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1.  Distinct anatomical subtypes of the behavioural variant of frontotemporal dementia: a cluster analysis study 
Brain  2009;132(11):2932-2946.
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.
doi:10.1093/brain/awp232
PMCID: PMC2768663  PMID: 19762452
behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia; atrophy; cluster analysis; voxel-based morphometry
2.  Two distinct subtypes of right temporal variant frontotemporal dementia 
Neurology  2009;73(18):1443-1450.
Background:
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.
Methods:
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.
Results:
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).
Conclusions:
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.
GLOSSARY
= 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.
doi:10.1212/WNL.0b013e3181bf9945
PMCID: PMC2779005  PMID: 19884571
3.  Development of methodology for conducting clinical trials in frontotemporal lobar degeneration 
Brain  2008;131(11):2957-2968.
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.
doi:10.1093/brain/awn234
PMCID: PMC2725027  PMID: 18829698
frontotemporal dementia; clinical trials; neuropsychology
4.  Neuroimaging signatures of frontotemporal dementia genetics: C9ORF72, tau, progranulin and sporadics 
Brain  2012;135(3):794-806.
A major recent discovery was the identification of an expansion of a non-coding GGGGCC hexanucleotide repeat in the C9ORF72 gene in patients with frontotemporal dementia and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Mutations in two other genes are known to account for familial frontotemporal dementia: microtubule-associated protein tau and progranulin. Although imaging features have been previously reported in subjects with mutations in tau and progranulin, no imaging features have been published in C9ORF72. Furthermore, it remains unknown whether there are differences in atrophy patterns across these mutations, and whether regional differences could help differentiate C9ORF72 from the other two mutations at the single-subject level. We aimed to determine the regional pattern of brain atrophy associated with the C9ORF72 gene mutation, and to determine which regions best differentiate C9ORF72 from subjects with mutations in tau and progranulin, and from sporadic frontotemporal dementia. A total of 76 subjects, including 56 with a clinical diagnosis of behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia and a mutation in one of these genes (19 with C9ORF72 mutations, 25 with tau mutations and 12 with progranulin mutations) and 20 sporadic subjects with behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia (including 50% with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), with magnetic resonance imaging were included in this study. Voxel-based morphometry was used to assess and compare patterns of grey matter atrophy. Atlas-based parcellation was performed utilizing the automated anatomical labelling atlas and Statistical Parametric Mapping software to compute volumes of 37 regions of interest. Hemispheric asymmetry was calculated. Penalized multinomial logistic regression was utilized to create a prediction model to discriminate among groups using regional volumes and asymmetry score. Principal component analysis assessed for variance within groups. C9ORF72 was associated with symmetric atrophy predominantly involving dorsolateral, medial and orbitofrontal lobes, with additional loss in anterior temporal lobes, parietal lobes, occipital lobes and cerebellum. In contrast, striking anteromedial temporal atrophy was associated with tau mutations and temporoparietal atrophy was associated with progranulin mutations. The sporadic group was associated with frontal and anterior temporal atrophy. A conservative penalized multinomial logistic regression model identified 14 variables that could accurately classify subjects, including frontal, temporal, parietal, occipital and cerebellum volume. The principal component analysis revealed similar degrees of heterogeneity within all disease groups. Patterns of atrophy therefore differed across subjects with C9ORF72, tau and progranulin mutations and sporadic frontotemporal dementia. Our analysis suggested that imaging has the potential to be useful to help differentiate C9ORF72 from these other groups at the single-subject level.
doi:10.1093/brain/aws001
PMCID: PMC3286334  PMID: 22366795
frontotemporal dementia; magnetic resonance imaging; C9ORF72; tau; progranulin
5.  Measuring disease progression in frontotemporal lobar degeneration 
Neurology  2010;74(8):666-673.
Objectives:
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.
Methods:
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.
Results:
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.
Conclusions:
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.
GLOSSARY
= 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.
doi:10.1212/WNL.0b013e3181d1a879
PMCID: PMC2830919  PMID: 20177120
6.  Divergent network connectivity changes in behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia and Alzheimer’s disease 
Brain  2010;133(5):1352-1367.
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.
doi:10.1093/brain/awq075
PMCID: PMC2912696  PMID: 20410145
functional magnetic resonance imaging; frontotemporal dementia; Alzheimer’s disease; functional connectivity; biomarker
7.  Caregiver- and Patient-Directed Interventions for Dementia 
Executive Summary
In early August 2007, the Medical Advisory Secretariat began work on the Aging in the Community project, an evidence-based review of the literature surrounding healthy aging in the community. The Health System Strategy Division at the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care subsequently asked the secretariat to provide an evidentiary platform for the ministry’s newly released Aging at Home Strategy.
After a broad literature review and consultation with experts, the secretariat identified 4 key areas that strongly predict an elderly person’s transition from independent community living to a long-term care home. Evidence-based analyses have been prepared for each of these 4 areas: falls and fall-related injuries, urinary incontinence, dementia, and social isolation. For the first area, falls and fall-related injuries, an economic model is described in a separate report.
Please visit the Medical Advisory Secretariat Web site, http://www.health.gov.on.ca/english/providers/program/mas/mas_about.html, to review these titles within the Aging in the Community series.
Aging in the Community: Summary of Evidence-Based Analyses
Prevention of Falls and Fall-Related Injuries in Community-Dwelling Seniors: An Evidence-Based Analysis
Behavioural Interventions for Urinary Incontinence in Community-Dwelling Seniors: An Evidence-Based Analysis
Caregiver- and Patient-Directed Interventions for Dementia: An Evidence-Based Analysis
Social Isolation in Community-Dwelling Seniors: An Evidence-Based Analysis
The Falls/Fractures Economic Model in Ontario Residents Aged 65 Years and Over (FEMOR)
This report features the evidence-based analysis on caregiver- and patient-directed interventions for dementia and is broken down into 4 sections:
Introduction
Caregiver-Directed Interventions for Dementia
Patient-Directed Interventions for Dementia
Economic Analysis of Caregiver- and Patient-Directed Interventions for Dementia
Caregiver-Directed Interventions for Dementia
Objective
To identify interventions that may be effective in supporting the well-being of unpaid caregivers of seniors with dementia living in the community.
