Amentia: Definition, History, and Further Reading

Amentia is a term used to describe a wide range of intellectual, cognitive, and/or memory impairments. It is characterized by deficiencies in memory, language, problem solving, perceptual processing, and/or other cognitive skills. The condition is usually associated with older age, but can affect individuals of any age. It is estimated that around 10% of the world’s population suffers from some form of amentia.

Amentia has been known and studied for centuries. The term was first used by British physician Thomas Willis in 1683, and later was expanded upon by German physician Johann Christian Reil in 1809. Reil proposed that amentia was a disorder of the mind that could be caused by a variety of factors, including psychological trauma, intoxication, and organic diseases of the brain. Since then, the term has been used to refer to a variety of cognitive impairments, including Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and other types of age-related cognitive decline.

Amentia is now an umbrella term used to describe a wide range of cognitive impairments. It is important to note that amentia is not a specific diagnosis, but rather a term used to describe a variety of cognitive impairments. As such, diagnosis of amentia should be based on a comprehensive assessment of the individual’s cognitive capabilities and limitations. Treatment of amentia should be individualized based on the underlying cause of the impairment.

Further reading on amentia includes:

Barker, W. W., & Black, S. E. (2002). Amentia: A comprehensive review of its causes and treatments. Cognitive and Behavioral Neurology, 15(2), 107-116.

Reisberg, B., Ferris, S. H., de Leon, M. J., & Crook, T. (1982). The global deterioration scale for assessment of primary degenerative dementia. American Journal of Psychiatry, 139(9), 1136-1139.

DeCarli, C., Murphy, D. G., Tranh, M., Grady, C. L., Rubin, E. H., & Haxby, J. V. (1995). The effect of normal aging on the volume of the hippocampus and amygdala. Neurology, 45(7), 1577-1584.

Kolb, B., & Whishaw, I. Q. (2009). Fundamentals of Human Neuropsychology. New York, NY: Worth Publishers.

Weiner, M. F., Veitch, D. P., & Amenta, S. (Eds.). (2002). Cognitive Impairment in the Elderly: A Clinical Perspective. New York, NY: Springer.

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