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What are secondary dementias?

Dementia may occur in patients who have other disorders that primarily affect movement or other functions. These cases are often referred to as secondary dementias. The relationship between these disorders and the primary dementias is not always clear. For instance, people with advanced Parkinson's disease, which is primarily a movement disorder, sometimes develop symptoms of dementia. Many Parkinson's patients also have amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles like those found in Alzheimer's disease (AD). The two diseases may be linked in a yet-unknown way, or they may simply co-exist in some people. People with Parkinson's and associated dementia sometimes show signs of Lewy body dementia or progressive supranuclear palsy at autopsy, suggesting that these diseases may also overlap with Parkinson's or that Parkinson's is sometimes misdiagnosed.

Other disorders that may include symptoms of dementia include multiple sclerosis; presenile dementia with motor neuron disease, also called ALS dementia; olivopontocerebellar atrophy (OPCA); Wilson's disease; and normal pressure hydrocephalus (NPH).

This answer is based on source information from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

Secondary dementias are dementia that occurs in patients with disorders that primarily affect movement – Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, motor neuron diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's disease), olivopontocerebellar atrophy, Wilson's disease, and normal pressure hydrocephalus.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.