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AD symptoms are dominated by the progressive loss of cognitive function, although other modalities are affected, particularly in the later stages of the disease. Dementia, however, can result from multiple etiologies such as tumors, drugs, toxic agents, multiple cerebral infarcts, Lewy body disease, prionoses, and tauopathies, to name a few. Each disease generally presents a clinical picture that is distinct from the others, although areas of overlap are a persistent challenge for clinical diagnosis. The defining characteristic of AD is that the dementia develops in the context of the accumulation of ^-amyloid peptide in plaque structures and the development of neurofibrillary tangles. In the absence of these lesions, in particular the amyloid deposition, the dementia is not considered to be of the Alzheimer's type.

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