Based on the recent literature and collective experience, an international consortium developed revised guidelines for the diagnosis of behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia. The validation process retrospectively reviewed clinical records and compared the sensitivity of proposed and earlier criteria in a multi-site sample of patients with pathologically verified frontotemporal lobar degeneration. According to the revised criteria, ‘possible’ behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia requires three of six clinically discriminating features (disinhibition, apathy/inertia, loss of sympathy/empathy, perseverative/compulsive behaviours, hyperorality and dysexecutive neuropsychological profile). ‘Probable’ behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia adds functional disability and characteristic neuroimaging, while behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia ‘with definite frontotemporal lobar degeneration’ requires histopathological confirmation or a pathogenic mutation. Sixteen brain banks contributed cases meeting histopathological criteria for frontotemporal lobar degeneration and a clinical diagnosis of behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia with Lewy bodies or vascular dementia at presentation. Cases with predominant primary progressive aphasia or extra-pyramidal syndromes were excluded. In these autopsy-confirmed cases, an experienced neurologist or psychiatrist ascertained clinical features necessary for making a diagnosis according to previous and proposed criteria at presentation. Of 137 cases where features were available for both proposed and previously established criteria, 118 (86%) met ‘possible’ criteria, and 104 (76%) met criteria for ‘probable’ behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia. In contrast, 72 cases (53%) met previously established criteria for the syndrome (P < 0.001 for comparison with ‘possible’ and ‘probable’ criteria). Patients who failed to meet revised criteria were significantly older and most had atypical presentations with marked memory impairment. In conclusion, the revised criteria for behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia improve diagnostic accuracy compared with previously established criteria in a sample with known frontotemporal lobar degeneration. Greater sensitivity of the proposed criteria may reflect the optimized diagnostic features, less restrictive exclusion features and a flexible structure that accommodates different initial clinical presentations. Future studies will be needed to establish the reliability and specificity of these revised diagnostic guidelines.
behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia; diagnostic criteria; frontotemporal lobar degeneration; FTD; pathology
Right temporal frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is an anatomic variant of FTD associated with relatively distinct behavioral and cognitive symptoms. We aimed to determine whether right temporal FTD is a homogeneous clinical, imaging, and pathologic/genetic entity.
In this case-control study, 101 subjects with FTD were identified. Atlas-based parcellation generated temporal, frontal, and parietal grey matter volumes which were used to identify subjects with a right temporal dominant atrophy pattern. Clinical, neuropsychological, genetic, and neuropathologic features were reviewed. The subjects with right temporal FTD were grouped by initial clinical diagnosis and voxel-based morphometry was used to assess grey matter loss in the different groups, compared to controls, and each other.
We identified 20 subjects with right temporal FTD. Twelve had been initially diagnosed with behavioral variant FTD (bvFTD), and the other 8 with semantic dementia (SMD). Personality change and inappropriate behaviors were more frequent in the bvFTD group, while prosopagnosia, word-finding difficulties, comprehension problems, and topographagnosia were more frequent in the SMD group. The bvFTD group showed greater loss in frontal lobes than the SMD group. The SMD group showed greater fusiform loss than the bvFTD group. All 8 bvFTD subjects with pathologic/genetic diagnosis showed abnormalities in tau protein (7 with tau mutations), while all three SMD subjects with pathology showed abnormalities in TDP-43 (p = 0.006).
We have identified 2 subtypes of right temporal variant frontotemporal dementia (FTD) allowing further differentiation of FTD subjects with underlying tau pathology from those with TDP-43 pathology.
= Alzheimer Disease Patient Registry;
= Alzheimer Disease Research Center;
= behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia;
= Clinical Dementia Rating Scale sum of boxes;
= False Discovery Rate;
= frontotemporal dementia;
= Mini-Mental State Examination;
= Neuropsychiatric Inventory;
= semantic dementia;
= tissue probability map;
= voxel-based morphometry.
The behavioural variant of frontotemporal dementia is a progressive neurodegenerative syndrome characterized by changes in personality and behaviour. It is typically associated with frontal lobe atrophy, although patterns of atrophy are heterogeneous. The objective of this study was to examine case-by-case variability in patterns of grey matter atrophy in subjects with the behavioural variant of frontotemporal dementia and to investigate whether behavioural variant of frontotemporal dementia can be divided into distinct anatomical subtypes. Sixty-six subjects that fulfilled clinical criteria for a diagnosis of the behavioural variant of frontotemporal dementia with a volumetric magnetic resonance imaging scan were identified. Grey matter volumes were obtained for 26 regions of interest, covering frontal, temporal and parietal lobes, striatum, insula and supplemental motor area, using the automated anatomical labelling atlas. Regional volumes were divided by total grey matter volume. A hierarchical agglomerative cluster analysis using Ward's clustering linkage method was performed to cluster the behavioural variant of frontotemporal dementia subjects into different anatomical clusters. Voxel-based morphometry was used to assess patterns of grey matter loss in each identified cluster of subjects compared to an age and gender-matched control group at P < 0.05 (family-wise error corrected). We identified four potentially useful clusters with distinct patterns of grey matter loss, which we posit represent anatomical subtypes of the behavioural variant of frontotemporal dementia. Two of these subtypes were associated with temporal lobe volume loss, with one subtype showing loss restricted to temporal lobe regions (temporal-dominant subtype) and the other showing grey matter loss in the temporal lobes as well as frontal and parietal lobes (temporofrontoparietal subtype). Another two subtypes were characterized by a large amount of frontal lobe volume loss, with one subtype showing grey matter loss in the frontal lobes as well as loss of the temporal lobes (frontotemporal subtype) and the other subtype showing loss relatively restricted to the frontal lobes (frontal-dominant subtype). These four subtypes differed on clinical measures of executive function, episodic memory and confrontation naming. There were also associations between the four subtypes and genetic or pathological diagnoses which were obtained in 48% of the cohort. The clusters did not differ in behavioural severity as measured by the Neuropsychiatric Inventory; supporting the original classification of the behavioural variant of frontotemporal dementia in these subjects. Our findings suggest behavioural variant of frontotemporal dementia can therefore be subdivided into four different anatomical subtypes.
behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia; atrophy; cluster analysis; voxel-based morphometry
Objective: To document the prevalence and pattern of stereotypic behaviour in patients with Alzheimer's dementia and frontal and temporal variants of frontotemporal dementia. Secondly, to examine the relationship between stereotypic and other neuropsychiatric behaviours.
Methods: Patients with the following were studied; Alzheimer's disease (n=28), frontal variant frontotemporal dementia (fvFTD, n=18), and semantic dementia—the temporal lobe variant of FTD (n=13). All patients were assessed using the Neuropsychiatric Inventory (NPI), the Mini-Mental State Examination, Addenbrooke's Cognitive Examination, and the Clinical Dementia Rating scale. Patients were also rated on the newly devised Stereotypic and Ritualistic Behaviour (SRB) subscale, which was designed as an addendum to the NPI.
Results: There was no significant difference across diagnostic groups in terms of age, sex, or severity of cognitive deficits. The overall NPI was significantly higher in patients with fvFTD compared with the other two groups, but fvFTD and semantic dementia showed a similar, and significantly increased, prevalence of stereotypic behaviours on the SRB subscale. Within the FTD group as a whole these behaviours were more likely to be complex, whereas in Alzheimer's disease, when present, such behaviours tended to be more simple stereotypies or stimulus bound repetitive behaviours. Stereotypic behaviours were not correlated with either disease severity or the extent of cognitive impairment in the fvFTD group, but were in the other two diagnostic groups.
Conclusion: Complex stereotypic behaviours are a core feature of the dementing syndrome in FTD and may reflect early and specific deficits in orbitofrontal circuitry and basal ganglia involvement.
Measurement of volumetric changes with MR might be a useful surrogate endpoint for clinical trials in frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD). Because there is only limited longitudinal imaging data currently available, we measured the rate of change over 1 year of whole brain volume (WBV) and ventricular volume (VV) in patients with FTLD.
Subjects with an FTLD cognitive syndrome were recruited from five centers using standard clinical diagnostic criteria for behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD), progressive nonfluent aphasia (PNFA), semantic dementia (SMD), and progressive logopenic aphasia. Structural brain imaging, using three-dimensional T1-weighted sequences at 1.5 teslas, and cognitive, behavioral, and functional assessments were performed at baseline and approximately 1 year later. The boundary shift integral algorithm was used to determine change in WBV and VV.
There were 76 patients (mean age 64 years; 41 men and 35 women) who had usable baseline and annual scans. The group-wise annualized change was −1.62% (SD 1.03, range +0.69 to −3.6) for WBV and 11.6% (SD 5.9, range −1.3 to 23.9) for VV. Rates of change were similar among bvFTD, PNFA, and SMD groups. Longitudinal changes in WBV and VV were correlated with decline on clinical global and cognitive measures.
Multicenter, serial measurements of whole brain volume (WBV) and ventricular volume (VV) from magnetic resonance scans were feasible in patients with frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD). Using WBV or VV as outcome measures would require recruiting (at 80% power) 139 or 55 subjects per group to detect a small (25%) or medium-sized (40%) effect in a randomized, placebo-controlled trial of a putative agent for FTLD.
= Alzheimer disease;
= boundary shift integral;
= behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia;
= corticobasal degeneration;
= confidence interval;
= frontotemporal lobar degeneration;
= frontotemporal lobar degeneration modified Clinical Dementia Rating Scale;
= Mini-Mental State Examination;
= magnetic resonance;
= not significant;
= progressive logopenic aphasia;
= progressive nonfluent aphasia;
= progressive supranuclear palsy;
= semantic dementia;
= total intracranial volume;
= ventricular volume;
= whole brain volume.
investigate the prevalence of changes in mood, personality, and
behaviour in frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and Alzheimer's disease
(AD) and hence, which features reliably distinguish between them. To
establish whether the frontal and temporal variants of FTD are
characterised by different behavioural changes.
questionnaire was designed to assess a wide range of neuropsychiatric
changes; it incorporated features reported in previous studies of FTD
and components of the neuropsychiatric inventory.1 This
was completed by 37 carers of patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD)
and 33 patients with frontotemporal dementia (FTD), comprising 20 with
temporal variant FTD (tv FTD) or semantic dementia and 13 with frontal
variant FTD (fv FTD). An exploratory principal components factor
analysis and discriminant function analysis was applied.
analysis showed four robust and meaningful symptom clusters: factor 1—stereotypic and eating behaviour; factor 2—executive dysfunction
and self care; factor 3—mood changes; factor 4—loss of social
awareness. Only stereotypic and altered eating behaviour and loss of
social awareness reliably differentiated AD from FTD with no effect of
disease severity. By contrast, executive dysfunction, poor self care,
and restlessness showed a significant effect of disease severity only,
with the more impaired patients scoring more highly. Changes in mood
were found to be equally prevalent in the three patient groups.
