Dementia can arise from multiple conditions, and it is characterized by an array of symptoms including problems with memory, attention, communication and physical coordination. The two most common causes of dementia are Alzheimer’s disease and white matter strokes — small strokes that accumulate in the connecting areas of the brain.
“It’s a vicious cycle: The two leading causes of dementia are almost always seen together and each one accelerates the other,” said Dr. S. Thomas Carmichael, senior author of the study and interim director of the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCLA.
An estimated 5 million Americans have dementia. “And with the aging population, that number is going to skyrocket,” Carmichael said.