Dementia has been increasingly more recognized to be a common feature in patients with Parkinson's disease (PD), especially in old age. Specific criteria for the clinical diagnosis of dementia associated with PD (PD-D), however, have been lacking. A Task Force, organized by the Movement Disorder Study, was charged with the development of clinical diagnostic criteria for PD-D. The Task Force members were assigned to sub-committees and performed a systematic review of the literature, based on pre-defined selection criteria, in order to identify the epidemiological, clinical, auxillary, and pathological features of PD-D. Clinical diagnostic criteria were then developed based on these findings and group consensus. The incidence of dementia in PD is increased up to six times, point-prevelance is close to 30%, older age and akinetic-rigid form are associated with higher risk. PD-D is characterized by impairment in attention, memory, executive and visuo-spatial functions, behavioral symptoms such as affective changes, hallucinations, and apathy are frequent. There are no specific ancillary investigations for the diagnosis; the main pathological correlate is Lewy body-type degeneration in cerebral cortex and limbic structures. Based on the characteristic features associated with this condition, clinical diagnostic criteria for probable and possible PD-D are proposed.
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