Diagnostic Criteria for Vascular Cognitive Disorders: A VASCOG Statement.

Alzheimer disease and associated disorders (Impact Factor: 2.44). 03/2014; 28(3). DOI: 10.1097/WAD.0000000000000034
Source: PubMed


Several sets of diagnostic criteria have been published for vascular dementia since the 1960s. The continuing ambiguity in vascular dementia definition warrants a critical reexamination.
Participants at a special symposium of the International Society for Vascular Behavioral and Cognitive Disorders (VASCOG) in 2009 critiqued the current criteria. They drafted a proposal for a new set of criteria, later reviewed through multiple drafts by the group, including additional experts and the members of the Neurocognitive Disorders Work Group of the fifth revision of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5) Task Force.
Cognitive disorders of vascular etiology are a heterogeneous group of disorders with diverse pathologies and clinical manifestations, discussed broadly under the rubric of vascular cognitive disorders (VCD). The continuum of vascular cognitive impairment is recognized by the categories of Mild Vascular Cognitive Disorder, and Vascular Dementia or Major Vascular Cognitive Disorder. Diagnostic thresholds are defined. Clinical and neuroimaging criteria are proposed for establishing vascular etiology. Subtypes of VCD are described, and the frequent cooccurrence of Alzheimer disease pathology emphasized.
The proposed criteria for VCD provide a coherent approach to the diagnosis of this diverse group of disorders, with a view to stimulating clinical and pathologic validation studies. These criteria can be harmonized with the DSM-5 criteria such that an international consensus on the criteria for VCD may be achieved.

Download full-text


Available from: Florence Pasquier, Jan 02, 2015
238 Reads
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: A major problem in elderly patients is the high incidence of multiple pathologies, referred to as multimorbidity, in the aging brain. It has been increasingly recognized that co-occurrence of neurodegenerative proteinopathies and other pathologies including cerebrovascular disorders is a frequent event in the brains of both cognitively intact and impaired aged subjects. Although clinical and neuropathological diagnostic criteria of the major neurodegenerative diseases have been improved, major challenges arise from cerebral multimorbidity, and the thresholds to cause clinical overt dementia are ill defined. More than 80 % of aged human brains show neurodegenerative non-Alzheimer type proteinopathies and other pathologies which, however, frequently have been missed clinically and are even difficult to identify at neuropathological examination. Autopsy studies differ in selection criteria and the applied evaluation methods. Therefore, irrespective of the clinical symptoms, the frequency of cerebral pathologies vary considerably: Alzheimer-related pathology is seen in 19-100 %, with "pure" Alzheimer's disease (AD) in 17-72 %, Lewy pathology in 6-39 % (AD + Lewy disease 9-28 %), vascular pathologies in 28-93 % (10.7-78 % "pure" vascular dementia), TDP-43 proteinopathy in 6-39 %, hippocampal sclerosis in 8-1 %, and mixed pathologies in 10-93 %. These data clearly suggest that pathologically deposited proteins in neurodegenerating diseases mutually interact and are influenced by other factors, in particular cardiovascular and cerebrovascular ones, to promote cognitive decline and other clinical symptoms. It is obvious that cognitive and other neuropsychiatric impairment in the aged result from a multimorbid condition in the CNS rather than from a single disease and that the number of complex pathologies progresses with increasing age. These facts have implications for improvement of the clinical diagnosis and prognosis, the development of specific biomarkers, preventive strategies and better treatment of cerebral multimorbidity.
    Journal of Neural Transmission 08/2014; 122(4). DOI:10.1007/s00702-014-1288-x · 2.40 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Background and objective: Services dedicated to patients with cognitive and behavioral consequences of cerebrovascular diseases are not well established. In this paper, we report on the general organization of such a service (the Florence VAS-COG Clinic) after 9 years of activity, updating a previous work related to the first 5 years. Methods: The Florence VAS-COG clinic, started in 2006, is an outpatient service dedicated to the assessment and follow-up of patients with cerebrovascular diseases and related cognitive, psychiatric, and behavioral disturbances. The staff involved in the clinic is composed of certified neurologists, one neuropsychologist, and neurology residents. The diagnostic protocol includes detailed personal and family history, general and neurologic examinations, and functional, neuropsychological, and neuroimaging assessment. After this work-up, comprehensive diagnoses are made. Results: From January 2006 to March 2014, 600 patients (mean age 67.3 years ± 13.9; 52% females) have been evaluated in the clinic. Cognitive impairment, including mild cognitive impairment and dementia, mainly of vascular origin, was the most common (36.4%) diagnostic category, followed by suspected or confirmed familial micro-angiopathy (35.8%). Compared to the first years of activity, we are now facing the need of augmenting the number of visits due to increasing request and to better implement the multidisciplinarity of the team. Efforts are currently directed towards the definition of management protocols in pharmacological and non-pharmacological strategies. Conclusions: The establishment of a VAS-COG clinic represents an important step for the appreciation of the patient clinical needs and for the implementation of screening, diagnostic, and treatment options in the field of the neuropsychiatric consequences of cerebrovascular diseases.
    Journal of Alzheimer's disease: JAD 08/2014; 42. DOI:10.3233/JAD-141569 · 4.15 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The incidence rate in Alzheimer's disease (AD) is expected to quadruple worldwide by 2050. To limit this impending socio-medical calamity, a fulcrum change from how AD is presently managed is crucial. The present approach has not averted the stress of AD on medical resources nor reduced the already cost-strained government health care programs. Since substantial evidence indicates that sporadic AD is directly associated with vascular risk factors, a strategic plan is proposed to target this association and markedly reduce the onset of AD. This plan would establish in-house heart-brain clinics devoted to identifying, detecting, and preventing the progression of vascular risk factors that predispose to cognitive impairment and development of AD. The heart-brain clinics would be staffed with a multidisciplinary group of neurologists, psychologists, neuroradiologists, cardiovascular specialists, and technical personnel Their goal would be to apply and interpret non-invasive, cost-effective multidiagnostic testing of heart and brain function in outpatient asymptomatic and symptomatic patients at risk of dementia. Multidiagnostic testing would permit better risk stratification, medical decision-making, and a tailored intervention of patients at-risk of dementia than the present monotherapeutic approach. Personalized intervention, moreover, should achieve better patient compliance and outcome through periodic follow-up visits to the clinics where the medical plan of action could be monitored and modified as needed. Multidisciplinary heart-brain clinics will be costly at first but eventually should become cost-effective while providing an invaluable medical service to an aging population and possibly extending years of full-health lived in those at risk of dementia.
    Journal of Alzheimer's disease: JAD 08/2014; 42. DOI:10.3233/JAD-141560 · 4.15 Impact Factor
Show more