Diagnosis and differential diagnosis

The clinical evaluation of patients with memory impairment has two stages, the symptomatic diagnosis, i.e. evaluation of the type and extent of cognitive impairment, and the aetiological diagnosis, i.e. evaluation of vascular cause(s) and related factors. The symptomatic categories other than dementia include delirium, circumscribed neuropsychological syndromes (e.g. aphasia) and functional psychiatric disorders (e.g. depression). (44> Stages of aetiological diagnosis include diagnosis of the specific causes, especially the potentially treatable conditions, evaluation of secondary factors able to affect the cognitive functioning, and more detailed differentiation between specific causes, especially that between vascular dementia disease and Alzheimer's disease.

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