What is Posterior Cortical Atrophy?

What is Posterior Cortical Atrophy?

Posterior Cortical Atrophy is an uncommon form of dementia care that affects the portion of the brain towards the rear of the head (posterior). The gradual and cumulative degradation of the cortex, the brain’s outer layer, is similar to the alterations seen in Alzheimer’s disease.

Because the changes, or atrophy, that occur in the brain might also resemble Lewy Body dementia, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, and other neurological illnesses, it is not clear whether Posterior Cortical Atrophy (PCA) is a standalone syndrome or a variety of Alzheimer’s. Here’s a quick rundown of the problem.

Symptoms and causes of PCA

One of the earliest signs that a person may be developing PCA is a slow loss of vision, as evidenced by difficulties reading, recognising people or familiar objects, and a growing inability to judge distances. Disorientation, inability to discern between stationary and moving things, and new difficulty utilising tools or simple household items are all symptoms of posterior cortical degeneration.

Symptoms such as trouble doing previously simple tasks such as spelling or math calculations can appear in some circumstances.

Some patients begin to have hallucinations, and their memory may begin to fade as the disease progresses. As a person gets more conscious of the changes, he or she may become nervous and afraid.

The causes of PCA are unknown, and it’s unclear whether risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease and PCA are the same.


There are currently no standard diagnosis criteria, therefore clinicians must use a combination of procedures, such as MRI brain scans, blood tests, and neurological (cognitive) testing, to rule out any other probable illnesses first.

Because PCA is such a rare disorder, and the early symptoms are comparable to other, more “typical” conditions that occur with age, gaining a precise diagnosis can be challenging at first. Because the first symptoms are related to decreasing vision, a person is likely to make an appointment with an optician to examine their eyesight, delaying a proper diagnosis.

Because symptoms might appear between the ages of 50 and 65, diagnostic testing must be performed in order to rule out the potential of a stroke or tumour.

Treatment and Prognosis

Although there is currently no cure for Posterior Cortical Atrophy, doctors can help patients manage their symptoms by prescribing a combination of drugs, including those for anxiety and depression, as well as cognitive or physical therapy. Sufferers may benefit from in-home care, which allows them to remain in familiar, soothing circumstances rather than making the unpleasant and perplexing transition to a care facility.

Because PCA has some similarities to Alzheimer’s disease, it is thought that medications used to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease may help. However, this has yet to be proven, possibly because people with PCA show degeneration in a different part of the brain than those with typical Alzheimer’s disease. It is important to note that the medical and scientific professions have yet to determine the advantages and hazards of any PCA therapy.

PCA is still being debated as to whether it should be categorised as a kind of Alzheimer’s disease or as a distinct condition.

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