Dementia is a syndrome due to disease of the brain, usually of a chronic or progressive nature, in which there is disturbance of multiple higher cortical functions, including memory, thinking, orientation, comprehension, calculation, learning capacity, language, and judgement. Consciousness is not clouded. The impairments of cognitive function are commonly accompanied, and occasionally preceded, by deterioration in emotional control, social behaviour, or motivation. This syndrome occurs in Alzheimer’s disease, in cerebrovascular disease, and in other conditions primarily or secondarily affecting the brain (World Health Organization’s International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10, version 2007)). It is estimated that there are currently 35.6 million people with dementia around the world and that this number will nearly double every 20 years, to 65.7 million in 2030 and 115.4 million in 2050. Dementia mainly affects the elderly; after 65 years of age the prevalence doubles with every five-year increase in age. The most common types of dementia are Alzheimer’s disease (AD; 50-70%), vascular dementia (VaD; 20-30%), frontotemporal dementia (5- 10%) and dementia with Lewy bodies (<5%)1. The borders between the different types are not at all strict, most of the times a mix of various types is observed. This is particularly true for AD and VaD, and AD and dementia with Lewy bodies. In a large autopsy study of 1050 elderly demented individuals, 86% had AD related pathology. From this percentage only 43% had pure AD, 23% had mixed AD and VaD and 11% had AD with Lewy bodies.

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P.A.E. Sillevis Smitt (Peter)
Erasmus University Rotterdam
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

IJsselstijn, L. (2013, November 6). Serum Proteomics in Dementia : Discovery and Validation of Biomarkers. Erasmus University Rotterdam. Retrieved from