What causes dementia?

Dementia is usually caused by degeneration in cortical and subcortical brain areas (the cerebral cortex and structures below it), which are responsible for thoughts, memories, actions, and personality. Death or impairment of brain cells leads to the cognitive impairments that characterise dementia.

Most disorders associated with dementia are progressive, degenerative and irreversible. Some causes are treatable, including head injury, brain tumours, infections (e.g. meningitis), hormone and metabolic disorders, hypoxia, drug abuse and alcoholism.

How is dementia treated?

There are a number of ways a person with dementia can be treated to assist with managing the condition and improve their quality of life. In some cases, the progress of dementia may be slowed, but there are no current cures. Treatments include:

  • General care and support
  • Psychological therapies
  • Cognitive stimulation
  • Behavioural therapy
  • Medication (to reduce symptoms)

Is there a cure for dementia?

Currently there is no prevention or cure for dementia. However, some medications can reduce some of the symptoms.