Clinical Edge

Summaries of Must-Read Clinical Literature, Guidelines, and FDA Actions

Learning Disabilities, Cortical Atrophy Linked

JAMA Neurology; ePub 2018 Apr 9; Miller, et al

Non-language mathematical and visuospatial learning disabilities (LDs) were associated with focal, visuospatial predominant neurodegenerative clinical syndromes, according to a recent study, which supports the hypothesis that neurodevelopmental differences in specific brain networks are associated with phenotypic manifestation of later-life neurodegenerative disease. A total of 179 atypical Alzheimer disease (AD) cases (95 with posterior cortical atrophy [PCA] and 84 with logopenic variant primary progressive aphasia [lvPPA]) and 100 disease control cases (amnestic AD) were included in the study. Researchers found:

  • The groups were not statistically different for mean age at first visit, mean age at first symptom, or sex, but differed on non-right-hand preference, race/ethnicity, and educational level.
  • A total of 18 of the 95 patients with PCA (18.9%) reported a history of LD, which is greater than the 3 of 100 patients (3.0%) in the amnestic AD cohort and the 10.0% expected rate in the general population.


Miller ZA, Rosenberg L, Santos-Santos MA, et al. Prevalence of mathematical and visuospatial learning disabilities in patients with posterior cortical atrophy. [Published online ahead of print April 9, 2018]. JAMA Neurology. doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2018.0395.