Recognition of dementia in ancient China

Neurobiol Aging. 2012 Dec;33(12):2948.e11-3. doi: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2012.06.019. Epub 2012 Jul 24.


A search of previous records in the literatures was done to summarize the opinions for dementia in ancient China. The earliest description of dementia was traced in the Yellow emperor's internal classic, a book written 2000 years ago. Hua Tuo (AD 140-208) in Han Dynasty first denominated "dementia" in the book, Hua Tuo Shen Yi Mi Zhuan. The pathogenesis of dementia could be generalized as the insufficiency of Qi, a flowing energy; the stagnation of phlegm, a harmful liquid substance in the body; and the blood stasis, which were also regarded as therapeutic targets. Therefore, we can conclude that dementia has been recognized and investigated in traditional Chinese medicine, which is definitely before the industrial civilization era.

Publication types

  • Historical Article

MeSH terms

  • Asian People / genetics
  • Asian People / history
  • Dementia* / history
  • Dementia* / physiopathology
  • Dementia* / therapy
  • History, 16th Century
  • History, 17th Century
  • History, 18th Century
  • History, 19th Century
  • History, 20th Century
  • History, Ancient
  • Humans
  • Medicine, Chinese Traditional* / history
  • Medicine, Chinese Traditional* / methods
  • Qi / history