Alzheimer's Disease

Alzheimer's Disease Symptoms

In the Alzheimer's Series:

Alzheimer's disease is characterized by the development of multiple cognitive deficits manifested by:

  • Memory impairment (impaired ability to learn new information or to recall previously learned information)
  • And one (or more) of the following cognitive disturbances:
    • Deterioration of language may be manifested by difficulty producing the names of individuals and objects (aphasia)
    • An impaired ability to carry out motor activities (such as combing their hair) despite intact motor abilities, sensory function and comprehension of the required task (apraxia)
    • A failure to recognize or identify objects despite intact sensory function (agnosia)
    • A disturbance in executive functioning (e.g., planning, organizing, sequencing, abstracting)

The cognitive deficits above each cause significant impairment in social or occupational functioning and represent a significant decline from a previous level of functioning. The course is characterized by gradual onset and continuing cognitive decline. The deficits do not occur exclusively during the course of a delirium.

The cognitive deficits above are not due to any of the following:

  • Other central nervous system conditions that cause progressive deficits in memory and cognition (e.g., cerebrovascular disease, Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease, subdural hematoma, normal-pressure hydrocephalus, brain tumor)
  • Systemic conditions that are known to cause dementia (e.g., hypothyroidism, vitamin B-12 or folic acid deficiency, niacin deficiency, hypercalcemia, neurosyphilis, HIV infection)
  • substance-induced conditions
» Next in Series: Causes of Alzheimer's disease




Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 17 May 2016
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