Dementia DDx


Dementia is a syndrome of acquired intellectual impairment characterized by persistent deficits in at least three of the following areas of mental activity:

  • memory
  • language
  • visuospatial skills
  • personality/emotional state
  • cognition (abstraction, mathematics, and judgment)


Primary dementia syndromes

  • Alzheimer disease
  • Vascular dementia
  • Dementia with Lewy body disease
  • Frontotemporal dementia

Other neurodegenerative disorders

  • Parkinsonian syndrome with dementia (see Parkinsonism)
  • Idiopathic Parkinson disease
  • Progressive supranuclear palsy
  • Corticobasal ganglionic degeneration
  • Huntington disease (see Chorea in Movement Disorders)


  • HIV dementia: increasingly common as HIV-infected patients live longer
  • Neurosyphilis
  • Prion disease: Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease
  • Chronic meningitis (see Infection/Inflammatory chapter)

Paraneoplastic disorders

Toxic and metabolic causes

  • Vitamin B12 deficiency
  • Thyroid disorders
  • Chronic hypoxemia
  • Toxin exposure including manganese, lead, and mercury


  • Traumatic dementia
  • Normal pressure hydrocephalus
  • Demyelinating disease with dementia, e.g. multiple sclerosis

CCC 700 6

Critical Care


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