What are cognitive disorders?

Cognitive symptoms include difficulties with memory, concentration, language, attention, behaviour and judgment. When these symptoms are worsening over time, and causing problems with functioning at work and home, they are often called “dementia”.

Dementia poses a major public health threat and has been identified by the United Kingdom government as an urgent research priority. There is a pressing need to improve understanding of the causes of dementia and mechanisms responsible for progression of disease to help establish more accurate diagnostic tests and effective treatments.

Most cases of dementia are caused by damage to the structure of the brain by neurodegenerative diseases. These include Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias such as frontotemporal dementia, dementia with Lewy Bodies, vascular dementia, Parkinson’s disease dementia and some other rarer dementias. Some of these can run in families due to a genetic mutation. There is an urgent need for earlier and more accurate diagnosis, improved care for patients and research into more effective treatments.


Useful links

The Scottish Dementia Clinical Research Network (SDCRN) seeks to increase the number of people who have the opportunity to participate in research. This can be done by joining their register, or being part of their patient and public involvement group, to help shape the future of dementia research in Scotland.

The Dementia Centre (http://www.dementiacentre.com)

Dementia Web (http://www.dementiaweb.org.uk)

Alzheimer Scotland (http://www.alzscot.org/)

Alzheimer's Society (http://www.alzheimers.org.uk)

The Lewy Body Society (http://www.lewybody.org)

NHS Choices, dementia (http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Dementia/)