Degenerative Brain Diseases

Degenerative brain diseases are caused by the decline and death of nervous system cells called neurons. These diseases are progressive, meaning that the condition worsens over time as greater numbers of neurons in the brain die. As the brain gradually deteriorates, the patient loses intellectual function in key areas such as speech, memory and spatial skills.

There is no completely understood cause or trigger for these diseases, and currently there is no cure.

About 5 to 10 percent of Americans over age 60 have dementia, a collective term for several degenerative brain diseases. That group includes Alzheimer's disease, frontotemporal dementia (Pick's disease) and Lewy body dementia.

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