Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of elderly individuals often reveals the presence of cerebrovascular lesions in the subcortical white matter of the brain, which lies beneath the cortex and is responsible for inter- and intrahemispheric communication. However, the extent and location of these lesions can begin to affect memory and cognitive functioning. Major or mild vascular neurocognitive disorder, also known as vascular dementia (VaD), is diagnosed when cerebrovascular lesions progressively affect memory and cognitive functioning. This entry discusses the diagnostic criteria and neuropathology of VaD, as well as associated impairment.

Diagnostic Criteria

There are two primary classification systems or diagnostic criteria. Specifically, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) worked together with support from the Association Internationale pour la Recherche et l’Enseignment en Neurosciences (AIREN) ...

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