Analysis of individual symptoms showed increased rates of mental
rigidity and depression in the patients with semantic dementia compared
with those with fv FTD. Conversely, the latter group showed greater
disinhibition. Discriminant function analysis correctly classified
71.4% overall and 86.5% of the patients with AD.
questionnaire disclosed striking differences between patients with FTD
and AD, but only stereotypic behaviour, changes in eating preference,
disinhibition, and features of poor social awareness reliably separated
the groups. The patients with fv FTD and semantic dementia were
behaviourally very similar, reflecting the involvement of a common
network, the ventral frontal lobe, temporal pole, and amygdala.
Dysexecutive symptoms and poor self care were found to be affected by
the severity of the disease, reflecting perhaps spread to dorsolateral
prefrontal areas relatively late in the course of both FTD and AD. This
questionnaire may be of value in the diagnosis and the monitoring of therapies.
Behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD) and Alzheimer’s disease (AD) dementia are characterised by progressive brain atrophy. Longitudinal MRI volumetry may help to characterise ongoing structural degeneration and support the differential diagnosis of dementia subtypes. Automated, observer-independent atlas-based MRI volumetry was applied to analyse 102 MRI data sets from 15 bvFTD, 14 AD, and 10 healthy elderly control participants with consecutive scans over at least 12 months. Anatomically defined targets were chosen a priori as brain structures of interest. Groups were compared regarding volumes at clinic presentation and annual change rates. Baseline volumes, especially of grey matter compartments, were significantly reduced in bvFTD and AD patients. Grey matter volumes of the caudate and the gyrus rectus were significantly smaller in bvFTD than AD. The bvFTD group could be separated from AD on the basis of caudate volume with high accuracy (79% cases correct). Annual volume decline was markedly larger in bvFTD and AD than controls, predominantly in white matter of temporal structures. Decline in grey matter volume of the lateral orbitofrontal gyrus separated bvFTD from AD and controls. Automated longitudinal MRI volumetry discriminates bvFTD from AD. In particular, greater reduction of orbitofrontal grey matter and temporal white matter structures after 12 months is indicative of bvFTD.
To compare clinical, imaging, and neuropsychological characteristics and longitudinal course of subjects with premild cognitive impairment (Pre-MCI), who exhibit features of MCI on clinical examination but lack impairment on neuropsychological examination, to subjects with no cognitive impairment (NCI), nonamnestic MCI (naMCI), amnestic MCI (aMCI), and mild dementia.
For 369 subjects, clinical dementia rating sum of boxes (CDR-SB), ApoE genotyping, cardiovascular risk factors, parkinsonism (UPDRS) scores, structural brain MRIs, and neuropsychological testing were obtained at baseline, whereas 275 of these subjects received an annual follow-up for 2–3 years.
At baseline, Pre-MCI subjects showed impairment on tests of executive function and language, higher apathy scores, and lower left hippocampal volumes (HPCV) in comparison to NCI subjects. Pre-MCI subjects showed less impairment on at least one memory measure, CDR-SB and UPDRS scores, in comparison to naMCI, aMCI and mild dementia subjects. Follow-up over 2–3 years showed 28.6% of Pre-MCI subjects, but less than 5% of NCI subjects progressed to MCI or dementia. Progression rates to dementia were equivalent between naMCI (22.2%) and aMCI (34.5%) groups, but greater than for the Pre-MCI group (2.4%). Progression to dementia was best predicted by the CDR-SB, a list learning and executive function test.
This study demonstrates that clinically defined Pre-MCI has cognitive, functional, motor, behavioral and imaging features that are intermediate between NCI and MCI states at baseline. Pre-MCI subjects showed accelerated rates of progression to MCI as compared to NCI subjects, but slower rates of progression to dementia than MCI subjects.
Algorithmic diagnosis; Alzheimer disease; amnestic MCI; clinical diagnosis; dementia; hippocampal volume; longitudinal analysis; MCI; mild cognitive impairment; MRI; neuropsychological tests; pre-MCI
Behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia and semantic dementia have been associated with striatal degeneration, but few studies have delineated striatal subregion volumes in vivo or related them to clinical phenotype. We traced caudate, putamen, and nucleus accumbens on MR images to quantify volumes of these structures in behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia, semantic dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and healthy controls (n = 12 per group). We further related these striatal volumes to clinical deficits and neuropathological findings in a subset of patients. Behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia and semantic dementia showed significant overall striatal atrophy compared with controls. Moreover, behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia showed panstriatal degeneration whereas semantic dementia featured a more focal pattern involving putamen and accumbens. Right-sided striatal atrophy, especially in the putamen, correlated with overall behavioral symptom severity and with specific behavioral domains. At autopsy, patients with behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia and semantic dementia showed striking and severe tau or TAR DNA-binding protein of 43 kDa pathology, especially in ventral parts of the striatum. These results demonstrate that ventral striatum degeneration is a prominent shared feature in behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia and semantic dementia and may contribute to social-emotional deficits common to both disorders.
