Primary brain tumour may present in the elderly purely as a dementing illness before the onset or detection of sensorimotor neurological symptoms or signs. Although neurological examination may indicate no definite signs, close attention to accepted DSM-IIIR and NINCDS-ADRDA diagnostic criteria for primary degenerative dementia and 'probable' Alzheimer's disease respectively will suggest a process other than a degenerative one. This was the case in two patients with primary brain tumour presenting clinically with dementing illness similar to but distinct from Alzheimer's disease.
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