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.
The symptoms of PCA occur after the age of 50. Symptoms typically involved blurred vision, problems in following lines of text when reading and problems with depth perception. As the disease progresses, previously familiar places and faces are forgotten. The disease is not easy to diagnose and no specific test exists to identify its prescence. If the disease is suspected, a battery of psychological tests, neurological tests and brain imaging techniques are required before a diagnosis can be reached.