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Pathophysiology of vascular dementia.

The concept of Vascular Dementia (VaD) has been recognized for over a century, but its definition and diagnostic criteria remain unclear. Conventional definitions identify the patients too late, miss subjects with cognitive impairment short of dementia, and emphasize consequences rather than causes, the true bases for treatment and prevention. We should throw out current diagnostic categories and describe cognitive impairment clinically and according to commonly agreed instruments that document the demographic data in a standardized manner and undertake a systematic effort to identify the underlying aetiology in each case. Increased effort should be targeted towards the concept of and criteria for Vascular Cognitive Impairment and Post-Stroke Dementia as well as for genetic factors involved, especially as these categories hold promise for early prevention and treatment.

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