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J Int Neuropsychol Soc. 2004 May;10(3):382-91.

Similar patterns of cognitive deficits in the preclinical phases of vascular dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

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Aging Research Center, Division of Geriatric Epidemiology, Neurotec, Karolinska Institutet and Stockholm Gerontology Research Center, Stockholm, Sweden.


We investigated whether (1) cognitive deficits are present among persons who will be diagnosed with vascular dementia (VaD) 3 years later, and (2) the pattern of such deficits is similar to that observed in preclinical Alzheimer's disease (AD). The VaD diagnosis was a diagnosis of post-stroke dementia. Population-based samples of 15 incident VaD cases, 43 incident AD cases, and 149 normal controls were compared on tests of episodic and short-term memory, verbal fluency, and visuospatial skill. Both dementia groups showed preclinical impairment relative controls on tasks assessing episodic memory 3 years before diagnosis, and there were no differences between these groups on any cognitive measure. The existence of a preclinical phase in the present VaD cases suggests that circulatory disturbance may affect cognitive performance before the occurrence of stroke that leads to clinical VaD. These results extend previous findings of similar patterns of cognitive deficits in the early clinical phases of AD and VaD to the preclinical phases of these diseases.

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