Multi-Infarct Dementia Mini Info Sheet
DESCRIPTION: Multi-infarct dementia (MID), a common cause of dementia in the elderly, occurs when blood clots block small blood vessels in the brain and destroy brain tissue. Probable risk factors are high blood pressure and advanced age. Symptoms of MID, which often develop in a stepwise manner, include confusion, problems with recent memory, wandering or getting lost in familiar places, loss of bladder or bowel control (incontinence), emotional problems such as laughing or crying inappropriately, difficulty following instructions, and problems handling money. Usually the damage is so slight that the change is noticeable only as a series of small steps. However over time, as more small vessels are blocked, there is a gradual mental decline. MID, which typically begins between the ages of 60 and 75, affects men more often than women.
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TREATMENT: Currently there is no treatment for MID that can reverse the damage that has already occurred. Treatment focuses on prevention of additional brain damage by controlling high blood pressure.
PROGNOSIS: Prognosis for patients with MID is generally poor. Individuals with the disease may improve for short periods of time, then decline again. However, early treatment and management of blood pressure may prevent further progression of the disorder.
RESEARCH: The NINDS supports and conducts a wide range of research on dementing disorders such as MID and on cerebrovascular disease. The goals of this research are to improve the diagnosis of these disorders and to find ways to treat and prevent them.
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These articles, available from a medical library, are sources of in-depth information on MID:
Bradley, W, et al (eds). Neurology in Clinical Practice: Principles of Diagnosis and Management, vol. II, Butterworth-Heinemann, Boston, pp. 1427-1430 (1991).
Joynt, R (ed). Clinical Neurology, vol. 3, Chapter 32, J.B. Lippincott Co., Philadelphia, pp. 45-47 (1990).
Mahler, M, and Cummings, J. "Behavioral Neurology of Multi-Infarct Dementia." Alzheimer Disease and Associated Disorders, 5:2; 122-130 (1991).
Rowland, L (ed). Merritt’s Textbook of Neurology, 8th edition, Lea & Febiger, Philadelphia, pp. 4-9 (1989).
Wyngaarden, J, et al (eds). Cecil Textbook of Medicine, 19th edition, W.B. Saunders Co., Philadelphia, p. 2090 (1992).
Additional information is available from the following organizations
of Mental Health
5600 Fishers Lane,
Building 31, Room 5C27
of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
National Institutes of Health
Bethesda, MD 20892
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