Clinical Need: Target Population and Condition
Dementia is a progressive and largely irreversible syndrome that is characterized by a loss of cognitive function severe enough to impact social or occupational functioning. The components of cognitive function affected include memory and learning, attention, concentration and orientation, problem-solving, calculation, language, and geographic orientation. Dementia was identified as one of the key predictors in a senior’s transition from independent community living to admission to a long-term care (LTC) home, in that approximately 90% of individuals diagnosed with dementia will be institutionalized before death. In addition, cognitive decline linked to dementia is one of the most commonly cited reasons for institutionalization.
Prevalence estimates of dementia in the Ontario population have largely been extrapolated from the Canadian Study of Health and Aging conducted in 1991. Based on these estimates, it is projected that there will be approximately 165,000 dementia cases in Ontario in the year 2008, and by 2010 the number of cases will increase by nearly 17% over 2005 levels. By 2020 the number of cases is expected to increase by nearly 55%, due to a rise in the number of people in the age categories with the highest prevalence (85+). With the increase in the aging population, dementia will continue to have a significant economic impact on the Canadian health care system. In 1991, the total costs associated with dementia in Canada were $3.9 billion (Cdn) with $2.18 billion coming from LTC.
Caregivers play a crucial role in the management of individuals with dementia because of the high level of dependency and morbidity associated with the condition. It has been documented that a greater demand is faced by dementia caregivers compared with caregivers of persons with other chronic diseases. The increased burden of caregiving contributes to a host of chronic health problems seen among many informal caregivers of persons with dementia. Much of this burden results from managing the behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD), which have been established as a predictor of institutionalization for elderly patients with dementia.
It is recognized that for some patients with dementia, an LTC facility can provide the most appropriate care; however, many patients move into LTC unnecessarily. For individuals with dementia to remain in the community longer, caregivers require many types of formal and informal support services to alleviate the stress of caregiving. These include both respite care and psychosocial interventions. Psychosocial interventions encompass a broad range of interventions such as psychoeducational interventions, counseling, supportive therapy, and behavioural interventions.
Assuming that 50% of persons with dementia live in the community, a conservative estimate of the number of informal caregivers in Ontario is 82,500. Accounting for the fact that 29% of people with dementia live alone, this leaves a remaining estimate of 58,575 Ontarians providing care for a person with dementia with whom they reside.
Description of Interventions
The 2 main categories of caregiver-directed interventions examined in this review are respite care and psychosocial interventions. Respite care is defined as a break or relief for the caregiver. In most cases, respite is provided in the home, through day programs, or at institutions (usually 30 days or less). Depending on a caregiver’s needs, respite services will vary in delivery and duration. Respite care is carried out by a variety of individuals, including paid staff, volunteers, family, or friends.
Psychosocial interventions encompass a broad range of interventions and have been classified in various ways in the literature. This review will examine educational, behavioural, dementia-specific, supportive, and coping interventions. The analysis focuses on behavioural interventions, that is, those designed to help the caregiver manage BPSD. As described earlier, BPSD are one of the most challenging aspects of caring for a senior with dementia, causing an increase in caregiver burden. The analysis also examines multicomponent interventions, which include at least 2 of the above-mentioned interventions.
Methods of Evidence-Based Analysis
A comprehensive search strategy was used to identify systematic reviews and randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that examined the effectiveness of interventions for caregivers of dementia patients.
Questions
Section 2.1
Are respite care services effective in supporting the well-being of unpaid caregivers of seniors with dementia in the community?
Do respite care services impact on rates of institutionalization of these seniors?
Section 2.2
Which psychosocial interventions are effective in supporting the well-being of unpaid caregivers of seniors with dementia in the community?
Which interventions reduce the risk for institutionalization of seniors with dementia?
Outcomes of Interest
any quantitative measure of caregiver psychological health, including caregiver burden, depression, quality of life, well-being, strain, mastery (taking control of one’s situation), reactivity to behaviour problems, etc.;
rate of institutionalization; and
cost-effectiveness.
Assessment of Quality of Evidence
The quality of the evidence was assessed as High, Moderate, Low, or Very low according to the GRADE methodology and GRADE Working Group. As per GRADE the following definitions apply:
Summary of Findings
Conclusions in Table 1 are drawn from Sections 2.1 and 2.2 of the report.
Summary of Conclusions on Caregiver-Directed Interventions
There is limited evidence from RCTs that respite care is effective in improving outcomes for those caring for seniors with dementia.
There is considerable qualitative evidence of the perceived benefits of respite care.
Respite care is known as one of the key formal support services for alleviating caregiver burden in those caring for dementia patients.
Respite care services need to be tailored to individual caregiver needs as there are vast differences among caregivers and patients with dementia (severity, type of dementia, amount of informal/formal support available, housing situation, etc.)
There is moderate- to high-quality evidence that individual behavioural interventions (≥ 6 sessions), directed towards the caregiver (or combined with the patient) are effective in improving psychological health in dementia caregivers.
There is moderate- to high-quality evidence that multicomponent interventions improve caregiver psychosocial health and may affect rates of institutionalization of dementia patients.
RCT indicates randomized controlled trial.
Patient-Directed Interventions for Dementia
Objective
The section on patient-directed interventions for dementia is broken down into 4 subsections with the following questions:
3.1 Physical Exercise for Seniors with Dementia – Secondary Prevention
What is the effectiveness of physical exercise for the improvement or maintenance of basic activities of daily living (ADLs), such as eating, bathing, toileting, and functional ability, in seniors with mild to moderate dementia?
3.2 Nonpharmacologic and Nonexercise Interventions to Improve Cognitive Functioning in Seniors With Dementia – Secondary Prevention
What is the effectiveness of nonpharmacologic interventions to improve cognitive functioning in seniors with mild to moderate dementia?
3.3 Physical Exercise for Delaying the Onset of Dementia – Primary Prevention
Can exercise decrease the risk of subsequent cognitive decline/dementia?
3.4 Cognitive Interventions for Delaying the Onset of Dementia – Primary Prevention
Does cognitive training decrease the risk of cognitive impairment, deterioration in the performance of basic ADLs or instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs),1 or incidence of dementia in seniors with good cognitive and physical functioning?
Clinical Need: Target Population and Condition
Secondary Prevention2
Exercise
Physical deterioration is linked to dementia. This is thought to be due to reduced muscle mass leading to decreased activity levels and muscle atrophy, increasing the potential for unsafe mobility while performing basic ADLs such as eating, bathing, toileting, and functional ability.
