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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What is the difference between Alzheimer’s and dementia?

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    Dr Nicholas Bradfield

    Clinical Neuropsychologist, Psychologist

    Dr Bradfield is a Clinical Neuropsychologist working in private practice and in the public health system in Melbourne, Australia. He has clinical experience conducting neuropsychological … View Profile

    Dementia is a gradually progressive impairment of two or more areas of thinking (eg memory, attention, language, spatial abilities etc) that is severe enough to affect a persons everyday living skills such as shopping, managing finances, cleaning, maintaining a job etc. Dementia can have many causes. Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of dementia. Alzheimer's disease is thought to be the result of proteins accumulating abnormally in the brain and thus killing brain cells, which in turn causes cognitive problems and eventually dementia.  There are many other causes of dementia such as cerebrovascular disease (eg stroke), Lewy body dementia, Parkinson's disease, frontotemporal dementia and many more.  Therefore if someone has Alzheimer's they will have dementia, but if someone has dementia they may not necessarily have Alzheimer's disease. 

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