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Year : 2009  |  Volume : 51  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 52-55

Reversible dementias

Department of Neurology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Manjari Tripathi
Department of Neurology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

PMID: 21416018

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In recent years, more attention has been given to the early diagnostic evaluation of patients with dementia which is essential to identify patients with cognitive symptoms who may have treatable conditions. Guidelines suggest that all patients presenting with dementia or cognitive symptoms should be evaluated with a range of laboratory tests, and with structural brain imaging with computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). While many of the disorders reported as 'reversible dementias' are conditions that may well be associated with cognitive or behavioral symptoms, these symptoms are not always sufficiently severe to fulfill the clinical criteria for dementia. Thus, while the etiology of a condition may be treatable it should not be assumed that the associated dementia is fully reversible. Potentially reversible dementias should be identified and treatment considered, even if the symptoms are not sufficiently severe to meet the clinical criteria for dementia, and even if partial or full reversal of the cognitive symptoms cannot be guaranteed. In the literature, the most frequently observed potentially reversible conditions identified in patients with cognitive impairment or dementia are depression, adverse effects of drugs, drug or alcohol abuse, space-occupying lesions, normal pressure hydrocephalus, and metabolic conditions land endocrinal conditions like hypothyroidism and nutritional conditions like vitamin B-12 deficiency. Depression is by far the most common of the potentially reversible conditions. The review, hence addresses the common causes of reversible dementia and the studies published so far.



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