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Differential diagnosis of the major progressive dementias and depression in middle and late adulthood: a summary of the literature of the early 1990s

L D Rosenstein
Neuropsychology Review 1998, 8 (3): 109-67
There is a preponderance of research on the neuropsychology of the various dementias. There are also direct comparisons between two or more dementias available in the literature. This paper sought to summarize the most recent literature, primarily from 1990 through mid-1996, including recent reviews of the literature from previous decades. The purpose was to provide, in one location, a summary of neuropsychological (i.e., cognitive, motor, and psychiatric) characteristics of major noninfectious, progressive dementias and depression of middle and late adulthood. It is hoped that this review, particularly a summary table provided, will serve as a guide in the differential diagnosis of the dementias by clinicians. In addition to Alzheimer's disease, vascular dementias, Parkinson's disease, Lewy body dementia, Huntington's disease, and frontal lobe dementia, the impact of depression on cognitive functioning is covered given the frequency with which neuropsychologists are asked to differentiate depression from primary dementia.

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