The article reviewed here is itself a review article ‘Frontal-Subcortical Dementias’ by Raphael Bonelli and Jeffrey L Cummings. Cummings is a prominent figure in the field of Subcortical Dementia and has edited a book on the subject. This article is what I would term an expert review. Although there is no stated methodology there is a carefully considered overview of the field with the authors demonstrating a deep understanding of the field. They argue for the existence of a frontal-subcortical dementia. Thus they group an extensive list of conditions under this heading for the purpose of identifying common clinical features. While the section on anatomical circuits of frontal-subcortical dementia is useful, I found the discussion of neuropsychological features in the frontal-subcortical dementias to be particularly interesting. One of the tables in the paper covers ‘contrasting characteristics of cortical and frontal-subcortical dementia syndromes’ and distills a lot of material into an easily understandable format. The two types of dementia are contrasted in domains such as memory, visuospatial skills, calculation and mood. Even the simple presentation of the material in this way offers the reader a new perspective on a heterogenous conditions which they demonstrate have just as many shared properties as they do differences. The concept of a frontal-subcortical dementia may become more influential and it will be interesting to see how this develops.
Raphael Bonelli and Jeffrey L Cummings. Frontal-Subcortical Dementias. Review Article. The Neurologist. Vol 14. Number 2. 2008. 100-107.
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