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Geriatric Neurology 

Geriatric Neurology
Chapter:
Geriatric Neurology
Source:
Introduction to Clinical Neurology (5 edn)
Author(s):

Douglas J. Gelb

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780190467197.003.0018

Three principles distinguish the neurologic assessment of older patients. First, and most important, people accumulate more diseases the longer they live. Second, some diseases occur primarily in the elderly. Third, even in the absence of any apparent disease, some components of the aging nervous system gradually deteriorate. As a consequence, older patients often have numerous symptoms referable to more than one organ system. The standard approach of trying to localize all symptoms to a single lesion is untenable in many cases. Instead, the question is whether the patient has a degenerative disease affecting sites distributed diffusely throughout the nervous system or a combination of unrelated diseases. The neurologic examination provides useful information for answering this question, but accurate interpretation of the examination requires knowledge of the changes that occur during normal aging.

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