Relating clinical symptoms to neuroanatomical profiles of brain damage and ultimately to tissue pathology is a key challenge in the field of neurodegenerative disease and particularly relevant to the heterogeneous disorders that comprise the frontotemporal lobar degeneration spectrum. Here we present a retrospective analysis of clinical, neuropsychological and neuroimaging (volumetric and voxel-based morphometric) features in a pathologically ascertained cohort of 95 cases of frontotemporal lobar degeneration classified according to contemporary neuropathological criteria. Forty-eight cases (51%) had TDP-43 pathology, 42 (44%) had tau pathology and five (5%) had fused-in-sarcoma pathology. Certain relatively specific clinicopathological associations were identified. Semantic dementia was predominantly associated with TDP-43 type C pathology; frontotemporal dementia and motoneuron disease with TDP-43 type B pathology; young-onset behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia with FUS pathology; and the progressive supranuclear palsy syndrome with progressive supranuclear palsy pathology. Progressive non-fluent aphasia was most commonly associated with tau pathology. However, the most common clinical syndrome (behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia) was pathologically heterogeneous; while pathologically proven Pick's disease and corticobasal degeneration were clinically heterogeneous, and TDP-43 type A pathology was associated with similar clinical features in cases with and without progranulin mutations. Volumetric magnetic resonance imaging, voxel-based morphometry and cluster analyses of the pathological groups here suggested a neuroanatomical framework underpinning this clinical and pathological diversity. Frontotemporal lobar degeneration-associated pathologies segregated based on their cerebral atrophy profiles, according to the following scheme: asymmetric, relatively localized (predominantly temporal lobe) atrophy (TDP-43 type C); relatively symmetric, relatively localized (predominantly temporal lobe) atrophy (microtubule-associated protein tau mutations); strongly asymmetric, distributed atrophy (Pick's disease); relatively symmetric, predominantly extratemporal atrophy (corticobasal degeneration, fused-in-sarcoma pathology). TDP-43 type A pathology was associated with substantial individual variation; however, within this group progranulin mutations were associated with strongly asymmetric, distributed hemispheric atrophy. We interpret the findings in terms of emerging network models of neurodegenerative disease: the neuroanatomical specificity of particular frontotemporal lobar degeneration pathologies may depend on an interaction of disease-specific and network-specific factors.
frontotemporal dementia; frontotemporal lobar degeneration; voxel-based morphometry; MRI; neural network
Despite growing clinical and neurobiological interest in the brain mechanisms that process emotion in music, these mechanisms remain incompletely understood. Patients with frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) frequently exhibit clinical syndromes that illustrate the effects of breakdown in emotional and social functioning. Here we investigated the neuroanatomical substrate for recognition of musical emotion in a cohort of 26 patients with FTLD (16 with behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia, bvFTD, 10 with semantic dementia, SemD) using voxel-based morphometry. On neuropsychological evaluation, patients with FTLD showed deficient recognition of canonical emotions (happiness, sadness, anger and fear) from music as well as faces and voices compared with healthy control subjects. Impaired recognition of emotions from music was specifically associated with grey matter loss in a distributed cerebral network including insula, orbitofrontal cortex, anterior cingulate and medial prefrontal cortex, anterior temporal and more posterior temporal and parietal cortices, amygdala and the subcortical mesolimbic system. This network constitutes an essential brain substrate for recognition of musical emotion that overlaps with brain regions previously implicated in coding emotional value, behavioural context, conceptual knowledge and theory of mind. Musical emotion recognition may probe the interface of these processes, delineating a profile of brain damage that is essential for the abstraction of complex social emotions.
► Emotion recognition from music is impaired in frontotemporal lobar degeneration. ► This deficit is associated with atrophy in a distributed cerebral network. ► This network includes cortical and mesolimbic areas likely to code social emotions.
Music; Emotion; Dementia; Frontotemporal; FTLD; VBM
There is currently much interest in biomarkers of disease activity in frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD). We assessed MRI and behavioral measures of progression in a longitudinal FTLD cohort.
Thirty-two patients with FTLD (11 behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia [bvFTD], 11 semantic dementia [SemD], 10 progressive nonfluent aphasia [PNFA]) and 24 age-matched healthy controls were assessed using volumetric brain MRI and standard behavioral measures (Mini-Mental State Examination, Frontal Assessment Battery, Clinical Dementia Rating Scale, Neuropsychiatric Inventory with Caregiver Distress scale) at baseline and 1 year later. A semi-automated image registration protocol was used to calculate annualized rates of brain atrophy (brain boundary shift integral [BBSI]) and ventricular expansion (ventricular boundary shift integral [VBSI]). Associations between these rates and changes in behavioral indices were investigated.
Rates of whole brain atrophy were greater in the entire FTLD cohort and in each subgroup compared with controls (all p ≤ 0.004). Rates of ventricular expansion were greater in the entire cohort (p < 0.001) and the SemD (p = 0.002) and PNFA (p = 0.05) subgroups compared with controls. Changes in Mini-Mental State Examination, Frontal Assessment Battery, and Clinical Dementia Rating Scale scores were associated with MRI measures of progression, though not uniformly across FTLD subgroups. Both BBSI and VBSI yielded feasible sample size estimates for detecting meaningful treatment effects in SemD and PNFA language subgroups. Sample sizes were substantially larger using MRI biomarkers for the bvFTD subgroup, and using behavioral biomarkers in general.
