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Researchers have found that the symptoms of PCA are caused by changes in the brain cells that process visual information from our eyes.

What causes PCA?

In PCA caused by Alzheimer’s disease, it is not clear why the disease affects this part of the brain more so than the areas affected by typical Alzheimer’s, which generally are involved in memory.

It is thought that what makes up a person’s risk of developing PCA is similar to other types of dementia. This is a complex mix of factors including:

  • our age
  • the genes we inherit from our parents
  • our environment
  • our lifestyle.

Scientists are working hard to find out more, as well as exploring specific genetic or lifestyle risk factors for the condition.

What is posterior cortical atrophy?

Find out more about the symptoms and causes of posterior cortical atrophy, and the treatments currently available.

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This information was updated in April 2023 and is due to be reviewed in April 2025. It was written by Alzheimer’s Research UK’s Information Services team in association with Rare Dementia Support, with input from expert and lay reviewers. Please get in touch using the contact details below if you’d like a version with references or in a different format.

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