Twenty-three patients with hydrocephalic dementia were studied before and after shunt operation, and improvement was found in 12. Before operation, the improved cases showed more symptoms of confabulation, gait disturbance, urinary incontinence, lack of insight, and constructional apraxia. The improvement was also most marked in these symptoms. The significance of general versus specific symptoms, duration, and aetiology is discussed from a differential diagnostic standpoint, and we conclude that the adequate and early diagnosis of hydrocephalic dementia is essential for good outcome after shunt operation, and that psychiatric and psychometric evaluation enable such a diagnosis to be made.
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