Semi-automated MRI atrophy measures are potentially useful objective biomarkers of progression in frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD); however, careful stratification of FTLD subtypes will be important in future clinical trials of disease-modifying therapies.
= Alzheimer disease;
= brain boundary shift integral;
= behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia;
= Clinical Dementia Rating Scale-Sums of Boxes;
= frontotemporal lobar degeneration;
= semantic dementia;
= progressive nonfluent aphasia;
= ventricular boundary shift integral.
Deficits of flavour processing may be clinically important in frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD).
To examine flavour processing in FTLD.
We studied flavour identification prospectively in 25 patients with FTLD (12 with behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD), eight with semantic variant primary progressive aphasia (svPPA), five with non-fluent variant primary progressive aphasia (nfvPPA)) and 17 healthy control subjects, using a new test based on cross-modal matching of flavours to words and pictures. All subjects completed a general neuropsychological assessment, and odour identification was also assessed using a modified University of Pennsylvania Smell Identification Test. Brain MRI volumes from the patient cohort were analysed using voxel-based morphometry to identify regional grey matter associations of flavour identification.
Relative to the healthy control group, the bvFTD and svPPA subgroups showed significant (p<0.05) deficits of flavour identification and all three FTLD subgroups showed deficits of odour identification. Flavour identification performance did not differ significantly between the FTLD syndromic subgroups. Flavour identification performance in the combined FTLD cohort was significantly (p<0.05 after multiple comparisons correction) associated with grey matter volume in the left entorhinal cortex, hippocampus, parahippocampal gyrus and temporal pole.
Certain FTLD syndromes are associated with impaired flavour identification and this is underpinned by grey matter atrophy in an anteromedial temporal lobe network. These findings may have implications for our understanding of abnormal eating behaviour in these diseases.
Cognition; Dementia; Neuropsychology; MRI; Neuroanatomy
The study examined the feasibility of differentiating frontotemporal dementia from Alzheimer's disease on the basis of retrospective historical information obtained from relatives of patients. A structured questionnaire was devised of patients' symptoms, with emphasis on those cognitive and neuropsychiatric features found in earlier prospective clinical studies to distinguish the two conditions. The questionnaire was given to close relatives of deceased patients in whom the diagnosis of non-Alzheimer's frontotemporal degeneration of Alzheimer's disease had been verified at necropsy. The interviewer had no previous contact or knowledge of those patients, nor clinical experience of patients with frontotemporal dementia. The questionnaire elicited a distinct profile of responses for the two diagnostic groups with emphasis on early personality change, unconcern, and socially inappropriate behaviour in frontotemporal dementia and disturbance in memory and topographical orientation prominent in patients with Alzheimer's disease. A scoring system separated out individual patients with frontotemporal dementia from those with Alzheimer's disease. It is concluded that it is possible to obtain useful information about the precise pattern of dementia from informants even many years after the patient's death. The questionnaire provides the foundation of a diagnostic instrument for use in family history studies of dementia.
The standard 6 domain Clinical Dementia Rating Scale (CDRstd) scale has been successful for staging patients with the clinical syndrome of probable Alzheimer's disease (AD). The CDRstd does not specifically address language dysfunction or alteration in personality and social behaviors which are prominent in behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD) and Primary Progressive Aphasia (PPA).
To determine the value of adding domains of Language (LANG) and Behavior, Comportment and Personality (BEHAV) to the CDRstd for the evaluation of patients with bvFTD and PPA.
Two new domains, LANG and BEHAV, were constructed to parallel the 6 domains sampled in the CDRstd. Clinical and neuropsychological test data were obtained from the National Alzheimer's Coordinating Center. The data set contained information on 2550 probable AD, 88 Vascular Dementia, 281 Dementia with Lewy Body, 234 bvFTD and 137 PPA patients.
There were 76.5% of bvFTD and 99.3% of PPA patients with abnormal ratings (>0) on the LANG domain; 90.2% of bvFTD and 63.5% of PPA had abnormal ratings on the BEHAV domain. In patients with a CDRstd sum of boxes score <4, 53.7% of bvFTD had BEHAV domain and 78.6% of PPA patients had LANG domain scores >1. Among probable AD patients, 3.7% had scores in LANG that were ≥ 1 and 3.8% had scores in BEHAV that were ≥ 1. Logistic regression analyses showed that adding either the LANG or BEHAV domains to the CDRstd sum of boxes score significantly improved the discrimination between probable AD, bvFTD and PPA.
The new LANG and BEHAV domains add value to the CDRstd for the characterization of the non-amnestic symptoms that are prominent in patients with bvFTD and PPA but that also occur in those with probable AD.
Alzheimer disease; frontotemporal dementia; primary progressive aphasia; rating scales
Despite the extensive frontal atrophy and behavioral disinhibition that characterizes behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD), many studies of early bvFTD suggest normal executive functioning (EF). The current study examined cognitive control in patients with bvFTD who otherwise seemed cognitively normal.
Subjects included 7 patients with bvFTD with normal neuropsychological test scores, 7 patients with bvFTD matched for Mini-Mental State Examination score but with impaired neuropsychological test scores, and 14 normal controls. A flanker paradigm and other measures of EF were administered to participants. A semiautomated parcellation program was used to analyze structural MRI scans.
