Other Dementia Causes

Several other conditions can cause or mimic the symptoms of dementia, and a small percentage of dementias are reversible. Two common examples are dementia caused by vitamin B12 deficiency or thyroid dysfunction. Dementia could be a symptom of pernicious anaemia.


In older people, the first symptoms of pernicious anaemia are often confusion, slowness, irritability, and apathy. An overproduction of thyroid hormones (hyperthyroidism), as well as an underproduction (hypothyroidism), can cause dementia-like symptoms.

The Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome is an irreversible state of confusion and amnesia in alcoholics, resulting from thiamine deficiency due to long-term malnutrition. But consuming excessive amounts of alcohol for a decade or more can also cause impaired thinking that resembles Alzheimer’s disease (AD).

In dementia due to alcoholism, memory, orientation, and attention deteriorate, although verbal skills are not always severely affected. In this type of dementia, abstinence may partly restore mental functioning. Normo-pressure hydrocephalus (“water on the brain”) is an excess of cerebrospinal fluid around the brain, which can also cause dementia.

This condition can result from head trauma, brain haemorrhage, or meningitis (inflammation of the membrane covering the brain), but most cases occur spontaneously without an obvious preceding illness.

In addition to developing dementia, people with this condition lose bladder control and walk in a slow, hesitant manner, as if their feet are stuck to the floor. Brain tumours can interfere with cognitive functioning and cause personality changes.

Depending on their location, they can trigger other symptoms, such as headaches, seizures, or vomiting. Hematomas are blood clots caused by bruising. When they are located in the subdural area, between the brain surface and the thin membrane that covers it, they can cause symptoms that mimic AD.

Initial Assessment & Diagnostic Testing

1. Consultation

Initial consultation with a specialist physician.

2. Assessment

Appointment with a neuropsychologist in the Neuropsychiatric Laboratory for computerized, detailed assessments of cognitive deficits and other neuropsychiatric issues associated with dementia.

3. Testing

Blood tests and imaging scans, outsourced to the highest quality and convenient centres in London.

4. Follow-up

When all results are available, a 2nd consultation with the doctor, where clinical diagnosis & follow-up strategy are discussed and explained.

Supporting Recovery for Someone with Wernicke-Korsakoff

There are a number of factors that can give people the best chance of recovery. In this blog post, we look at each of these in turn and give you some ideas for things you can do to support your loved one.

Caring for Someone with Dementia

When somebody is diagnosed with dementia, it often impacts on their loved one too – especially if you are going to be caring for them. There are different types of dementia, including vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s disease....


Getting the right diagnosis is important so that you know what options you have because symptoms subside when the underlying problem is treated.

At Dementech Neurosciences, our team of doctors can provide a rapid and accurate diagnosis of these reversible forms of dementia.

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  • Phone 0203 848 4500