Atypical Alzheimer Disease Variants

Continuum (Minneap Minn). 2022 Jun 1;28(3):676-701. doi: 10.1212/CON.0000000000001082.


Purpose of review: This article discusses the clinical, neuroimaging, and biomarker profiles of sporadic atypical Alzheimer disease (AD) variants, including early-onset AD, posterior cortical atrophy, logopenic variant primary progressive aphasia, dysexecutive variant and behavioral variant AD, and corticobasal syndrome.

Recent findings: Significant advances are being made in the recognition and characterization of the syndromically diverse AD variants. These variants are identified by the predominant cognitive and clinical features: early-onset amnestic syndrome, aphasia, visuospatial impairments, dysexecutive and behavioral disturbance, or motor symptoms. Although understanding of regional susceptibility to disease remains in its infancy, visualizing amyloid and tau pathology in vivo and CSF examination of amyloid-β and tau proteins are particularly useful in atypical AD, which can be otherwise prone to misdiagnosis. Large-scale research efforts, such as LEADS (the Longitudinal Early-Onset Alzheimer Disease Study), are currently ongoing and will continue to shed light on our understanding of these diverse presentations.

Summary: Understanding the clinical, neuroimaging, and biomarker profiles of the heterogeneous group of atypical AD syndromes improves diagnostic accuracy in patients who are at increased risk of misdiagnosis. Earlier accurate identification facilitates access to important interventions, social services and disability assistance, and crucial patient and family education.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease* / diagnosis
  • Alzheimer Disease* / pathology
  • Aphasia*
  • Atrophy
  • Biomarkers
  • Humans
  • Neuroimaging
  • tau Proteins / metabolism


  • Biomarkers
  • tau Proteins