On the flanker task, multivariate analysis of variance revealed a significant condition X diagnosis interaction. Both bvFTD groups showed a larger congruency effect than normal controls, i.e., they displayed disproportionately reduced speed and accuracy on incongruent trials relative to congruent trials. Imaging data illustrated significant orbitofrontal atrophy in patients with early bvFTD as compared with controls.
Patients with behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD) who performed within normal limits on clinical tests of executive functioning demonstrated a select impairment on an experimental test of cognitive control, suggesting a subtle impairment in inhibiting attention or response to the irrelevant stimuli. Measures of neuropsychological functioning sensitive to the ventromedial prefrontal cortex may be useful in early diagnosis of patients with bvFTD. Our understanding of this syndrome may be increased by considering the efficiency of selective inhibition, a fundamental component of executive cognitive control.
= analysis of variance;
= behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia;
= Clinical Dementia Rating;
= executive functioning;
= frontotemporal lobar dementia;
= multivariate analysis of covariance;
= mild cognitive impairment;
= Mini-Mental State Examination;
= magnetization-prepared rapid gradient echo;
= magnetic resonance.
Resting-state or intrinsic connectivity network functional magnetic resonance imaging provides a new tool for mapping large-scale neural network function and dysfunction. Recently, we showed that behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia and Alzheimer’s disease cause atrophy within two major networks, an anterior ‘Salience Network’ (atrophied in behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia) and a posterior ‘Default Mode Network’ (atrophied in Alzheimer’s disease). These networks exhibit an anti-correlated relationship with each other in the healthy brain. The two diseases also feature divergent symptom-deficit profiles, with behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia undermining social-emotional function and preserving or enhancing visuospatial skills, and Alzheimer’s disease showing the inverse pattern. We hypothesized that these disorders would exert opposing connectivity effects within the Salience Network (disrupted in behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia but enhanced in Alzheimer’s disease) and the Default Mode Network (disrupted in Alzheimer’s disease but enhanced in behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia). With task-free functional magnetic resonance imaging, we tested these ideas in behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and healthy age-matched controls (n = 12 per group), using independent component analyses to generate group-level network contrasts. As predicted, behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia attenuated Salience Network connectivity, most notably in frontoinsular, cingulate, striatal, thalamic and brainstem nodes, but enhanced connectivity within the Default Mode Network. Alzheimer’s disease, in contrast, reduced Default Mode Network connectivity to posterior hippocampus, medial cingulo-parieto-occipital regions and the dorsal raphe nucleus, but intensified Salience Network connectivity. Specific regions of connectivity disruption within each targeted network predicted intrinsic connectivity enhancement within the reciprocal network. In behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia, clinical severity correlated with loss of right frontoinsular Salience Network connectivity and with biparietal Default Mode Network connectivity enhancement. Based on these results, we explored whether a combined index of Salience Network and Default Mode Network connectivity might discriminate between the three groups. Linear discriminant analysis achieved 92% clinical classification accuracy, including 100% separation of behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Patients whose clinical diagnoses were supported by molecular imaging, genetics, or pathology showed 100% separation using this method, including four diagnostically equivocal ‘test’ patients not used to train the algorithm. Overall, the findings suggest that behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia and Alzheimer’s disease lead to divergent network connectivity patterns, consistent with known reciprocal network interactions and the strength and deficit profiles of the two disorders. Further developed, intrinsic connectivity network signatures may provide simple, inexpensive, and non-invasive biomarkers for dementia differential diagnosis and disease monitoring.
functional magnetic resonance imaging; frontotemporal dementia; Alzheimer’s disease; functional connectivity; biomarker
Many studies have investigated factors associated with the rate of decline and evolution from mild cognitive impairment to Alzheimer’s disease (AD) dementia in elderly patients. In this analysis we compared the rates of decline to dementia estimated from three common global measures of cognition: Mini Mental Status Examination (MMSE) score, Clinical Dementia Rating sum of boxes score (CDR-SB), and a neuropsychological tests composite score (CS).
A total of 2,899 subjects in the National Alzheimer’s Coordinating Center Uniform Data Set age 65+ years diagnosed with amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI) were included in this analysis. Population-averaged decline to dementia rates were estimated and compared for standardized MMSE, CDR-SB, and Composite scores using Generalized Estimating Equations (GEE). Associations between rate of decline and several potential correlates of decline were also calculated and compared across measures.
The CDR-SB had the steepest estimated slope, with a decline of .49 standard deviations (SD) per year, followed by the MMSE with .22 SD/year, and finally the CS with .07 SD/year. The rate of decline of the three measures differed significantly in a global test for differences (p<.0001). Age at visit, BMI at visit, APOE ε4 allele status, and race (black vs. white) had significantly different relationships with rate of decline in a global test for difference among the three measures.
