Posterior Cortical Atrophy: Review of the Recent Literature

  • François-Xavier Borruat
Neuro-Ophthalmology (A Kawasaki, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Neuro-Ophthalmology


Posterior cortical atrophy (PCA) is a group of neurodegenerative dementing disorders characterized by initial predominant visual complaints followed by progressive decline in cognitive functions. The visuospatial and visuoperceptual defects arise from the dysfunction of, respectively, the dorsal (occipito-parietal) and the ventral (occipito-temporal) streams. Clinical symptoms, results of neuropsychological examination, and findings of posterior cerebral atrophy and/or posterior hypoperfusion/hypometabolism contribute to the diagnosis. However, owing to the insidious onset of PCA and the non-specificity of initial symptoms, the diagnosis is often delayed. Specific etiologies include Alzheimer’s disease, dementia with Lewy bodies, subcortical gliosis, corticobasal degeneration, and prion-associated diseases. Alzheimer’s disease accounts for at least 80 % of PCA cases. Recent research has concentrated on better defining the clinical presentation of PCA, improving neuroimaging analysis, testing new neuroimaging techniques, and developing biological measurements. Selected recent papers on PCA are reviewed in this article.


Posterior cortical atrophy Alzheimer Dementia Ventral stream Dorsal stream MRI Tractography SPECT PiB-PET Presenilin 1 gene Amyloid Tau 


Compliance with Ethics Guidelines

Conflict of Interest

François-Xavier Borruat declares that he has no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of OphthalmologyUniversity of Lausanne, Jules Gonin Eye Hospital, Neuro-Ophthalmology UnitLausanneSwitzerland

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