Improved physical conditioning for seniors with dementia may extend their independent mobility and maintain performance of ADL.
Nonpharmacologic and Nonexercise Interventions
Cognitive impairments, including memory problems, are a defining feature of dementia. These impairments can lead to anxiety, depression, and withdrawal from activities. The impact of these cognitive problems on daily activities increases pressure on caregivers.
Cognitive interventions aim to improve these impairments in people with mild to moderate dementia.
Primary Prevention3
Exercise
Various vascular risk factors have been found to contribute to the development of dementia (e.g., hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, diabetes, overweight).
Physical exercise is important in promoting overall and vascular health. However, it is unclear whether physical exercise can decrease the risk of cognitive decline/dementia.
Nonpharmacologic and Nonexercise Interventions
Having more years of education (i.e., a higher cognitive reserve) is associated with a lower prevalence of dementia in crossectional population-based studies and a lower incidence of dementia in cohorts followed longitudinally. However, it is unclear whether cognitive training can increase cognitive reserve or decrease the risk of cognitive impairment, prevent or delay deterioration in the performance of ADLs or IADLs or reduce the incidence of dementia.
Description of Interventions
Physical exercise and nonpharmacologic/nonexercise interventions (e.g., cognitive training) for the primary and secondary prevention of dementia are assessed in this review.
Evidence-Based Analysis Methods
A comprehensive search strategy was used to identify systematic reviews and RCTs that examined the effectiveness, safety and cost effectiveness of exercise and cognitive interventions for the primary and secondary prevention of dementia.
Questions
Section 3.1: What is the effectiveness of physical exercise for the improvement or maintenance of ADLs in seniors with mild to moderate dementia?
Section 3.2: What is the effectiveness of nonpharmacologic/nonexercise interventions to improve cognitive functioning in seniors with mild to moderate dementia?
Section 3.3: Can exercise decrease the risk of subsequent cognitive decline/dementia?
Section 3.4: Does cognitive training decrease the risk of cognitive impairment, prevent or delay deterioration in the performance of ADLs or IADLs, or reduce the incidence of dementia in seniors with good cognitive and physical functioning?
Assessment of Quality of Evidence
The quality of the evidence was assessed as High, Moderate, Low, or Very low according to the GRADE methodology. As per GRADE the following definitions apply:
Summary of Findings
Table 2 summarizes the conclusions from Sections 3.1 through 3.4.
Summary of Conclusions on Patient-Directed Interventions*
Previous systematic review indicated that “cognitive training” is not effective in patients with dementia.
A recent RCT suggests that CST (up to 7 weeks) is effective for improving cognitive function and quality of life in patients with dementia.
Regular leisure time physical activity in midlife is associated with a reduced risk of dementia in later life (mean follow-up 21 years).
Regular physical activity in seniors is associated with a reduced risk of cognitive decline (mean follow-up 2 years).
Regular physical activity in seniors is associated with a reduced risk of dementia (mean follow-up 6–7 years).
Evidence that cognitive training for specific functions (memory, reasoning, and speed of processing) produces improvements in these specific domains.
Limited inconclusive evidence that cognitive training can offset deterioration in the performance of self-reported IADL scores and performance assessments.
1° indicates primary; 2°, secondary; CST, cognitive stimulation therapy; IADL, instrumental activities of daily living; RCT, randomized controlled trial.
Benefit/Risk Analysis
As per the GRADE Working Group, the overall recommendations consider 4 main factors:
the trade-offs, taking into account the estimated size of the effect for the main outcome, the confidence limits around those estimates, and the relative value placed on the outcome;
the quality of the evidence;
translation of the evidence into practice in a specific setting, taking into consideration important factors that could be expected to modify the size of the expected effects such as proximity to a hospital or availability of necessary expertise; and
uncertainty about the baseline risk for the population of interest.
The GRADE Working Group also recommends that incremental costs of health care alternatives should be considered explicitly alongside the expected health benefits and harms. Recommendations rely on judgments about the value of the incremental health benefits in relation to the incremental costs. The last column in Table 3 reflects the overall trade-off between benefits and harms (adverse events) and incorporates any risk/uncertainty (cost-effectiveness).
Overall Summary Statement of the Benefit and Risk for Patient-Directed Interventions*
Economic Analysis
Budget Impact Analysis of Effective Interventions for Dementia
Caregiver-directed behavioural techniques and patient-directed exercise programs were found to be effective when assessing mild to moderate dementia outcomes in seniors living in the community. Therefore, an annual budget impact was calculated based on eligible seniors in the community with mild and moderate dementia and their respective caregivers who were willing to participate in interventional home sessions. Table 4 describes the annual budget impact for these interventions.
Annual Budget Impact (2008 Canadian Dollars)
Assumed 7% prevalence of dementia aged 65+ in Ontario.
Assumed 8 weekly sessions plus 4 monthly phone calls.
Assumed 12 weekly sessions plus biweekly sessions thereafter (total of 20).
Assumed 2 sessions per week for first 5 weeks. Assumed 90% of seniors in the community with dementia have mild to moderate disease. Assumed 4.5% of seniors 65+ are in long-term care, and the remainder are in the community. Assumed a rate of participation of 60% for both patients and caregivers and of 41% for patient-directed exercise. Assumed 100% compliance since intervention administered at the home. Cost for trained staff from Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care data source. Assumed cost of personal support worker to be equivalent to in-home support. Cost for recreation therapist from Alberta government Website.
Note: This budget impact analysis was calculated for the first year after introducing the interventions from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care perspective using prevalence data only. Prevalence estimates are for seniors in the community with mild to moderate dementia and their respective caregivers who are willing to participate in an interventional session administered at the home setting. Incidence and mortality rates were not factored in. Current expenditures in the province are unknown and therefore were not included in the analysis. Numbers may change based on population trends, rate of intervention uptake, trends in current programs in place in the province, and assumptions on costs. The number of patients was based on patients likely to access these interventions in Ontario based on assumptions stated below from the literature. An expert panel confirmed resource consumption.
PMCID: PMC3377513  PMID: 23074509
8.  Imaging amyloid deposition in Lewy body diseases 
Neurology  2008;71(12):903-910.
