A progressive decline in cognitive function due to damage or disease in the body beyond what might be expected from normal aging. Although dementia is far more common in the geriatric population, it may occur in any stage of adulthood. This age cutoff is defining, as similar sets of symptoms due to organic brain dysfunction are given different names in populations younger than adult. Dementia is a non-specific illness syndrome (set of signs and symptoms) in which affected areas of cognition may be memory, attention, language, and problem solving. Higher mental functions are affected first in the process. Especially in the later stages of the condition, affected persons may be disoriented in time (not knowing what day of the week, day of the month, or even what year it is), in place (not knowing where they are), and in person (not knowing who they are or others around them). Dementia, though treatable, is incurable. Symptoms of dementia can be classified as either reversible or irreversible, depending upon the etiology of the disease. Less than 10 percent of cases of dementia are due to causes which may presently be reversed with treatment. Causes include many different specific disease processes, in the same way that symptoms of organ dysfunction such as shortness of breath, jaundice, or pain are attributable to many etiologies. Without careful assessment of history, the short-term syndrome of delirium can easily be confused with dementia, because they have many symptoms in common. Some mental illnesses, including depression and psychosis, may also produce symptoms which must be differentiated from both delirium and dementia.

UCLA scientists uncover potential target for treating common form of early-onset dementia

No cure exists for frontotemporal dementia, which strikes between the ages of 40 and 64 and accounts for at least one in four cases of early-onset dementia. Caused by the death of cells in the front and sides of the brain, the disease can lead to dramatic changes in a patient's personality and behavior, including the loss of the ability to communicate. Now, UCLA scientists have discovered that a key signaling pathway plays an important role in the brain disorder and may offer a potential target for treatment. The journal Neuron publishes the findings in its Sept. 22 edition.

Brain-injured veterans twice as likely to get dementia reported July 18 about research linking head injuries and dementia among U.S. military personnel and professional football players. The story cited brain-imaging research conducted by Dr. Gary Small, Parlow-Solomon Professor on Aging, a professor of psychiatry at the Semel Institute and director of the UCLA Longevity Center. Small was quoted.

Brain, Behavior, and Aging Research Center

Brain, Behavior, and Aging Research Center

We are a research group investigating Alzheimer's disease (AD) and other dementias. We use neuroimaging procedures, such as PET and MRI, to understand how the brain is changed in dementia. We also test memory and other thinking skills, and interview our patients to understand what types of emotional problems they are having (such as depression or irritability).  We combine all of this information to help us understand the symptoms of dementia and the brain changes that contribute to the illness.

Our lab is also involved in treatment studies.  In these experiments, we prescribe medication(s), and then test patients to understand how the drug is helping. We are conducting clinical trials both for FDA approved medications and for a new investigational drug to treat AD.

David Sultzer
Alzheimer's and Dementia Research Group

Tim Page - Open Mind Lecture "Parallel Play"

Friends of Semel Event Open Mind Lecture 'Growing Up with Undiagnosed Asperger's'


Tim Page was diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome 3 years after being awarded the Pulitzer prize for music criticism. Parallel Play tells the story of a child with an unexplained ability to memorize vast parts of the encyclopedia but not pass basic math and science classes.  His book, written with newfound clarity, is a story of success not in spite of the syndrome, but because of it.


Refreshments and book signing.


Parking $9 in Lot 7.

Admission free but reservations are required. Please call 310-825-8871 or email

Event detail
22 Apr 2010 - 18:30

Open Mind Lecture "Suicide Prevention"

Friends of Semel Event Open Mind Lecture 'Sanity and Grace, a Journal of Suicide, Surviaval and Strength


Renowned singer/songwriter Judy Collins's deeply moving memoir chronicles her journey from pain to survival following the suicide of her son, and offers comfort to those who struggle in suicide's aftermath.


Event detail
1 Dec 2009 - 18:30

Open Mind Lecture "Against Medical Advice"

Friends of Semel Event Open Mind Lecture 'Against Medical Advice' by James Patterson and Hal Friedman

Event detail
7 Oct 2009 - 18:00 - 20:00