Posterior Cortical Atrophy

1 What is Posterior Cortical Atrophy?

A rare degenerative brain and nervous system disorder or neurological condition which can result in gradually declining vision is called posterior cortical atrophy or PCA.

Difficulty in reading, recognizing objects and familiar faces, and judging distances are some of the most common symptoms of posterior cortical atrophy.

It cal also affect your thinking abilities (cognitive abilities) and memory and is might be related with other neurological conditions, Alzheimer’s disease and Lewy body dementia.

2 Symptoms

The symptoms of posterior cortical atrophy (PCA) vary from one person to another and can change as the disorder progresses.

The symptoms include:

  • damage to the posterior cortex of the brain,
  • neurological damage that can cause difficulty in reading, judging distances, distinguishing between stationary objects and moving objects, difficulty maneuvering, disorientation, difficulty in identifying and how to use tools or things,
  • hallucinations,
  • anxiety, and depression.

3 Causes

There is no known cause for posterior cortical atrophy.

4 Making a Diagnosis

There are no diagnostic criteria for this disorder because the cause of posterior cortical atrophy (PCA) is unknown.

Being misdiagnosed with depression or anxiety is common in PCA. In some cases, a person who has symptoms of PCA will first seek the opinion of an ophthalmologist who will give you an eye examination.

Doctors will rely on blood test, neuropsychological tests, neurological examination and brain scans to rule out any other conditions and to diagnose PCA. 

The posterior cortex is thinner in people with PCA than healthy people with the same age that can be seen in brain imaging.

5 Treatment

There are still no treatments for posterior cortical atrophy (PCA), they are still developing it.

Because PCA have similar symptoms like in Alzheimer’s disease, doctors have suggested the drugs that are used for Alzheimer’s disease to alleviate brain dysfunction in PCA but not yet proven to be effective.

These are prescriptions medicines:

  • cholinesterase inhibitors,
  • antidepressant drugs.

Some people with PCA use psychological treatments or counseling from occupational therapist.

6 Prevention

To prevent the progression of Posterior Cortical Atrophy consult your doctor right away if you are experiencing its symptoms.

You can also seek advice form an ophthalmologist or neurologist.

7 Alternative and Homeopathic Remedies

Since there are no treatments for Posterior Cortical Atrophy (PCA), there are also no homeopathic/alternative remedies.

8 Lifestyle and Coping

Lifestyle modifications are necessary in order to cope with posterior cortical atrophy (PCA)

There are visual aids to assist people with different types of visual impairment that can also help people with PCA, and these are devices such as:

  • mobile telephone with simplified displays or pre-programmable direct dial buttons,
  • talking clocks,
  • cooking aids with sensors that beep when a cup or mug is already full.

You can seek advice from a counselor and find a support group for PCA people so you can seek advices and they can help you cope with posterior cortical atrophy.

9 Risks and Complications

It is not clear if the risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease are also the risk factors for posterior cortical atrophy.