What are the Different Types of Memory Loss Diseases?

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  • Written By: Laura M. Sands
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 26 September 2019
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Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, and multi-infarct dementia are among the most common types of memory loss diseases. Memory loss, also sometimes referred to as dementia, is most commonly associated with aging, but it can actually affect any individual at any age. This is particularly true in individuals who have developed specific diseases. Modern medicine may help slow the decline of memory loss attributed to these conditions, but there is no way to cure any of them.

Memory loss may be acute or chronic. Acute cases are typically attributed to a sudden physical or emotional trauma. Chronic memory loss, however, is mostly due to one of several progressive diseases and is mostly irreversible.

As people age, minor memory loss is considered normal, and deficits in memory are not necessarily caused by any known diseases. The aging process is, however, often accompanied by the threat of certain diseases known to impair cognitive functioning.

One of the most common of all memory loss diseases is Alzheimer’s disease. As a progressive brain disorder, Alzheimer’s systematically destroys the brain’s cells and causes a slow decline in cognitive functioning. It accounts for as much as 80% of all dementia cases, and although it mostly affects the elderly, individuals as young as 30 years of age may also be diagnosed with the disease.


Parkinson’s disease is also relatively common and often shares some of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. Along with affecting the motor skills of its victims, Parkinson’s is known to cause significant memory loss and dementia. While body tremors and an abnormal gait are among the most obvious symptoms, many patients eventually also develop extreme memory loss.

Among the lesser known memory loss diseases is Huntington’s disease. Characterized by a lack of coordination and involuntary movement, progressive memory loss is also a recognizable symptom of this particular brain disorder. Unlike Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease commonly affects people under 55 years of age and, in very rare cases, it may even affect children.

Multi-infarct dementia (MID) also affects the memory. Caused by multiple and often unrecognized strokes over a long period of time, damage sustained by important brain tissue slowly begins to interrupt a person’s cognitive abilities. MID appears to be very similar to Alzheimer’s disease and is often difficult to diagnose.


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Post 3

@ddljohn-- Temporary memory loss can occur due to physical trauma or injury, a psychological trauma and even due to medications. But these are not considered memory loss diseases because there isn't an underlying disease causing amnesia and the amnesia is usually temporary.

For example, certain drugs like sedatives can cause partial memory loss. So for example, the person may wake up with no recollection of anything from the night before. But this is the extent of his memory loss.

To suspect that memory loss is from a disease, the amnesia needs to be recurrent and chronic such as in Parkinson's disease.

Post 2

In films, characters often develop memory loss after an accident or injury to the head. Does memory loss really happen so frequently after injuries or is it exaggerated in films?

Post 1

I was not aware that Alzheimer's disease can affect younger people until recently. I actually saw a film about a girl in her thirties who suffers from the condition and develops dementia.

Since the disease usually affects the elderly, there is an assumption that it doesn't affect other age groups. But I think we need to keep in mind that memory loss diseases can happen at any age. This will help us recognize symptoms of such diseases if it occurs to our loved ones or those close to us.

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