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October 1985

Subcortical Arteriosclerotic Encephalopathy (Binswanger's Disease): Computed Tomographic, Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, and Clinical Correlations

Arch Neurol. 1985;42(10):951-959. doi:10.1001/archneur.1985.04060090033010

• Twenty-three elderly patients were found to have a consistent pattern of leukoencephalopathy by computed tomography and nuclear magnetic resonance imaging. Eight patients presented with vague, nonspecific symptoms and had no neurologic deficits. The other 15 patients had neurologic deficits that presented in one of three ways: (1) stroke, seven patients; (2) slowly progressive dementia and gait disturbance, five patients; or (3) slowly progressive dementia alone, three patients. Risk factors for arteriosclerosis (hypertension, diabetes) were present in 18 patients (78%). The necropsy of one patient revealed arteriosclerotic vasculopathy characteristic of subcortical arteriosclerotic encephalopathy (SAE) or Binswanger's disease. Subcortical arteriosclerotic encephalopathy may be a relatively common affliction of elderly patients, most of whom have risk factors for arteriosclerosis. The modes of presentation and associated clinical signs are variable, and more than one third may have no neurologic deficit. In some cases SAE overlaps with normal pressure hydrocephalus by clinical and neuroimaging criteria. Some patients with normal pressure hydrocephalus who do not respond to ventricular shunting may actually have SAE.