Neuropathology of Alzheimer's disease and other dementias

Clin Geriatr Med. 2001 May;17(2):209-28. doi: 10.1016/s0749-0690(05)70066-5.


Clinical differentiation of neurodegenerative diseases that produce dementia is imprecise. Neuropathology offers the only way to make a definite diagnosis. The CNS autopsy is also important for clinical quality control and for providing tissue that furthers research into these disabling disorders. This brief article summarizes the major neuropathologic features of largely sporadic disorders that present with late-life dementia. The common causes of dementia discussed are Alzheimer's disease, Lewy body disease, and vascular dementia; less common disorders described are dementia lacking distinctive histopathology, Pick's disease, progressive supranuclear palsy, corticobasal degeneration, and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / etiology
  • Alzheimer Disease / pathology*
  • Autopsy
  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob Syndrome / pathology
  • Dementia / classification
  • Dementia / etiology
  • Dementia / pathology*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Humans
  • Lewy Body Disease / pathology
  • Pick Disease of the Brain / pathology
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Spinocerebellar Degenerations / pathology
  • Supranuclear Palsy, Progressive / pathology