Dementia - Glossary

Dementia Pages - Glossary

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A neurotransmitter (chemical messenger) used by cholinergic nerve cells to pass messages to adjacent cells. Cholinergic nerves in the brain are particularly affected in Alzheimer's Disease. [Quick find]
See "cholinesterase". [Quick find]
The cognitive subscale of the Alzheimer's Disease Assessment Scale. A rating scale designed to grade the major characteristics of people with Alzheimer's disease, particularly with respect to memory, language and praxis. [Ref: American Journal of Psychiatry (1984) 141(11):1356-1364] [Quick find]
Total or partial loss of the ability to recognize familiar persons or objects. [Quick find]
Alzheimer's disease (AD)
The commonest cause of dementia in the Western World (55-70% of all cases). [See Diagnosis] [Quick find]
Type of drug whose action is to increase the amount (and the efficiency) of acetylcholine by inhibiting the enzyme acetylcholinesterase. [Quick find]
Inability to communicate in speech, writing or signs (expressive aphasia) or to comprehend spoken or written language (receptive aphasia). [Quick find]
Mysterious, obscure, or secret. [Quick find]
Care-givers' dementia (CD)
An illness affecting CGs, brought on by stress, and characterized by episodes of confusion, memory impairment (temporary), despondency, and fear of catching whatever LO has. NOT a true dementia, more like a stress-induced anxiety neurosis. [Quick find]
Care-givers' dementia. [Quick find]
Enzyme whose role is to break down released acetylcholine in the synaptic gap between nerve cells. [Quick find]
Pain in the legs, usually the calves, brought on by exercise, relieved by rest, and due to insufficient blood supply. Sign of peripheral vascular disease. [Quick find]
Mental processes characterized by knowing, thinking, learning and judging. [Quick find]
Cerebro-vascular accident. [Quick find]
A progressive illness involving loss of memory, loss of intellectual functions like reasoning and planning, and eventual loss of physical functions and personality. [See Diagnosis] [Quick find]
Dementia praecox
An old term for schizophrenia, no longer used. [Quick find]
Dementia pugilistica
A syndrome of confusion in a setting of impaired physical function resembling Parkinson's disease. Usually caused by repeated blows to the head, and often seen in boxers. [Quick find]
Impairment in speaking clearly (pronouncing words). Dysarthric speech tends to be slurred. [different from dysphasia] [Quick find]
Impairment in communication. Expressive dysphasia = difficulty in saying what the patient wants to say (cf. dysarthria). Receptive dysphasia = difficulty in understanding and processing what the patient hears or reads. [Quick find]
Impairment in sounding the voice. Dysphonic patients can do little more than whisper. [Quick find]
Verb whose etymology is discussed in brief somewhere on this site (but not on this particular page) and with a link to more complete information. Hence: Embiggenator (see Home Page). [Quick find]
Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA or EPOA)
Document executed by a person (the donor) who is legally competent, which gives another person (the donee) the authority to act for the donor in specified ways, and which does not become invalid if the donor subsequently loses legal capacity. [Quick find]
Enduring Power Of Attorney. [Quick find]
Part of the brain and connections involved in posture and movement. Extrapyramidal side-effects (EPS) are common to several medications, esp. anti-psychotic drugs, and can produce rigidity, tremors, unco-ordinated movements, and/or stooped posture. [Quick find]
Short for Family Member (with dementia). (See "LO") [Quick find]
Frontal Lobe Dementia (FLD)
A form of dementia with pronounced personality and behavioural changes, more pronounced than is seen usually in Alzheimer's disease. May have a number of causes. [See Diagnosis] [Quick find]
In my not so humble opinion (cf. IMHO - In my humble opinion). [Quick find]
Inability to maintain control over bladder or bowel function. Double incontinence = impaired bladder AND bowel control. [Quick find]
Lewy Body Dementia (LBD)
A form of dementia with prominent hallucinations, behavioural changes, and marked fluctuations in clinical state. Often has Parkinsonian features. [See Diagnosis] [Quick find]
Short for Loved One (with dementia). Generally accepted in emails and on chat lines as an abbreviated form denoting, and used throughout this web-site to denote, a/the person with dementia. Some folk have complained about the use of "LO" because not every LO actually is "loved" (due to family conflict, or the nature of the disease). Some prefer the term "FM" or family member, but not every LO is a family member either. Some have suggested "PWD" or Person With Dementia, but that is an acronym with which I am not in favour. (See "PWD") [Quick find]
Mild Cognitive Impairment. Forgetfulness without dementia being present. Work is continuing to try to establish whether MCI is a very early form of Alzheimer's disease, or whether it is a new name for "benign senescent forgetfulness" which does not normally progress to AD. [Quick find]
The Mini-Mental State Examination. A test of cognitive function involving orientation, registration, attention and calculation, recall, language and praxis. Widely used as a research tool. Has been extensively validated, translated, and modified. [Original Ref: Folstein MF et al. Journal of Psychiatric Research (1975) 12:189-198] [Quick find]
Parkinson's Disease
A well described disease involving tremor, muscle rigidity, and impaired movement. A minority of Parkinsonian patients go on to develop dementia. [See Diagnosis] [Quick find]
Pick's Disease
One of the causes of frontal lobe dementia. Usually characterized by swollen brain cells and neuronal inclusions (=Pick bodies). [See Diagnosis] [Quick find]
Public Works Department. Responsible for maintenance of the drains. (See "LO") [Quick find]
Reversible Ischaemic Neurological Deficit (RIND)
A stroke (CVA) from which the patient recovers completely, taking longer than 24 hours to do so, therefore not a TIA. A RIND that leaves some measurable deficit is really a CVA. [Quick find]
Reversible Ischaemic Neurological Deficit. [Quick find]
Junction between the process (dendrite) of one nerve cell and the next cell. [Quick find]
Synaptic gap (= synaptic cleft)
Gap between nerve cells into which the neurotransmitter substance is secreted, and across which the substance must pass in order to stimulate the adjacent nerve on the other side. [Quick find]
A set of symptoms and/or signs occurring together. [Quick find]
Tardive dyskinesia
Movement disorder, characterized by involuntary spasms usually of muscles involving the mouth and face. May be seen as a side-effect of specific medications, and often settles with withdrawal of the drug, but not always. [Quick find]
Transient Ischaemic Attack. [Quick find]
Transient Ischaemic Attack
Sudden onset of brain dysfunction (eg. paralysis, slurred speech, loss of consciousness, visual disturbance) which recovers completely within 24 hours. Usually an indication of underlying vascular disease. [See "RIND", "CVA"] [Quick find]
Vascular dementia
Dementia caused by impaired circulation in the brain, and usually associated with evidence of poor circulation or vascular disease elsewhere in the body. [See Diagnosis] [Quick find]
[Quick find]

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