Sunday, March 6, 2011

Research Proposal on Dementia

Dementia Research Proposal Sample

An outline of Dementia including the major symptoms
Disorders that fall under the "Dementia" section of the DSM IV TR are characterized by a progressive decline in a person's functioning. This progressive decline is due "to the direct physiological effects of a general medical condition, to the persisting effects of a substance, or to multiple etiologies" (DSM, 147). There are differing types of dementia, each contributing it's own causes and deficits. These include, Alzheimer's Disease, Vascular Dementia, Dementia with Lewy Bodies, Pick's Disease Creutzfeldt-Jacob Disease, Huntington's Disease, Parkinson's Disease, Alcohol Related Dementia and HIV Related Dementia (Alzh ass, what causes). Symptoms of dementia vary depending on the type of dementia the individual suffers from. Common early signs or symptoms of dementia however, may include a progressive and frequent loss of memory, confusion, a change of personality, social withdrawal and a loss of ability to perform everyday functions (Alzh ass, what are the early).


According to the DSM IV TR a diagnosis of dementia can only be made when a person suffers from memory impairment and at least one other cognitive deficit. This includes aphasia, apraxia, agnosia, or a disturbance in executive functioning (DSM, 148). These cognitive deficits as well the individuals memory impairment must have declined from their previous level of function, as well as be severe enough that it effects their daily occupational or social functioning (DSM, 149).

Memory Impairment
A loss of some memory is necessary to a diagnosis of dementia and is often both an early and obvious symptom.

There are two forms of memory impairment and most people suffering from dementia suffer both kinds:

  1. The inability to learn to new material
  2. The inability to retain previously learnt material

The extent of memory loss varies according to the progression of the disorder. In the early stages, it may involve an individual preparing a meal and later forgetting that they did so.

Whereas in advanced stages of dementia, memory loss may be so severe that an individual cannot recall personal information, such as birthdays, their loved ones names and even their own name (DSM, 148).

Aphasia is the difficulty of providing names for objects or individuals caused by the deterioration of language function. An individual suffering from aphasia may forget simple words and substitute these for inappropriate words such as, "it" or "thing" (DSM, 149). Aphasia may also effect "comprehension of spoken and written language and repetition of language" (DSM, 148).

Apraxia may effect everyday tasks such as cooking and dressing as it is the "impaired inability to execute motor activities despite intact motor abilities, sensory function and comprehension of the required task" (DSM, 149).

Agnosia is a condition that involves an individual failing to recognize or identify objects "despite intact sensory function" (DSM, 149). In the early stages this may involve an individual being unable to identify keys from a coin, and in the more advanced stages, may involve an individual being unable to recognize and identify their own reflection in a mirror (DSM, 149).

Disturbance in Executive Functioning
Executive functioning involves the ability to "think abstractly and to plan, initiate, sequence, monitor, and stop complex behavior" (DSM, 149). An individual suffering from a disturbance in executive functioning may have great difficulty handling money, as they may forget what numbers are and what they are even used for (alz ass, what are the early).

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