Background:
Extrapyramidal motor symptoms precede dementia in Parkinson disease (PDD) by many years, whereas dementia occurs early in dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB). Despite this clinical distinction, the neuropsychological and neuropathologic features of these conditions overlap. In addition to widespread distribution of Lewy bodies, both diseases have variable burdens of neuritic plaques and neurofibrillary tangles characteristic of Alzheimer disease (AD).
Objectives:
To determine whether amyloid deposition, as assessed by PET imaging with the β-amyloid–binding compound Pittsburgh Compound B (PiB), can distinguish DLB from PDD, and to assess whether regional patterns of amyloid deposition correlate with specific motor or cognitive features.
Methods:
Eight DLB, 7 PDD, 11 Parkinson disease (PD), 15 AD, and 37 normal control (NC) subjects underwent PiB-PET imaging and neuropsychological assessment. Amyloid burden was quantified using the PiB distribution volume ratio.
Results:
Cortical amyloid burden was higher in the DLB group than in the PDD group, comparable to the AD group. Amyloid deposition in the PDD group was low, comparable to the PD and NC groups. Relative to global cortical retention, occipital PiB retention was lower in the AD group than in the other groups. For the DLB, PDD, and PD groups, amyloid deposition in the parietal (lateral and precuneus)/posterior cingulate region was related to visuospatial impairment. Striatal PiB retention in the DLB and PDD groups was associated with less impaired motor function.
Conclusions:
Global cortical amyloid burden is high in dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) but low in Parkinson disease dementia. These data suggest that β-amyloid may contribute selectively to the cognitive impairment of DLB and may contribute to the timing of dementia relative to the motor signs of parkinsonism.
GLOSSARY
= Automated Anatomic Labeling;
= Alzheimer disease;
= Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center;
= American version of the National Adult Reading Test;
= analysis of covariance;
= Blessed Dementia Scale;
= cerebral amyloid angiopathy;
= Clinical Dementia Rating;
= Clinical Dementia Rating Sum of Boxes;
= dementia with Lewy bodies;
= distribution volume ratio;
= Cued Selective Reminding Test;
= Free Selective Reminding Test;
= Hoehn and Yahr;
= Massachusetts General Hospital;
= Mini-Mental State Examination;
= normal control;
= neurofibrillary tangle;
= Neuropsychiatric Inventory Questionnaire;
= not significant;
= Parkinson disease;
= Parkinson disease dementia;
= Pittsburgh Compound B;
= region of interest;
= Statistical Parametric Mapping;
= UK Parkinson’s Disease Society Brain Bank Research Center;
= United Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale;
= Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale–Revised.
doi:10.1212/01.wnl.0000326146.60732.d6
PMCID: PMC2637553  PMID: 18794492
9.  TDP-43 subtypes are associated with distinct atrophy patterns in frontotemporal dementia 
Neurology  2010;75(24):2204-2211.
Background:
We sought to describe the antemortem clinical and neuroimaging features among patients with frontotemporal lobar degeneration with TDP-43 immunoreactive inclusions (FTLD-TDP).
Methods:
Subjects were recruited from a consecutive series of patients with a primary neuropathologic diagnosis of FTLD-TDP and antemortem MRI. Twenty-eight patients met entry criteria: 9 with type 1, 5 with type 2, and 10 with type 3 FTLD-TDP. Four patients had too sparse FTLD-TDP pathology to be subtyped. Clinical, neuropsychological, and neuroimaging features of these cases were reviewed. Voxel-based morphometry was used to assess regional gray matter atrophy in relation to a group of 50 cognitively normal control subjects.
Results:
Clinical diagnosis varied between the groups: semantic dementia was only associated with type 1 pathology, whereas progressive nonfluent aphasia and corticobasal syndrome were only associated with type 3. Behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia and frontotemporal dementia with motor neuron disease were seen in type 2 or type 3 pathology. The neuroimaging analysis revealed distinct patterns of atrophy between the pathologic subtypes: type 1 was associated with asymmetric anterior temporal lobe atrophy (either left- or right-predominant) with involvement also of the orbitofrontal lobes and insulae; type 2 with relatively symmetric atrophy of the medial temporal, medial prefrontal, and orbitofrontal-insular cortices; and type 3 with asymmetric atrophy (either left- or right-predominant) involving more dorsal areas including frontal, temporal, and inferior parietal cortices as well as striatum and thalamus. No significant atrophy was seen among patients with too sparse pathology to be subtyped.
Conclusions:
FTLD-TDP subtypes have distinct clinical and neuroimaging features, highlighting the relevance of FTLD-TDP subtyping to clinicopathologic correlation.
GLOSSARY
= behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia;
= corticobasal syndrome;
= Clinical Dementia Rating;
= false discovery rate;
= frontotemporal dementia;
= frontotemporal lobar degeneration;
= frontotemporal lobar degeneration with TDP-43 immunoreactive inclusions;
= fused in sarcoma;
= Mini-Mental State Examination;
= motor neuron disease;
= progressive nonfluent aphasia;
= TAR DNA-binding protein of 43 kDa;
= University of California, San Francisco;
= voxel-based morphometry.
doi:10.1212/WNL.0b013e318202038c
PMCID: PMC3013589  PMID: 21172843
10.  Which neuropsychiatric and behavioural features distinguish frontal and temporal variants of frontotemporal dementia from Alzheimer's disease? 
OBJECTIVES—To 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.
METHODS—A 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.
RESULTS—Factor 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.
CONCLUSIONS—This 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.


doi:10.1136/jnnp.69.2.178
PMCID: PMC1737062  PMID: 10896690
11.  Sensitivity of revised diagnostic criteria for the behavioural variant of frontotemporal dementia 
Brain  2011;134(9):2456-2477.
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.
doi:10.1093/brain/awr179
PMCID: PMC3170532  PMID: 21810890
behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia; diagnostic criteria; frontotemporal lobar degeneration; FTD; pathology
12.  Pre-MCI and MCI 
Objective
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusion
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.
doi:10.1097/JGP.0b013e3182107c69
PMCID: PMC3175279  PMID: 21422909
Algorithmic diagnosis; Alzheimer disease; amnestic MCI; clinical diagnosis; dementia; hippocampal volume; longitudinal analysis; MCI; mild cognitive impairment; MRI; neuropsychological tests; pre-MCI
13.  Conflict monitoring in early frontotemporal dementia 
Neurology  2009;73(5):349-355.