These results suggest that both the rate of decline and the effects of AD risk factors on decline to dementia can vary depending on the evaluative measure used.
neuropsychological testing; Alzheimer’s Disease; cognitive assessment; aging
To design clinical trials for the frontotemporal lobar degenerations (FTLD), knowledge about measurement of disease progression is needed to estimate power and enable the choice of optimal outcome measures. The aim here was to conduct a multicentre, 1 year replica of a clinical trial in patients with one of four FTLD syndromes, behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD), progressive nonfluent aphasia (PNFA), progressive logopenic aphasia (PLA) and semantic dementia (SMD). Patients with one of the four FTLD syndromes were recruited from five academic medical centres over a 2 year period. Standard operationalized diagnostic criteria were used. In addition to clinical inclusion and exclusion criteria, patients were required to exhibit focal frontal, temporal or insular brain atrophy or dysfunction by neuroimaging. Patients underwent neuropsychological, functional, behavioural, neurological and MR imaging assessment at baseline and approximately 12 months later. Potential outcome measures were examined for their rates of floor and ceiling values at baseline and end of study, their mean changes and variances. The neuropsychological tests were combined into two cognitive composites—one for language functions and the other for executive functions. There were 107 patients who underwent baseline assessment and 78 who completed a follow-up assessment within 10–16 months. Two global measures, the FTLD-modified Clinical Dementia Rating (FTLD-modified CDR) and the Clinical Global Impression of Change (CGIC) demonstrated decline in the majority of patients. Several cognitive measures showed negligible floor or ceiling scores either at baseline or follow-up. Scores declined at follow-up in the majority of patients. The cognitive, executive and combined composites were shown to be sensitive to change across all FTLD syndromes. Patients improved at follow-up on the behavioural scales—the Frontal Behavioural Inventory (22%) and the Neuropsychiatric Inventory (28%)—suggesting that these instruments may not be ideal for clinical trial use. It was feasible to recruit FTLD patients in a simulated multi-centre trial. There are several candidate outcome measures—including the FTLD-CDR and the cognitive composites— that could be used in clinical trials across the spectrum of FTLD.
frontotemporal dementia; clinical trials; neuropsychology
Frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) is a clinically and pathologically heterogeneous syndrome, characterized by progressive decline in behaviour or language associated with degeneration of the frontal and anterior temporal lobes. While the seminal cases were described at the turn of the 20th century, FTLD has only recently been appreciated as a leading cause of dementia, particularly in patients presenting before the age of 65 years. Three distinct clinical variants of FTLD have been described: (i) behavioural-variant frontotemporal dementia, characterized by changes in behaviour and personality in association with frontal-predominant cortical degeneration; (ii) semantic dementia, a syndrome of progressive loss of knowledge about words and objects associated with anterior temporal neuronal loss; and (iii) progressive nonfluent aphasia, characterized by effortful language output, loss of grammar and motor speech deficits in the setting of left perisylvian cortical atrophy.
The majority of pathologies associated with FTLD clinical syndromes include either tau-positive (FTLD-TAU) or TAR DNA-binding protein 43 (TDP-43)-positive (FTLD-TDP) inclusion bodies. FTLD overlaps clinically and pathologically with the atypical parkinsonian disorders corticobasal degeneration and progressive supranuclear palsy, and with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. The majority of familial FTLD cases are caused by mutations in the genes encoding microtubule-associated protein tau (leading to FTLD-TAU) or progranulin (leading to FTLD-TDP). The clinical and pathologic heterogeneity of FTLD poses a significant diagnostic challenge, and in vivo prediction of underlying histopathology can be significantly improved by supplementing the clinical evaluation with genetic tests and emerging biological markers. Current pharmacotherapy for FTLD focuses on manipulating serotonergic or dopaminergic neurotransmitter systems to ameliorate behavioural or motor symptoms. However, recent advances in FTLD genetics and molecular pathology make the prospect of biologically driven, disease-specific therapies for FTLD seem closer than ever.
To compare the behavioral features and to investigate the neuroanatomic correlates of behavioral dysfunction in anatomically defined temporal and frontal variants of frontotemporal dementia (tvFTD and fvFTD).
Volumetric measurements of the frontal, anterior temporal, ventromedial frontal cortical (VMFC), and amygdala regions were made in 51 patients with FTD and 20 normal control subjects, as well as 22 patients with Alzheimer disease (AD) who were used as dementia controls. FTD patients were classified as fvFTD or tvFTD based on the relative degree of frontal and anterior temporal volume loss compared with controls. Behavioral symptoms, cerebral volumes, and the relationship between them were examined across groups.
Both variants of FTD showed significant increases in rates of elation, disinhibition, and aberrant motor behavior compared with AD. The fvFTD group also showed more anxiety, apathy, and eating disorders, and tvFTD showed a higher prevalence of sleep disturbances than AD. The only behaviors that differed significantly between fvFTD and tvFTD were apathy, greater in fvFTD, and sleep disorders, more frequent in tvFTD. FvFTD was associated with greater frontal atrophy and tvFTD was associated with more temporal and amygdala atrophy compared with AD, but both groups showed significant atrophy in the VMFC compared with AD, which was not associated with VMFC atrophy. In FTD, the presence of many of the behavioral disorders was associated with decreased volume in right-hemispheric regions.
FvFTD and tvFTD show many similarities in behavior, which appear to be associated with damage to right frontal and temporal structures.
To characterize dementia-induced changes in visual art production.
While case studies show altered visual artistic production in some patients with neurodegenerative disease, no case-controlled studies have quantified this phenomenon across groups of patients.
