Causes and Diagnoses

Causes and Diagnoses of Dementia

Researchers have found as many as 50 causes of dementia, including vascular related causes, kidney and liver disease, thyroid disease, drug and alcohol abuse and even a vitamin B12 deficiency.


There is no single, comprehensive test for diagnosing dementia. Your Northwestern Medicine neurologist will first rule out other conditions and, by process of elimination, can offer a diagnosis with 90 percent accuracy.

To rule out dementia caused by a treatable illness, our team will conduct a complete medical history, neurological motor and sensory exams and other tests, which may include:

If a diagnosis of dementia is confirmed, your neurologist will also let you know if the disease is at a mild, moderate or severe stage and how that will impact your treatment.

Diagnostic Tests