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Neuropsychological, psychiatric, and cerebral blood flow findings in vascular dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Psychiatric, neuropsychological, and cerebral blood flow differences between patients with ischemic vascular dementia (IVD) or Alzheimer's disease (AD) were examined.

METHODS: A consecutive series of patients who met either the criteria of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke and the Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders Association for probable AD or the State of California AD Diagnostic and Treatment Centers criteria for probable IVD were included in the study. Twenty consecutive patients with IVD were matched for age, sex, and Mini-Mental State Examination scores with 40 consecutive patients with probable AD. Patients underwent a psychiatric interview, a neuropsychological assessment, and single-photon emission CT imaging with 99mTc-hexamethylpropyleneamine oxime.

RESULTS: Patients with IVD showed significantly more severe anosognosia (P<.05) and emotional lability (P<.01) than AD patients, but no significant between-group differences were found in the frequency and severity of depression. IVD patients showed significantly more severe deficits in tests of planning, sequencing (P<.05), and verbal fluency (P<.05) as well as significantly more severe cerebral blood flow deficits in the basal ganglia (P<.01) and the frontal lobes (P<.001) than AD patients.

CONCLUSIONS: Patients with IVD showed a relatively more severe dysfunction of the frontal lobes as demonstrated by single-photon emission CT and expressed in specific psychiatric and neuropsychological changes than AD patients matched for age, sex, and severity of dementia.

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