Vascular dementia: Diagnostic criteria for research studies: Report of the ninds-airen international workshop*
Criteria for the diagnosis of vascular dementia (VaD) that are reliable, valid, and readily applicable in a variety of settings are urgently needed for both clinical and research purposes. To address this need, the Neuroepidemiology Branch of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) convened an International Workshop with support from the Association Internationale pour la Recherche et l'Enseignement en Neurosciences (AIREN), resulting in research criteria for the diagnosis of VaD. Compared with other current criteria, these guidelines emphasize (1) the heterogeneity of vascular dementia syndromes and pathologic subtypes including ischemic and hemorrhagic strokes, cerebral hypoxic-ischemic events, and senile leukoencephalopathic lesions; (2) the variability in clinical course, which may be static, remitting, or progressive; (3) specific clinical findings early in the course (eg, gait disorder, incontinence, or mood and personality changes) that support a vascular rather than a degenerative cause; (4) the need to establish a temporal relationship between stroke and dementia onset for a secure diagnosis; (5) the importance of brain imaging to support clinical findings; (6) the value of neuropsychological testing to document impairments in multiple cognitive domains; and (7) a protocol for neuropathologic evaluations and correlative studies of clinical, radiologic, and neuropsychological features. These criteria are intended as a guide for case definition in neuroepidemiologic studies, stratified by levels of certainty (definite, probable, and possible). They await testing and validation and will be revised as more information becomes available.