Purpose of review
Non-amnestic (or atypical) presentations of neurodegenerative dementias are underrecognized and underdiagnosed, including posterior cortical atrophy (PCA) syndrome, which is characterized by prominent visuospatial and visuoperceptual dysfunction at presentation. It is most commonly due to Alzheimer's disease pathology, while Lewy body disease, corticobasal degeneration, and prion disease are neuropathological entities that are less frequently associated with PCA. The diagnosis of PCA is often delayed, to the detriment of the patient, and awareness and understanding of PCA will improve detection, prognostication, and treatment.
The natural history of PCA appears to be distinct from typical Alzheimer's disease and significant heterogeneity exists within the PCA syndrome, with the underlying causes of this heterogeneity beginning to be explored. Functional and molecular imaging can assist in better understanding PCA, particularly assessment of network disruptions that contribute to clinical phenotypes. Cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers are useful to detect underlying pathology, but measures of retinal thickness are less promising. There are currently no adequate treatment options for PCA.
Continued efforts to characterize PCA are needed, and greater awareness and understanding of atypical presentations of neurodegenerative dementias could serve to elucidate pathobiological mechanisms of underlying disease.