Background:
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.
Methods:
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.
Results:
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.
Conclusions:
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.
GLOSSARY
= 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.
doi:10.1212/WNL.0b013e3181b04b24
PMCID: PMC2725928  PMID: 19652138
14.  Characterization of frontotemporal dementia and/or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis associated with the GGGGCC repeat expansion in C9ORF72 
Brain  2012;135(3):765-783.
Numerous kindreds with familial frontotemporal dementia and/or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis have been linked to chromosome 9, and an expansion of the GGGGCC hexanucleotide repeat in the non-coding region of chromosome 9 open reading frame 72 has recently been identified as the pathogenic mechanism. We describe the key characteristics in the probands and their affected relatives who have been evaluated at Mayo Clinic Rochester or Mayo Clinic Florida in whom the hexanucleotide repeat expansion were found. Forty-three probands and 10 of their affected relatives with DNA available (total 53 subjects) were shown to carry the hexanucleotide repeat expansion. Thirty-six (84%) of the 43 probands had a familial disorder, whereas seven (16%) appeared to be sporadic. Among examined subjects from the 43 families (n = 63), the age of onset ranged from 33 to 72 years (median 52 years) and survival ranged from 1 to 17 years, with the age of onset <40 years in six (10%) and >60 in 19 (30%). Clinical diagnoses among examined subjects included behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia with or without parkinsonism (n = 30), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (n = 18), frontotemporal dementia/amyotrophic lateral sclerosis with or without parkinsonism (n = 12), and other various syndromes (n = 3). Parkinsonism was present in 35% of examined subjects, all of whom had behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia or frontotemporal dementia/amyotrophic lateral sclerosis as the dominant clinical phenotype. No subject with a diagnosis of primary progressive aphasia was identified with this mutation. Incomplete penetrance was suggested in two kindreds, and the youngest generation had significantly earlier age of onset (>10 years) compared with the next oldest generation in 11 kindreds. Neuropsychological testing showed a profile of slowed processing speed, complex attention/executive dysfunction, and impairment in rapid word retrieval. Neuroimaging studies showed bilateral frontal abnormalities most consistently, with more variable degrees of parietal with or without temporal changes; no case had strikingly focal or asymmetric findings. Neuropathological examination of 14 patients revealed a range of transactive response DNA binding protein molecular weight 43 pathology (10 type A and four type B), as well as ubiquitin-positive cerebellar granular neuron inclusions in all but one case. Motor neuron degeneration was detected in nine patients, including five patients without ante-mortem signs of motor neuron disease. While variability exists, most cases with this mutation have a characteristic spectrum of demographic, clinical, neuropsychological, neuroimaging and especially neuropathological findings.
doi:10.1093/brain/aws004
PMCID: PMC3286335  PMID: 22366793
frontotemporal dementia; amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; motor neuron disease; TDP-43; neurogenetics; chromosome 9
15.  Brain and ventricular volumetric changes in frontotemporal lobar degeneration over 1 year 
Neurology  2009;72(21):1843-1849.
Background:
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.
Methods:
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.
Results:
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.
Conclusions:
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.
GLOSSARY
= 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.
doi:10.1212/WNL.0b013e3181a71236
PMCID: PMC2690986  PMID: 19470967
16.  Clinical, imaging, and pathological heterogeneity of the Alzheimer's disease syndrome 
With increasing knowledge of clinical in vivo biomarkers and the pathological intricacies of Alzheimer's disease (AD), nosology is evolving. Harmonized consensus criteria that emphasize prototypic illness continue to develop to achieve diagnostic clarity for treatment decisions and clinical trials. However, it is clear that AD is clinically heterogeneous in presentation and progression, demonstrating variable topographic distributions of atrophy and hypometabolism/hypoperfusion. AD furthermore often keeps company with other conditions that may further nuance clinical expression, such as synucleinopathy exacerbating executive and visuospatial dysfunction and vascular pathologies (particularly small vessel disease that is increasingly ubiquitous with human aging) accentuating frontal-dysexecutive symptomatology. That some of these atypical clinical patterns recur may imply the existence of distinct AD variants. For example, focal temporal lobe dysfunction is associated with a pure amnestic syndrome, very slow decline, with atrophy and neurofibrillary tangles limited largely to the medial temporal region including the entorhinal cortex. Left parietal atrophy and/or hypometabolism/hypoperfusion are associated with language symptoms, younger age of onset, and faster rate of decline - a potential 'language variant' of AD. Conversely, the same pattern but predominantly affecting the right parietal lobe is associated with a similar syndrome but with visuospatial symptoms replacing impaired language function. Finally, the extremely rare frontal variant is associated with executive dysfunction out of keeping with degree of memory decline and may have prominent behavioural symptoms. Genotypic differences may underlie some of these subtypes; for example, absence of apolipoprotein E e4 is often associated with atypicality in younger onset AD. Understanding the mechanisms behind this variability merits further investigation, informed by recent advances in imaging techniques, biomarker assays, and quantitative pathological methods, in conjunction with standardized clinical, functional, neuropsychological and neurobehavioral evaluations. Such an understanding is needed to facilitate 'personalized AD medicine', and eventually allow for clinical trials targeting specific AD subtypes. Although the focus legitimately remains on prototypic illness, continuing efforts to develop disease-modifying therapies should not exclude the rarer AD subtypes and common comorbid presentations, as is currently often the case. Only by treating them as well can we address the full burden of this devastating dementia syndrome.
