Multi-Infarct Dementia and Binswanger's Disease
Multi-infarct dementia (MID) is a type of vascular dementia caused by numerous small strokes in the brain. Typically, MID involves multiple damaged areas, called infarcts, along with extensive lesions in the white matter, or nerve fibers, of the brain. White matter is found in the inner layers of the brain and contains many nerve fibers coated with a whitish, fatty substance called myelin.
Because the infarcts in multi-infarct dementia affect isolated areas of the brain, the symptoms of dementia are often limited to one side of the body, or they may affect just one or a few specific functions, such as language. Neurologists call these "local" or "focal" symptoms, as opposed to the "global" symptoms seen in Alzheimer's disease, which affect many functions and are not restricted to one side of the body.
Sudden appearances of any of the following symptoms may be a sign of multi-infarct dementia. Dementia symptoms include:
- Confusion and problems with recent memory
- Wandering or getting lost in familiar places
- Moving with rapid, shuffling steps
- Loss of bladder or bowel control
- Laughing or crying inappropriately
- Difficulty following instructions
- Problems handling money.
The most characteristic symptom of Binswanger's disease is psychomotor slowness - an increase in the length of time it takes, for example, for the fingers to turn the thought of a letter into the shape of a letter on a piece of paper.
Other symptoms of Binswanger's disease may include:
These symptoms, which tend to begin after the age of 60, are not always present in all people with the condition and may sometimes appear only as a passing phase.