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Front Neurol Neurosci. 2009;24:95-106. doi: 10.1159/000197888. Epub 2009 Jan 26.

Is it possible to treat vascular dementia?

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Department of Rehabilitation and Geriatrics, Geneva University Hospitals and University of Geneva, Thônex, Geneva, Switzerland.


Randomized controlled trials of primary and secondary prevention of vascular dementia demonstrate real effects on the cause or progression of disease (disease-modifying treatment). These strategies lead to a reduction in all cerebrovascular risk factors, in particular hypertension. Such treatment may prevent dementia by reducing stroke and possibly by other mechanisms that remain undetermined,such as those involved in neurodegeneration and cell death. Curative treatment of vascular dementia, particularly given recent studies on cholinesterase inhibitors (rivastigmine, donepezil and galantamine) and memantine, is still ineffective. There is insufficient evidence to support widespread use of these drugs in vascular dementia. Particular considerations should be taken into account in clinical trials. Vascular dementia is a heterogeneous disease with different subtypes and mechanisms.Therefore, well-designed, adequately powered trials accounting for this heterogeneity, with better clinical definitions and an assessment and detection of cognitive and global changes specific to vascular dementia, are needed.

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