Frontalsubcortical Dementias

The most common clinical features of the frontal-subcortical dementias are bradyphrenia (a slowing of thought processes and information processing speed), memory problems, impairment of executive functions, mood changes, and sometimes visuospatial deficits.

Figure 2 Single photon emission computed tomographic (SPECT) image of the brain of an individual with Alzheimer's disease, showing decreased blood flow (darker areas) in frontal regions as well as in temporal-parietal association cortices.

Those diseases that can cause this dementia syndrome include progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP), Huntington's disease (HD), Parkinson's disease (PD), dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), and corticobasal degeneration (CBD). Damage to the rostral brain stem, thalamus, basal ganglia, and/or reciprocal connections between these subcortical regions and frontal cortical areas appears to be the common factor in these dementias. These structures all participate in several distinct, semi-closed-loop-circuits that subserve particular motor, cognitive executive, and emotional functions.

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