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Several Bizarre Visual Symptoms Shown to Be a Strong Predictor For Alzheimer’s

A recent study has shed new light on the connection between posterior cortical atrophy (PCA), a rare condition characterized by unusual vision and spatial awareness issues, and Alzheimer’s disease. PCA and Alzheimer’s have long been associated due to shared brain pathological changes, but the scarcity of PCA cases has limited in-depth research. To address this gap, an international team analyzed data from 1,092 individuals with PCA, revealing a robust correlation with Alzheimer’s. In 94% of cases, Alzheimer’s-related brain changes were identified, likely contributing to PCA.

Neuropsychologist Marianne Chapleau from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), stressed the importance of raising awareness about PCA among clinicians for early identification and treatment. The study suggests that individuals displaying PCA symptoms should be promptly examined, considering the average onset age of 59 – several years before Alzheimer’s onset. The research identified similarities in brain amyloid and tau levels between PCA and Alzheimer’s, both linked to dementia onset. Additionally, distinct differences were noted, offering potential insights for targeted treatment strategies.

Renaud La Joie, a neuropsychologist from UCSF, highlighted that PCA patients exhibit more tau pathology in brain areas processing visuospatial information, suggesting potential suitability for anti-tau therapies. The study, involving participants from 16 countries, provides comprehensive insights into shared and distinct aspects of PCA and Alzheimer’s, advancing our understanding of their manifestation and progression. Neurologist Gil Rabinovici from UCSF emphasized the need to comprehend why Alzheimer’s targets visual rather than memory areas. Notably, the study found that 60% of PCA patients were women, paving the way for further research into susceptibility factors.

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