doi:10.1186/alzrt155
PMCID: PMC3580331  PMID: 23302773
17.  ASL Perfusion MRI Predicts Cognitive Decline and Conversion From MCI to Dementia 
We compared the predictive value of cerebral perfusion as measured by arterial-spin labeling magnetic resonance imaging (ASL-MRI) with MRI-derived hippocampal volume for determining future cognitive and functional decline and subsequent conversion from mild cognitive impairment to dementia. Forty-eight mild cognitive impairment subjects received structural and ASL-MRI scans at baseline and clinical and neuropsychologic assessments annually. Thirteen subjects became demented during the period of longitudinal observation (2.7 ± 1.0 y). Cox regression analyses suggest that baseline hippocampal volume [relative risk (RR) = 0.99, P = 0.004], baseline right inferior parietal (RR = 0.64, P = 0.01) and right middle frontal (RR = 0.73, P = 0.01) perfusion were associated with conversion to dementia. Results from linear mixed effects modeling suggest that baseline perfusion from the right precuneus predicted subsequent declines in Clinical Dementia Rating Sum of Boxes (P = 0.002), Functional Activates Questionnaire (P = 0.01), and selective attention (ie, Stroop switching, P = 0.009) whereas baseline perfusion from the right middle frontal cortex predicted subsequent episodic memory decline (ie, total recognition discriminability score from the California Verbal Learning Test, P = 0.03). These results suggest that hypoperfusion as detected by ASL-MRI can predict subsequent clinical, functional, and cognitive decline and may be useful for identifying candidates for future Alzheimer disease treatment trials.
doi:10.1097/WAD.0b013e3181b4f736
PMCID: PMC2865220  PMID: 20220321
mild cognitive impairment; dementia; cognitive and functional decline; ASL perfusion MRI; hippocampal volume
18.  Mild cognitive impairment associated with limbic and neocortical lewy body disease: a clinicopathological study 
Brain  2009;133(2):540-556.
There are little data on the relationship between Lewy body disease and mild cognitive impairment syndromes. The Mayo Clinic aging and dementia databases in Rochester, Minnesota, and Jacksonville, Florida were queried for cases who were diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment between 1 January 1996 and 30 April 2008, were prospectively followed and were subsequently found to have autopsy-proven Lewy body disease. The presence of rapid eye movement sleep behaviour disorder was specifically assessed. Mild cognitive impairment subtypes were determined by clinical impression and neuropsychological profiles, based on prospective operational criteria. The diagnosis of clinically probable dementia with Lewy bodies was based on the 2005 McKeith criteria. Hippocampal volumes, rate of hippocampal atrophy, and proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy were assessed on available magnetic resonance imaging and spectroscopy scans. Eight subjects were identified; six were male. Seven developed dementia with Lewy bodies prior to death; one died characterized as mild cognitive impairment. The number of cases and median age of onset (range) for specific features were: seven with rapid eye movement sleep behaviour disorder—60 years (27–91 years), eight with cognitive symptoms—69 years (62–89 years), eight with mild cognitive impairment—70.5 years (66–91 years), eight with parkinsonism symptoms—71 years (66–92 years), six with visual hallucinations—72 years (64–90 years), seven with dementia—75 years (67–92 years), six with fluctuations in cognition and/or arousal—76 years (68–92 years) and eight dead—76 years (71–94 years). Rapid eye movement sleep behaviour disorder preceded cognitive symptom onset in six cases by a median of 10 years (2–47 years) and mild cognitive impairment diagnosis by a median of 12 years (3–48 years). The mild cognitive impairment subtypes represented include: two with single domain non-amnestic mild cognitive impairment, three with multi-domain non-amnestic mild cognitive impairment, and three with multi-domain amnestic mild cognitive impairment. The cognitive domains most frequently affected were attention and executive functioning, and visuospatial functioning. Hippocampal volumes and the rate of hippocampal atrophy were, on average, within the normal range in the three cases who underwent magnetic resonance imaging, and the choline/creatine ratio was elevated in the two cases who underwent proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy when they were diagnosed as mild cognitive impairment. On autopsy, six had neocortical-predominant Lewy body disease and two had limbic-predominant Lewy body disease; only one had coexisting high-likelihood Alzheimer's disease. These findings indicate that among Lewy body disease cases that pass through a mild cognitive impairment stage, any cognitive pattern or mild cognitive subtype is possible, with the attention/executive and visuospatial domains most frequently impaired. Hippocampal volume and proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy data were consistent with recent data in dementia with Lewy bodies. All cases with rapid eye movement sleep behaviour disorder and mild cognitive impairment were eventually shown to have autopsy-proven Lewy body disease, indicating that rapid eye movement sleep behaviour disorder plus mild cognitive impairment probably reflects brainstem and cerebral Lewy body disease.
doi:10.1093/brain/awp280
PMCID: PMC2822633  PMID: 19889717
mild cognitive impairment; dementia; dementia with Lewy bodies; Lewy body disease; neuropathology
19.  Executive dysfunction in frontotemporal dementia and corticobasal syndrome 
Neurology  2009;72(5):453-459.
Objective:
To determine the pattern of executive dysfunction in frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and corticobasal syndrome (CBS) and to determine the brain areas associated with executive dysfunction in these illnesses.
Method:
We administered the Delis-Kaplan Executive Function System (D-KEFS), a collection of standardized executive function tests, to 51 patients with behavioral-variant FTD and 50 patients with CBS. We also performed a discriminant analysis on the D-KEFS to determine which executive function tests best distinguished the clinical diagnoses of FTD and CBS. Finally, we used voxel-based morphometry (VBM) to determine regional gray matter volume loss associated with executive dysfunction.
Results:
Patients with FTD and patients with CBS showed executive dysfunction greater than memory dysfunction. Executive function was better preserved in the patients with CBS than the patients with FTD with the exception of tests that required motor, visuospatial ability, or both. In patients with CBS, dorsal frontal and parietal and temporal-parietal cortex was associated with executive function. In FTD, tests with a language component (Verbal Fluency) were associated with left perisylvian cortex, sorting with the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, and reasoning (the Twenty Questions task) with the left anterior frontal cortex. The Twenty Questions test best distinguished the clinical diagnoses of CBS and FTD.
Conclusions:
The neuroanatomic findings (especially in frontotemporal dementia [FTD]) agree with the previous literature on this topic. Patients with FTD and patients with corticobasal syndrome (CBS) show disparate performance on higher-order executive functions, especially the Twenty Questions test. It may be difficult to distinguish motor and visuospatial ability from executive function in patients with CBS using tests with significant motor and visuospatial demands such as Trail Making.
