While it can occur in younger individuals, dementia is mainly an affliction of the aged. Dementia is a syndrome characterized by acquired and significant impairment in multiple cognitive domains and is frequently accompanied by various forms of psychopathology. The syndrome of dementia can be produced by a variety of neurological, psychiatric, and medical illnesses as well as substances. Most cases of dementia are caused by idiopathic neurodegenerative changes that will require additional basic neurobiological research to understand their etiologies in detail and permit the development of more effective therapies. A thorough neuropsychiatry and medical evaluation can suggest the etiology of a patient's dementia. When the etiology, neu-roanatomical, and neurochemical characteristics of a dementia are known, knowledge of these characteristics makes rational neuroprotective and symptomatic pharmacological treatment possible. Good dementia management requires monitoring and support of the patient's family members and other caregivers in addition to neuropsychi-atric/medical management.

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