Computerized tomography was used to evaluate 35 patients with senile dementia and proved to be a simple and practical screening procedure. Those patients with moderate or severe cerebral atrophy had a poorer short-term prognosis than those with questionable or mild atrophy. Two patients with potentially treatable illnesses (hypothyroidism and pernicious anaemia) and only questionable atrophy had reversal of the dementia with treatment. A single patient with moderate atrophy had a potentially treatable illness (hypothyroidism) which only partially resolved. Those patients with dementia but relatively little atrophy by computerized tomography may represent a unique group with a better prognosis who require particularly careful evaluation for potentially treatable illnesses.
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