Dementia and Cognitive Disorders

What is Dementia?

By 2031, greater than one in five Albertans will be aged 65 or older. Although dementia and cognitive decline is more common above age 65, there are also instances of early-onset dementia, affecting those in their 30s, 40s and 50s. Common symptoms of dementia and cognitive decline include challenges and memory lapses in language, communication skills, focus, and reasoning. Alzheimer’s disease is one form of dementia.

If you would like to contribute to further research on causes and treatments of dementia, please visit our donation page.

HBI dementia research has four focus areas: Early detection and monitoring, treatment and prevention, improving the lived experience, and mechanisms of cognitive decline and dementia, including clinical trials.

Research Impact

Dr Chen

Research team breakthrough with potential to prevent, reverse Alzheimer's

Wayne Chen's lab at UCalgary identifies a way to interrupt and prevent progression of devastating condition.


How aerobic exercise helps us keep our wits about us as we age

UCalgary study shows it’s never too late to see the brain benefits from regular exercise, demonstrating improvements in just six months.


UCalgary researcher studies link between ADHD and accelerated cognitive aging

Brandy Callahan hopes results will inform dementia prevention programs in the future.

Quick Facts

Quick facts

Dementia Details and Questions


Causes of Dementia

Some known risk factors for dementia include high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, high cholesterol, poor diet, head injuries, and lack of exercise. High alcohol consumption is one of the greatest risk factors. People over the age of 65 are at a higher risk, and women are more likely than men to develop the disease.


Symptoms of Dementia

Recognizing and diagnosing some early symptoms can allow those living with dementia to be more actively involved in their treatment and planning. Some syptoms include confusion, memory lapses and difficulties with familiar activities, language problems, changes in personality, and loss of initiative.


Treatment of Dementia

Early recognition of symptoms is helpful when treating dementia, to prolong the progression of the disease as long as possible. There are currently four medications in Canada, approved for the treatment of the disease, and a few others currently under research. Before trying alternative methods of treatment, always consult with your doctor.

Research Highlights