Rare Types of Dementia

Talk to your doctor if you or someone close to you has symptoms of any of these rare types of dementia.

Binswanger’s Disease (White matter disease)

Binswanger’s disease (BD) is a rare type of dementia caused by widespread areas of damage to the deep layers of white matter in the brain.

BD is also called subcortical vascular dementia or white matter disease. The arteries in the subcortical areas of the brain (below the cortex or outside of the brain) become hardened and narrowed. The blood supplied by those arteries decreases, and brain tissue dies. This type of brain disease can be seen with brain imaging techniques such as CT scans or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Cognitive functioning
Other symptoms

Dementia associated with corticobasal degeneration

Corticobasal degeneration (CBD) is a part of the range of Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and is caused by nerve cell death and shrinkage of multiple brain areas.

CBD usually occurs in people between the ages of 45-70 and progresses slowly over 6-8 years. People usually have either a movement disorder or cognitive difficulties. As the disease progresses, people may develop both types of symptoms. Movement symptoms progress slowly from one side of the body to the other or from leg to arm on the same side of the body.

Movement symptoms
Cognitive symptoms

Dementia associated with HIV

HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is an infection that weakens the immune system, decreasing the ability of the body to fight infections and diseases.

HIV infection can affect the brain, resulting in mild cognitive complaints and dementia. Cognitive impairment is common in HIV, but dementia is much rarer. Therefore, it can be challenging to diagnose because the symptoms are similar to those of other conditions, such as depression.

Mild cognitive impairment
Other symptoms

Dementia associated with Multiple Sclerosis

Some people with multiple sclerosis (MS) experience some changes in their mental abilities. This depends on the part of the brain affected by the disease.

The decline in mental abilities is not usually severe enough to be called dementia. It is more likely to be described as cognitive difficulties. For more information, please contact the MS Society.

Individuals may be affected in different ways and to different degrees over a period of time. The mental abilities most likely to be affected are:

  • memory
  • concentration
  • problem-solving
  • mood