Diseases & Conditions


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Binswanger's disease


The disease is caused by damage to the brain Lawyers acting for Edgar Pearce - the Mardi Gra bomber - have claimed he suffers from Binswanger's disease, and that this rare form of dementia is the reason for his attacks on Barclays Bank and the Sainsbury's supermarket chain. What is it? Binswanger's disease is an extremely rare form of dementia that can affect a sufferer's thought processes. The US National Institute of Neurological Disease and Stroke (NINDS) says it is characterised by damage in the deep white-matter of the brain, loss of memory and cognition, and mood changes. Patients usually show signs of abnormal blood pressure, stroke, blood abnormalities, disease of the large blood vessels in the neck, and disease of the heart valves. Other prominent features of the disease include urinary incontinence, difficulty walking, shaking similar to that seen in Parkinson's disease, and depression. These symptoms are not always present in all patients and may sometimes appear only as a passing phase. Seizures may also be present. Who gets it? The disease can be triggered by a stroke or other event that leads to brain damage. Some of the symptoms are more common in patients over the age of 60. Can it be treated? There is no specific treatment for Binswanger's disease. What treatment there is consists of keeping the symptoms under control. This often involves the use of medications to control high blood pressure, depression, irregular heart beats and low blood pressure. What is the outlook? There is no cure for Binswanger's disease, and patients with the disorder usually die within five years of its onset. This page contains basic information. If you are concerned about your health, you should consult a doctor.