The case of an 82-year-old female with probable Alzheimer's disease (AD), who developed unusual artistic creativity after development of her disease, is described. The possible pathogenetic mechanism is discussed. The patient showed no inclination toward visual arts during her premorbid years. However, 4 years after development of AD suggestive symptoms she started painting beautiful pictures rather impulsively. Some such paintings have been appreciated even by a qualified art expert. Such de novo development of artistic creativity had been described earlier in subjects with the semantic form of fronto-temporal dementia (FTD), but not in AD. The prevailing concept of lateralized compromise and paradoxical functional facilitation, proposed in connection with FTD subjects, may not be applicable in AD subjects where the affection is more diffuse and more posterior in the brain. Hence, the likely pathogenetic mechanism involved in the case described may remain uncertain. Possibilities are discussed.
To summarize, the exact mechanism contributing to the prolific artistic creativity in the present case remains a mystery. The question why this phenomenon is not observed in many patients with AD remains also unanswered.