GLOSSARY
= behavioral variant FTD;
= corticobasal syndrome;
= Delis-Kaplan Executive Function System;
= false discovery rate;
= frontotemporal dementia;
= family wise error;
= Mattis Dementia Rating Scale 2;
= National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke;
= region of interest;
= voxel-based morphometry;
= Wechsler Memory Scale–third edition.
doi:10.1212/01.wnl.0000341781.39164.26
PMCID: PMC2677529  PMID: 19188577
20.  An Open Label Study of Memantine Treatment in Three Subtypes of Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration 
There are currently no FDA-approved treatments for frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD). The objectives of this study were to explore the tolerability of memantine treatment in FTLD and to monitor for possible effects on behavior, cognition and function. 43 individuals who met clinical criteria for FTLD (21 with frontotemporal dementia [FTD], 13 with semantic dementia [SD] and 9 with progressive nonfluent aphasia [PA]) received 26 weeks of open label treatment with memantine at a target dose of 20 mg daily. Concurrent treatment with acetylcholinesterase inhibitors was prohibited. Cognitive and functional outcome measures included the MMSE, ADAS-cog, CDR-sum of boxes, NPI, Frontal Behavior Inventory (FBI), Executive Interview (EXIT25), Texas Functional Living Scale (TFLS), Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS) and UPDRS-motor scale. Most subjects were able to tolerate the target dose of memantine. A transient improvement was observed on the total NPI score primarily in the FTD group. Variable declines were observed on the ADAS-cog, EXIT25, FBI, NPI, TFLS and UPDRS scores. The FTD and SD groups declined on most of the cognitive and behavioral outcome measures, but remained stable on the UPDRS, whereas the PA group remained relatively stable on the ADAS-cog, NPI and TFLS, but declined on the UPDRS. Memantine was well tolerated in these subjects. Future placebo-controlled trials of memantine in FTLD are warranted and may have greater power to detect behavioral and cognitive effects if focused on the FTD and SD clinical syndromes.
doi:10.1097/WAD.0b013e318197852f
PMCID: PMC2760056  PMID: 19812461
Frontotemporal dementia; semantic dementia; progressive nonfluent aphasia; memantine; open-label treatment study
21.  A study of stereotypic behaviours in Alzheimer's disease and frontal and temporal variant frontotemporal dementia 
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.
doi:10.1136/jnnp.74.10.1398
PMCID: PMC1757381  PMID: 14570833
22.  Longitudinal Grey and White Matter Changes in Frontotemporal Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e90814.
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.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0090814
PMCID: PMC3940927  PMID: 24595028
23.  Qualitative neuropsychological performance characteristics in frontotemporal dementia and Alzheimer's disease 
Background: Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and Alzheimer's disease are clinically distinct disorders, yet neuropsychological studies have had variable success in distinguishing them. A possible reason is that studies typically rely on overall accuracy scores, which may obscure differences in reasons for failure.
Objectives: To explore the hypothesis that analysis of qualitative performance characteristics and error types, in addition to overall numerical scores, would enhance the neuropsychological distinction between FTD and Alzheimer's disease.
Methods: 38 patients with FTD and 73 with Alzheimer's disease underwent assessment of language, visuospatial abilities, memory, and executive function, using a neuropsychological screening instrument and standard neuropsychological tests. In each of these cognitive domains, performance characteristics and error types were documented, in addition to numerical scores on tests.
Results: Whereas comparison of neuropsychological test scores revealed some group differences, these did not occur consistently across tests within cognitive domains. However, analysis of performance characteristics and error types revealed qualitative differences between the two groups. In particular, FTD patients displayed features associated with frontal lobe dysfunction, such as concrete thought, perseveration, confabulation, and poor organisation, which disrupted performance across the range of neuropsychological tests.
Conclusions: Numerical scores on neuropsychological tests alone are of limited value in differentiating FTD and Alzheimer's disease, but performance characteristics and error types enhance the distinction between the two disorders. FTD is associated with a profound behavioural syndrome that affects performance on cognitive assessment, obscuring group differences. Qualitative information should be included in neuropsychological research and clinical assessments.
doi:10.1136/jnnp.2003.033779
PMCID: PMC1739700  PMID: 15965196
24.  Clinical and pathological features of familial frontotemporal dementia caused by C9ORF72 mutation on chromosome 9p 
Brain  2012;135(3):709-722.
Frontotemporal dementia and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis are closely related clinical syndromes with overlapping molecular pathogenesis. Several families have been reported with members affected by frontotemporal dementia, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or both, which show genetic linkage to a region on chromosome 9p21. Recently, two studies identified the FTD/ALS gene defect on chromosome 9p as an expanded GGGGCC hexanucleotide repeat in a non-coding region of the chromosome 9 open reading frame 72 gene (C9ORF72). In the present study, we provide detailed analysis of the clinical features and neuropathology for 16 unrelated families with frontotemporal dementia caused by the C9ORF72 mutation. All had an autosomal dominant pattern of inheritance. Eight families had a combination of frontotemporal dementia and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis while the other eight had a pure frontotemporal dementia phenotype. Clinical information was available for 30 affected members of the 16 families. There was wide variation in age of onset (mean = 54.3, range = 34–74 years) and disease duration (mean = 5.3, range = 1–16 years). Early diagnoses included behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia (n = 15), progressive non-fluent aphasia (n = 5), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (n = 9) and progressive non-fluent aphasia–amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (n = 1). Heterogeneity in clinical presentation was also common within families. However, there was a tendency for the phenotypes to converge with disease progression; seven subjects had final clinical diagnoses of both frontotemporal dementia and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and all of those with an initial progressive non-fluent aphasia diagnosis subsequently developed significant behavioural abnormalities. Twenty-one affected family members came to autopsy and all were found to have transactive response DNA binding protein with Mr 43 kD (TDP-43) pathology in a wide neuroanatomical distribution. All had involvement of the extramotor neocortex and hippocampus (frontotemporal lobar degeneration-TDP) and all but one case (clinically pure frontotemporal dementia) had involvement of lower motor neurons, characteristic of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. In addition, a consistent and relatively specific pathological finding was the presence of neuronal inclusions in the cerebellar cortex that were ubiquitin/p62-positive but TDP-43-negative. Our findings indicate that the C9ORF72 mutation is a major cause of familial frontotemporal dementia with TDP-43 pathology, that likely accounts for the majority of families with combined frontotemporal dementia/amyotrophic lateral sclerosis presentation, and further support the concept that frontotemporal dementia and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis represent a clinicopathological spectrum of disease with overlapping molecular pathogenesis.
doi:10.1093/brain/awr354
PMCID: PMC3286328  PMID: 22344582
frontotemporal dementia; frontotemporal lobar degeneration; amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; C9ORF72, TDP-43
25.  A Randomised, Blinded, Placebo-Controlled Trial in Dementia Patients Continuing or Stopping Neuroleptics (The DART-AD Trial)  
PLoS Medicine  2008;5(4):e76.
