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Neurology Facts

While every neurological disease has its own unique pathology and features that are important to understand, there are also commonalities across the varying neurological diseases. These commonalities remind us that we can learn from one another, and that research in one area often can contribute to the body of understanding in another. The following list highlights just some of the commonalities and connections between two or more of the neurological diseases.

  • Vascular dementia, often caused by a series of transient ischemic attacks (mini strokes), is a risk factor for Alzheimer's disease.
  • Parkinson's dementia is a risk factor for Alzheimer's disease.
  • High blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes are risk factors for strokes, mini strokes, neurological insults related to cardiac traumas and Alzheimer's disease.
  • Lewy body dementia is a form of Parkinson's disease that presents with both the physical symptoms common in Parkinson's and memory deficits seen in Alzheimer's disease. The hallmark of this disease is psychosis at the very beginning.
  • Protein aggregation is a common characteristic of many neurodegenerative diseases. The aggregates and/or oligomers appear to be toxic, causing injury or death to cells. Various neuromuscular and neurodegenerative diseases, including certain types of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), frontotemporal dementia and Alzheimer's disease, feature toxic RNA or RNA-binding proteins. (Source: Neurodegeneration: Exploring Commonalities Across Diseases: Workshop Summary 2013.)

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