Binswanger's Disease Symptoms, Treatment, and Prognosis

One Type of Vascular Dementia

Binswanger's Disease is a rare form of dementia sometimes referred to as subcortical vascular dementia. People who have Binswanger's Disease typically have developed a narrowing of the arteries which then restricts blood flow in the brain. In the past, this was commonly referred to as "hardening of the arteries."

Binswanger's Disease Affects Blood Flow in the Brain
Science Picture Co Collection Mix: Subjects/ Getty Images

Other Names

Binswanger's Disease is also known as:

  • Subcortical arteriosclerotic encephalopathy
  • Lacunar dementia
  • Ischemic periventricular leukoencephalopathy
  • Subcortical dementia

Signs and Symptoms

Binswanger's Disease is often associated with the following conditions and symptoms:

Binswanger's disease can also include difficulty with walking, a lack of facial expression, speech difficulties, clumsiness, and incontinence.

About one-third of people with Binswanger's disease experience symptoms suddenly, while the other two-thirds show a more gradual decline.


Brain imaging studies such as MRIs or CTs are helpful in diagnosing Binswanger's disease.

Age of Onset

Signs and symptoms of Binswanger's Disease usually begin after the age of 60 years of age.

Treatment and Prognosis

There is no cure for Binswanger's Disease. However, taking good care of your heart and your brain can delay or slow the progression of the cognitive decline.

Who Was Dr. Binswanger?

Dr. Otto Binswanger was born on October 14, 1852, in Switzerland and died on July 15, 1929. Binswanger became a doctor and directed a mental asylum for many years. In 1894, he noted a condition he called "encephalitis subcorticalis chronica progressiva" which later would be termed Binswanger's disease.

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  • American Family Physician. 1998 Dec 1;58(9):2068-2074. Senile Dementia of the Binswanger's Type.
  • American Journal of Psychiatry. Volume 159 Issue 4, April 2002, pp. 538-538. Images in Psychiatry; Otto Binswanger (1852–1929).
  • National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. NINDS Binswanger's Disease Information Page. August 19, 2015.

By Christine Kennard
 Christine Kennard is a psychiatric nurse practicing in the United Kingdom and co-author of "Alzheimer's Disease: An A-Z For New Caregivers."