Forty-nine subjects [18 Alzheimer’s disease (AD), 9 Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD), 9 Semantic Dementia (SD), 15 healthy older controls (NC)] underwent formal neuropsychological testing of visuospatial, perceptual, and creative functioning, and produced four drawings. Subjective elements of drawings were rated by an expert panel that was blind to diagnosis.
Despite equal performance on standard visuospatial tests, dementia groups produced distinct patterns of artistic features that were significantly different from NCs. FTDs used more disordered composition and less active mark-making (p<0.05). Both FTDs and SDs drawings were rated as more bizarre and demonstrated more facial distortion than NCs (p<0.05). Also, SDs drastically failed a standardized test of divergent creativity. ADs artwork was more similar to controls than to FTDs or SDs, but showed a more muted color palette (p<0.05) and trends toward including fewer details, less ordered compositions, and occasional facial distortion.
These group differences in artistic style likely resulted from disease-specific focal neurodegeneration, and elucidate the contributions of particular brain regions to the production of visual art.
frontotemporal lobar degeneration; dementia; visual art; creativity
Changes in personality differ qualitatively and quantitatively between patients with different neurodegenerative diseases, likely due to divergent patterns of regional neurodegeneration. Regional damage to circuits underlying various cognitive and emotional functions have been associated with interpersonal traits like dominance, extraversion, and warmth in patients with neurodegenerative diseases, suggesting that personality may in part be mediated by these more basic neuropsychological functions. In this study, we hypothesized that different combinations of cognitive, neuropsychiatric, and emotional measures would predict different interpersonal traits in patients with neurodegenerative diseases.
A battery of cognitive, neuropsychiatric, and emotional measures was administered to 286 patients with various neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia, semantic dementia, and progressive supranuclear palsy, and informants described patients’ dominance, extraversion, and warmth using the Interpersonal Adjective Scales (IAS) personality questionnaire. Regression modeling was performed to identify which neuropsychological factors uniquely predicted current personality, controlling for age, gender, and premorbid personality.
Social dominance covaried with patients’ capacity for cognitive control and verbal fluency. Conversely, warmth did not rely on these executive or verbal skills, but covaried primarily with patients’ capacity for emotional responsiveness. Extraversion, representing a blend of dominance and warmth, demonstrated an intermediate degree of relationship to both executive/verbal and emotional functions.
These findings suggest that different personality traits are partly subserved by specific cognitive and emotional functions in neurodegenerative disease patients. While this study was performed in the context of brain damage, the results raise the question of whether individual differences in these neuropsychological abilities may also underlie variability in normal personality.
personality; neurodegenerative disease; cognition; emotion
Despite considerable recent interest, the biological basis and clinical diagnosis of behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD) pose unresolved problems. Mentalising (the cognitive capacity to interpret the behaviour of oneself and others in terms of mental states) is impaired as a prominent feature of bvFTD, consistent with involvement of brain regions including ventro-medial prefrontal cortex (PFC), orbitofrontal cortex and anterior temporal lobes. Here, we investigated mentalising ability in a cohort of patients with bvFTD using a novel modality: music. We constructed a novel neuropsychological battery requiring attribution of affective mental or non-mental associations to musical stimuli. Mentalising performance of patients with bvFTD (n = 20) was assessed in relation to matched healthy control subjects (n = 20); patients also had a comprehensive assessment of behaviour and general neuropsychological functions. Neuroanatomical correlates of performance on the experimental tasks were investigated using voxel-based morphometry of patients' brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans. Compared to healthy control subjects, patients showed impaired ability to attribute mental states but not non-mental characteristics to music, and this deficit correlated with performance on a standard test of social inference and with carer ratings of patients' empathic capacity, but not with other potentially relevant measures of general neuropsychological function. Mentalising performance in the bvFTD group was associated with grey matter changes in anterior temporal lobe and ventro-medial PFC. These findings suggest that music can represent surrogate mental states and the ability to construct such mental representations is impaired in bvFTD, with potential implications for our understanding of the biology of bvFTD and human social cognition more broadly.
Mentalising; Theory of mind; Music; Frontotemporal dementia
Behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia is a neurodegenerative disorder with dysfunction and atrophy of the frontal lobes leading to changes in personality, behaviour, empathy, social conduct and insight, with relative preservation of language and memory. As novel treatments begin to emerge, biomarkers of frontotemporal dementia will become increasingly important, including functionally relevant neuroimaging indices of the neurophysiological basis of cognition. We used magnetoencephalography to examine behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia using a semantic decision task that elicits both frontal and temporal activity in healthy people. Twelve patients with behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia (age 50–75) and 16 matched controls made categorical semantic judgements about 400 pictures during continuous magnetoencephalography. Distributed source analysis was used to compare patients and controls. The patients had normal early responses to picture confrontation, indicating intact visual processing. However, a predominantly posterior set of regions including temporoparietal cortex showed reduced source activity 250–310 ms after stimulus onset, in proportion to behavioural measures of semantic association. In contrast, a left frontoparietal network showed reduced source activity at 550–650 ms, proportional to patients’ deficits in attention and orientation. This late deficit probably reflects impairment in the neural substrate of goal-oriented decision making. The results demonstrate behaviourally relevant neural correlates of semantic processing and decision making in behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia, and show for the first time that magnetoencephalography can be used to study cognitive systems in the context of frontotemporal dementia.
frontotemporal; dementia; semantic decision; picture categorization; magnetoencephalography