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Neuropsychological disorders, dementia, and behavioural neurology 

Neuropsychological disorders, dementia, and behavioural neurology
Neuropsychological disorders, dementia, and behavioural neurology

Martin Rossor

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date: 13 December 2019

The diseases which disrupt the cerebral cortex and its subcortical connections result in a wide variety of clinical features. These include the classical syndromes of higher cortical dysfunction such as the dysphasias, dyspraxias, amnesias, and agnosias together with a wide variety of behavioural and emotional disturbances. Such disorders frequently overlap with the clinical disciplines of clinical psychology and psychiatry. Historically there has been a broad split between those diseases which are seen by neurologists and those that are seen by psychiatrists. To some extent the distinction reflects the different clinical approaches employed; neurologists concentrate on the generality of disease caused by lesions in defined areas, whereas psychiatrists often deal with diseases that show a greater interaction with the individuals own personal history and place in society (Lishman 1987). In this chapter disturbances of higher cortical function, the dementias, and behavioural aspects of neurological lesions are discussed. Awareness of the occasional presentation of psychiatric disease to the neurologists is important and further details are available in textbooks of psychiatry. A review of clinical syndromes referable to identified areas of the cerebral cortex, is followed by a functional approach which discusses the main neuropsychological syndromes. The more generalized cognitive impairment seen with the dementias such as Alzheimer’s disease, dementia with Lewy bodies, and the frontotemporal lobar degenerations are then reviewed followed by areas of neuropsychiatric overlap.

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