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March 1983

A Comparison of Clinical Features in Early- and Late-Onset Primary Degenerative Dementia: One Entity or Two?

Author Affiliations

From the Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center (Dr Seltzer) and the Neurophysiology Unit, Research Service (Dr Sherwin), Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital, Bedford, Mass; and the Departments of Neurology, Boston University School of Medicine (Dr Seltzer) and Harvard Medical School (Drs Seltzer and Sherwin).

Arch Neurol. 1983;40(3):143-146. doi:10.1001/archneur.1983.04050030037006

• The prevalence of a number of clinical features occurring in patients with early- (before age 65) and late-onset primary degenerative dementia of the Alzheimer type (PDDAT) are compared. The data from a total of 65 patients demonstrated a greater prevalence of language disturbance, a disproportionate number of left-handers, and a much shorter relative survival time in the early-onset group. Taken together with other data, these findings indicate a degree of heterogeneity in the clinical features of patients with PDDAT and suggest a possible heightened selective vulnerability of the left hemisphere in early-onset cases. We interpret the data as raising the possibility that the current view of PDDAT as a unitary disorder may not be entirely valid.

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