Background
There have been increasing concerns regarding the safety and efficacy of neuroleptics in people with dementia, but there are very few long-term trials to inform clinical practice. The aim of this study was to determine the impact of long-term treatment with neuroleptic agents upon global cognitive decline and neuropsychiatric symptoms in patients with Alzheimer disease.
Methods and Findings
Design: Randomised, blinded, placebo-controlled parallel two-group treatment discontinuation trial.
Setting: Oxfordshire, Newcastle and Gateshead, London and Edinburgh, United Kingdom.
Participants: Patients currently prescribed the neuroleptics thioridazine, chlorpromazine, haloperidol trifluoperazine or risperidone for behavioural or psychiatric disturbance in dementia for at least 3 mo.
Interventions: Continue neuroleptic treatment for 12 mo or switch to an identical placebo.
Outcome measures: Primary outcome was total Severe Impairment Battery (SIB) score. Neuropsychiatric symptoms were evaluated with the Neuropsychiatric Inventory (NPI).
Results: 165 patients were randomised (83 to continue treatment and 82 to placebo, i.e., discontinue treatment), of whom 128 (78%) commenced treatment (64 continue/64 placebo). Of those, 26 were lost to follow-up (13 per arm), resulting in 51 patients per arm analysed for the primary outcome. There was no significant difference between the continue treatment and placebo groups in the estimated mean change in SIB scores between baseline and 6 mo; estimated mean difference in deterioration (favouring placebo) −0.4 (95% confidence interval [CI] −6.4 to 5.5), adjusted for baseline value (p = 0.9). For neuropsychiatric symptoms, there was no significant difference between the continue treatment and placebo groups (n = 56 and 53, respectively) in the estimated mean change in NPI scores between baseline and 6 mo; estimated mean difference in deterioration (favouring continue treatment) −2.4 (95% CI −8.2 to 3.5), adjusted for baseline value (p = 0.4). Both results became more pronounced at 12 mo. There was some evidence to suggest that those patients with initial NPI ≥ 15 benefited on neuropsychiatric symptoms from continuing treatment.
Conclusions
For most patients with AD, withdrawal of neuroleptics had no overall detrimental effect on functional and cognitive status. Neuroleptics may have some value in the maintenance treatment of more severe neuropsychiatric symptoms, but this benefit must be weighed against the side effects of therapy.
Trial registration: Cochrane Central Registry of Controlled Trials/National Research Register (#ISRCTN33368770).
In a randomized trial of patients with dementia, Clive Ballard and colleagues show that withdrawal of neuroleptics had no overall detrimental effect, and by some measures improved, functional and cognitive status.
Editors' Summary
Background
The number of people with dementia (currently 25 million worldwide) is expected to increase by 5 million each year. The risk of dementia, including Alzheimer disease, increases sharply with age: Alzheimer's Disease International estimates that 1.4% of people 65–69 have dementia, whereas almost a full quarter of those over the age of 85 years are affected. Almost all older dementia patients will experience, along with the cognitive and functional decline typical of the illness, some neuropsychiatric symptoms. These symptoms can include agitation, aggression, and psychosis, and are often devastating for the older patient and his or her family and caregiver. Managing these symptoms is often a prime concern for health-care providers and families. Neuroleptics (sometimes called antipsychotics) are the class of drugs often used to manage or control neuropsychiatric problems, but there have been questions about their safety and appropriateness. Safety concerns involve risk of stroke, parkinsonism, sedation, edema, and chest infections but also include a worsening of cognitive decline with prolonged use of neuroleptics.
Why Was the Study Done?
Previous studies on the effectiveness and safety of neuroleptics in older people have been short term. Ballard and colleagues wanted to study over a longer period of time the impact of neuroleptic drugs on elderly patients with dementia. Specifically, they wanted to know if being on a neuroleptic was associated with more cognitive decline than coming off the drug. They also wanted to investigate whether discontinuing the drug exacerbated any neuropsychiatric symptoms, Parkinson disease-like symptoms, or other functional, language, and cognition difficulties frequently associated with dementia.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers recruited older patients with Alzheimer disease from across England who had been on neuroleptics for at least three months. They randomised patients to one of two groups: the first group continued taking the same neuroleptic at the same dosage level while the second group was switched to an identical-looking placebo. The researchers assessed the patients' cognitive status and neuropsychiatric symptoms upon their entry into the study. Six and 12 months later the researchers assessed any cognitive decline and the level of neuropsychiatric and other problems that patients were experiencing.
At both 6 and 12 months, the researchers found that there were no differences between the two groups (continued treatment and placebo) in terms of cognitive decline. The placebo group may have had less cognitive decline, but this was not statistically significant. They also found no overall differences between the two groups in the change in the number of neuropsychiatric symptoms over these time periods. Patients with severe neuropsychiatric problems at the outset of the trial did better on continued neuroleptic therapy, but this advantage was not statistically significant. There was a significant decline on the verbal fluency language tests among the patients who continued on their neuroleptic.
What Do these Findings Mean?
The researchers report perhaps the first trial of this duration on continued versus withdrawn neuroleptic treatment among older dementia patients. The findings do not indicate any benefit of continuing neuroleptic therapies in older patients on either cognitive or neuropsychiatric outcomes. The researchers conclude that neuroleptics, with their known safety issues, should not be used as first-line treatment to manage problems such as agitation or aggression. For older dementia patients whose neuropsychiatric symptoms are not remedied by nonpharmaceutical treatments, the researchers advise caution. More studies are urgently needed to find better solutions to help older patients with dementia who have agitation, aggression, and psychosis.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0050076.
Alzheimer's Disease International is an umbrella organisation of organisations worldwide
The Alzheimer's Research Trust in the UK is a charity funding research to cure or prevent dementias
The US National Institutes of Aging has information on Alzheimer Disease in English and Spanish
Two governmental regulatory agencies—the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency in the UK and the Food and Drug Administration in the US—offer information about antipsychotics in people with dementia
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0050076
PMCID: PMC2276521  PMID: 18384230

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