2nd: Confusion becomes more pronounced.
  • 3rd: Memory loss becomes truly dangerous
  • 4th: Patient can no longer function without assistance.
  • 5th: Patient is mute and non-communicative
  • Final: Death normally occurs 10-15 years after stage one.
  • Multi-Infarct Dementia: MID

    • Dementia characterized by sporadic & progressive loss of intellectual function
    • Caused by repeated infarcts (strokes), temporary obstructions of the blood vessels that prevent sufficient blood from reaching the brain.
    • Produces blurred visions, shaky limbs, slurred speech and mental confusion.
    • Often the infarct is so slight that people are unaware what has happened.


    • Arteriosclerosis ( hardening of the arteries ).
    • Poor circulation.
    • Diabetes.

    • Exercise and a good diet lessen the possibilities of occurrence and also promote a quicker recovery.
    • Multiple infarcts can produce an Alzheimer’s like condition.

    Subcortical Dementia:

    Ψ  Causes a progressive loss of motor control but initially leaves the mental processes intact.
     Examples: Parkinson’s Disease, Huntington’s Disease, & Multiple Sclerosis.
     Click here to go to more information on Huntington's Disease.  More information on Huntington's Disease. User Friendly
    Ψ  This is a dementia that is related to a physical illness. Initially the patient has full command of their faculties.

    Reversible Dementia:

    Causes: Outside causal situation, patient initially does not have a physical or mental cause that would manifest as a dementia.
       •  Side effects of a medication.
        •  Alcohol abuse.
         •  Mental illness.
          •  Depression.
           •  Head trauma.


    • Most dementia patients go untreated because dementia is wrongfully considered a natural part of aging.
    • Dementia patients are often undiagnosed or misdiagnosed resulting in either no medical attention or the wrong type of medical attention.

    Growth & Development
    Robert C. Gates
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