Can you tell fact from fiction? Take the dementia quiz.

CORRECT ANSWERS: 0

Dementia is mostly a disease of the elderly. It almost never occurs in people under 50, and less than 8 percent of people under 65 develop it. There's still much medical experts don't know about dementia, but what they do know might surprise you.

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Question 1 of 20

Most types of dementia are nonreversible.

fact
fiction
almost fact: Although most are not preventable, they are reversible.

... With rare exceptions, most types of dementia are caused by degenerative diseases such as Parkinson's and multiple sclerosis, and are not reversible or preventable.

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Question 2 of 20

Lyme disease sometimes causes dementia.

fact
fiction
almost fact: Lyme disease always causes dementia.

... Left untreated, the infection from Lyme disease can spread and affect the brain, causing a form of dementia.

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Question 3 of 20

For a person to be diagnosed with dementia, he or she needs to demonstrate problems with at least three brain functions.

fact
fiction
almost fact: Problems with two brain functions could be enough to establish a diagnosis.

... Problems with two brain functions are enough for a dementia diagnosis. For example, a person might have memory loss and personality changes, or language problems and difficulty remembering names and faces of loved ones. Memory loss is the most common sign of dementia and usually the first one people notice.

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Question 4 of 20

About 25 percent of people over 85 years of age develop Alzheimer's disease.

fact
fiction
almost fact: It's actually 25 percent of people over age 90.

... A full 50 percent of people over age 85 will develop Alzheimer's disease, even more as age increases.

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Question 5 of 20

Frontotemporal dementia is a type of dementia that doesn't always cause memory loss.

fact
fiction
almost fact: Memory loss occurs, but not in the early stages of the disease.

... Because the damage from frontotemporal dementia starts in the frontal lobe of the brain, behavior and personality changes are the first symptoms to show; memory loss comes later.

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Question 6 of 20

Vascular dementia is a type of dementia that sometimes can be prevented.

fact
fiction
almost fact: Vascular dementia can be reversed and cured.

... Vascular dementia can develop after a person has a series of small strokes. Controlling blood pressure, giving up smoking and exercising regularly can reduce the chances of this type of dementia.

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Question 7 of 20

Long-term memory loss is an early symptom of dementia.

fact
fiction
almost fact: People with dementia actually have good memory recall during the first few years after their diagnoses.

... In the early stages of dementia, short-term memory loss is more likely than long-term memory loss.

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Question 8 of 20

All memory loss is considered dementia.

fact
fiction
almost fact: All memory loss in people over age 65 is dementia.

... It's normal to have some short-term memory loss with age, such as where you put the keys or a word on the tip of your tongue. That's different from the progressive changes in memory and other cognitive functions that affect daily living for people with dementia.

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Question 9 of 20

Exercise can help fight off dementia.

fact
fiction
almost fact: Only lifting weights with the upper body can lower risk.

... Aerobic exercise in midlife or late life has been show to help reduce dementia risk -- or at least delay its onset -- and improve memory. Studies on animals show that exercise improves neuroplasticity.

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Question 10 of 20

Dementia is irreversible and most medications cannot do anything to slow its progress.

fact
fiction
almost fact: In some cases, taking medication for dementia further damages the brain.

... Medication can help a person with dementia deal with some of the symptoms of the disease, such as depression, respiratory distress, anemia and behavior problems such as aggression, but they can't stop or cure its damage.

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Question 11 of 20

Delirium often comes abruptly and can be caused by drugs, epilepsy attacks or injury. Dementia develops slowly, over a period of years.

fact
fiction
almost fact: Both can develop over a period of weeks.

... A case of delirium could be a one-time event that is treated and never returns; dementia develops slowly and continues to worsen.

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Question 12 of 20

Former president Franklin D. Roosevelt had dementia from Alzheimer's disease.

fact
fiction
almost fact: It was president Ronald Reagan, not Roosevelt.

... Ronald Reagan was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease at the age of 83 and lived with the disease for 10 years.

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Question 13 of 20

Doctors might screen for dementia by having a person draw a telephone.

fact
fiction
almost fact: Doctors have patients draw a different household item: a clock.

... The clock drawing test -- (or to be more precise, drawing a clock face and time) helps demonstrate a range of skills that often are affected by dementia. People who have Alzheimer's disease might number the hours counterclockwise, skip or repeat numbers or space them oddly. This tells the doctor that more tests are needed.

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Question 14 of 20

At least 20 percent of cases of dementia are due to reversible causes.

fact
fiction
almost fact: It's actually only 10 percent of cases.

... More like 10 percent of cases of dementia can be reversed, and that's only if the problem is caught early. There usually is some sort of underlying cause, such as a blood clot or drug reaction, that once corrected takes care of the dementia.

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Question 15 of 20

A person with dementia is likely to die within five years of being diagnosed.

fact
fiction
almost fact: People actually die about 10 years following their dementia diagnoses.

... As the disease progresses, it affects a number of organs and systems. Many people with dementia die about 10 years after their diagnoses of respiratory distress because the body eventually "forgets" how to breathe properly.

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Question 16 of 20

All people with Alzheimer's disease eventually lose the capacity to do everyday things such as getting dressed or feeding themselves.

fact
fiction
almost fact: Although most people with Alzheimer's lose these abilities, some never do.

... As the brain deteriorates, the areas of the brain that control movement and cognitive capabilities are permanently damaged. This loss of function eventually occurs in everyone with Alzheimer's. Management of the disease is aimed at easing symptoms to improve quality of patients' lives.

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Question 17 of 20

Dementia cannot occur in children.

fact
fiction
almost fact: Although it cannot occur in children, dementia is possible in teenagers.

... Certain genetic and metabolic disorders can cause dementia in children as young as 6 months old. Brain injuries and rare disorders such as Batten disease and Alexander disease can cause dementia in children.

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Question 18 of 20

Dementia with Lewy bodies is caused by clumps of protein that form inside nerve cells.

fact
fiction
almost fact: The clumps of protein appear after an infection has taken place, but they form outside the cells.

... Not much is known about what causes dementia with Lewy bodies, but it seems to be associated with the PARK11 gene, the same gene that causes Parkinson's disease. It causes clumps of protein to form inside the patient's nerve cells.

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Question 19 of 20

Only 17.4 percent of cases of dementia are caused by Alzheimer's disease

fact
fiction
almost fact: The percentage is probably higher, but many cases are not documented.

... Nearly two-thirds (69.9 percent) of cases of dementia are due to Alzheimer's disease. About 17 percent are caused by vascular dementia, the second most common type of dementia.

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Question 20 of 20

Dementia occurs because cells in the brain grow too quickly, which causes confusion in the brain.

fact
fiction
almost fact: Cells can either grow in size or duplicate rapidly.

... Actually, dementia occurs when cells die, causing the brain to shrink and lose important cognitive functions.

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