a patient performing a cognitive shape drawing test with paper and pen

Cognitive disorders

Cognitive disorders

Cognitive disorders refer to problems with memory, language, thinking and understanding.

Cognitive symptoms include difficulties with memory, concentration, language, attention, behaviour and judgment. When these symptoms are worsening over time, and causing problems with functioning at work and home, they are often called “dementia”.

Most cases of dementia are caused by damage to the structure of the brain by neurodegenerative diseases. These include Alzheimer’s disease, frontotemporal dementia, dementia with Lewy Bodies, vascular dementia and Parkinson’s. Some of these can run in families due to a genetic mutation. There is an urgent need for earlier and more accurate diagnosis, improved care for patients and research into more effective treatments.

Related research

The UK Dementia Research Institute (UKDRI) at the University of Edinburgh carries out laboratory research to examine the complex interactions between cells of the brain, immune system and blood vessels and how problems in these processes can lead to dementia.

The Centre for Dementia Prevention at the University of Edinburgh combines research in science, medicine and social sciences to lead global efforts in preventing dementia.

The Alzheimer Scotland Dementia Research Centre is in partnership with the University of Edinburgh and provides a high quality environment for dementia research.

Further information

Alzheimer Scotland

Alzheimer's Society

The Lewy Body Society

NHS Inform: dementia