Posterior cortical atrophy

Posterior cortical atrophy (PCA) is a rare form of dementia that usually begins by affecting a person’s vision. It is also known as Benson’s syndrome.

PCA is caused by damage to the brain cells at the back of the brain that make sense of what our eyes are seeing.

Alzheimer’s disease is most often the cause of the brain cell damage in PCA. PCA is sometimes called a visual form of Alzheimer’s. However, the early signs of PCA and typical Alzheimer’s can be very different. Alzheimer’s disease usually affects memory first. In PCA the first signs are often problems with vision and perception.

People often develop PCA at an earlier age than typical Alzheimer’s disease, usually between the ages of 50 and 65. PCA is a less common form of dementia, and at the moment we can’t be sure how many people around the world are affected by it.

This information was written in May 2017 and is due for review in May 2019. Please contact us if you would like a version with references.

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