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West London NHS Trust > Patients and carers > Mental and physical health conditions > Dementia > Causes of dementia

Causes of dementia

Dementia is caused by a loss of brain function that becomes more severe over time.
People with Alzheimer’s Disease, a form of dementia, have a shortage of the important chemicals in their brains needed for moving messages around.
Genetics only seems to be of minor significance. If a parent or other relative has Alzheimer’s Disease, there is only a very small increased chance of a person developing it.
Age is the most important factor, and diet and general health may also have an influence.
Recent research suggests links to diet (plenty of fruit and vegetables can help stave off the condition) and memory-related mental activity (life-long learning plays a part).