Hippocampal Sclerosis, Argyrophilic Grain Disease, and Primary Age-Related Tauopathy

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PURPOSE OF REVIEWHippocampal sclerosis, argyrophilic grain disease, and primary age-related tauopathy are common Alzheimer disease mimics that currently lack clinical diagnostic criteria. Increased understanding of these pathologic entities is important for the neurologist who may encounter patients with an unusually slowly progressive degenerative dementia that may appear to meet criteria for Alzheimer disease but who progress to develop symptoms that are unusual for classic Alzheimer diseaseRECENT FINDINGSHippocampal sclerosis has traditionally been associated with hypoxic/ischemic injury and poorly controlled epilepsy, but it is now recognized that hippocampal sclerosis may also be associated with a unique degenerative disease of aging or may be an associated pathologic finding in many cases of frontotemporal lobar degeneration. Argyrophilic grain disease has been recognized as an enigma in the field of pathology for over 30 years, but recent discoveries suggest that it may overlap with other tau-related disorders within the spectrum of frontotemporal lobar degeneration. Primary age-related tauopathy has long been recognized as a distinct clinical entity that lies on the Alzheimer pathologic spectrum, with the presence of neurofibrillary tangles that lack the coexistent Alzheimer plaque development; thus, it is thought to represent a distinct pathologic entity.SUMMARYDespite advances in dementia diagnosis that suggest that we have identified and unlocked the mysteries of the major degenerative disease states responsible for cognitive decline and dementia in the elderly, diseases such as hippocampal sclerosis, argyrophilic grain disease, and primary age-related tauopathy demonstrate that we remain on the frontier of discovery and that our diagnostic repertoire of diseases responsible for such clinical symptoms remains in its infancy. Understanding such diagnostic confounds is important for the neurologist in assigning appropriate diagnoses and selecting appropriate therapeutic management strategies for patients with mild cognitive impairment and dementia.

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