Posterior Cortical Atrophy


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Abstract

PURPOSE OF REVIEWThis article presents an overview of the clinical syndrome of posterior cortical atrophy (PCA), including its pathologic underpinnings, clinical presentation, investigation findings, diagnostic criteria, and management.RECENT FINDINGSPCA is usually an atypical form of Alzheimer disease with relatively young age at onset. New diagnostic criteria allow patients to be diagnosed on a syndromic basis as having a primary visual (pure) form or more complex (plus) form of PCA and, when possible, on a disease-specific basis using biomarkers or underlying pathology. Imaging techniques have demonstrated that some pathologic processes are concordant (atrophy, hypometabolism, tau deposition) with clinical symptoms and some are discordant (widespread amyloid deposition). International efforts are under way to establish the genetic underpinnings of this typically sporadic form of Alzheimer disease. In the absence of specific disease-modifying therapies, a number of practical suggestions can be offered to patients and their families to facilitate reading and activities of daily living, promote independence, and improve quality of lifeSUMMARYWhile rare, PCA is an important diagnostic entity for neurologists, ophthalmologists, and optometrists to recognize to allow for early accurate diagnosis and appropriate patient management. PCA provides an important opportunity to investigate the causes of selective vulnerability in Alzheimer disease.

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