Posterior cortical atrophy (PCA), also called Benson's syndrome, is a form of dementia which is usually considered an atypical variant of Alzheimer's disease. The disease causes atrophy of the back (posterior) part of the cerebral cortex, resulting in the progressive disruption of complex visual processing. The disease causes atrophy of the back (posterior) part of the cerebral cortex, resulting in the progressive disruption of complex visual processing.
Although no cure for posterior cortical atrophy exists, several medications as well as many non-pharmaceutical approaches can potentially improve daily functioning and quality of life. Patients with posterior cortical atrophy can often benefit from physical and occupational therapy. Cholinesterase inhibitors approved for Alzheimer's disease, like donepezil (Aricept®), rivastigmine (Exelon®) and galantamine (Razadyne®/Reminyl®), can help the symptoms of PCA by boosting the function of brain cells to compensate for damage caused by Alzheimer's disease. Patients experiencing depression, irritability, frustration and a loss of self-confidence may benefit from antidepressant medication.
PCA can affect people in different ways initially. In some instances, the disease affects both sides of the brain equally, leading to a combination of many of the symptoms described above. For other people, the disease affects one particular brain area earlier or more significantly. For example, problems with spelling and writing might be the first sign of the condition while vision is relatively unaffected.