Dementia is an overall term for a set of symptoms that are caused by disorders affecting the brain. Symptoms may include memory loss and difficulties with thinking, problem-solving or language, severe enough to reduce a person's ability to perform everyday activities. A person with dementia may also experience changes in mood or behavior. This is important in determining the symptoms of dementia, depending on which parts of the brain are most directly involved. The most common types of dementia - Alzheimer's disease, vascular dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies and frontotemporal lobar degeneration - affect the brain in different ways and cause different changes at the microscopic level. Dementia is affected by genetics, and recent advances in molecular techniques have improved our understanding of some of the mechanisms involved, which in turns suggests possibilities for new treatments in the future.
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