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Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2000 Apr;903:522-8.

The diagnosis of "mixed" dementia in the Consortium for the Investigation of Vascular Impairment of Cognition (CIVIC).

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Division of Geriatric Medicine, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.


If vascular risk factors are risk for Alzheimer's disease (AD), and if "pure" vascular dementia (VaD) is less common than has been thought, what do we make of the diagnosis of mixed dementia? We report characteristics of those with mixed dementia in a prospective, seven center, clinic-based Canadian study. Of 1,008 patients, 372 were diagnosed with AD, 149 with vascular cognitive impairment (VCI) including 76 with mixed AD/VaD, and 82 with other types of dementia. The mean age of patients with mixed AD/VaD was 78.0 +/- 7.6 years; 49% were female. These proportions differed significantly between dementia diagnosis subgroup (p < 0.001) showing a trend which is evident in all comparisons--AD/VaD patients fall in between AD and VaD. Vascular risk factors were present significantly more often in mixed AD/VaD than in AD (p < 0.001). More mixed AD/VaD (20%) than AD patients (4%) had focal signs, compared with 38% of those with vascular dementia and 12% with other types of dementia. Between the initial clinical diagnosis and the final diagnosis (which utilized neuroimaging and neuropsychological data) AD/VaD was the least stable diagnosis. Neuroimaging of ischemic lesions was the most common reason for reassignment from AD to the mixed AD/VaD diagnosis (17 cases). These data suggest that an operational definition of mixed AD/VaD can be proposed on presentation and clinical/radiographic findings, but indifferent to vascular risk factors. The concept of mixed dementia should be extended to include vascular dementia in combination with dementias, other than Alzheimer's disease.

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