Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Mesulam Center for Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease

Memory, Dementia & Alzheimer's Disease

The term "dementia" is used to describe the gradual deterioration of "intellectual" abilities and behavior that eventually interferes with customary daily living activities. "Customary daily living activities" include balancing the checkbook, keeping house, driving the car, involvement in social activities, and working at one's usual occupation. There may also be changes in personality and emotions. Contrary to popular belief, dementia is not a normal outcome of aging, but is caused by diseases that affect the brain. Dementia influences all aspects of mind and behavior, including memory, judgment, language, concentration, visual perception, temperament, and social interactions. Although dementia symptoms are eventually obvious to everyone, in the early stages special evaluations are necessary to demonstrate the abnormalities.

Dementia is not a single disease, but a set of symptoms and signs related to multiple diseases or brain injuries. Learn more about the different diseases and conditions associated with dementia, as well as symptoms, treatments, support, and resources via the links below.

For more information on the conditions addressed by our center, please use the links below.

Patient Care

Find patient resources at Northwestern Medicine related to cognitive neurology via our Patient Care page.