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1.  Sensitivity of current criteria for the diagnosis of behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia 
Neurology  2009;72(8):732-737.
Background:
Diagnosis of behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD) relies on criteria that are constraining and potentially ambiguous. Some features are open to clinical interpretation and their prevalence unknown. This study investigated the sensitivity of current diagnostic criteria in a large group of patients with bvFTD.
Methods:
Forty-five patients with clear evidence of bvFTD as judged by progressive clinical decline (>3 years) with marked frontal features and significant frontal brain atrophy on brain MRI were included. Thirty-two have died; pathologic confirmation of frontotemporal lobar degeneration was found in all 18 coming to autopsy. We established the prevalence of core and supportive diagnostic features at presentation and with disease progression.
Results:
Only 25/45 patients (56%) showed all five core features necessary for a diagnosis of bvFTD at initial presentation and 33/45 (73%) as their disease progressed. Two core features, emotional blunting and loss of insight, were never observed in 25% and 13% of cases. Executive dysfunction, hyperorality, mental inflexibility, and distractibility were the only supportive features present in >50% of cases at initial presentation. Although not a diagnostic feature, impaired activities of daily living was present in 33/45 patients (73%).
Conclusions:
Strict application of the criteria misses a significant proportion of patients. Many supportive features have low prevalence and are clinically not useful. Revision of the criteria to include level of certainty (definite, probable, possible) dependent on the number of features present and the presence of ancillary information (e.g., brain atrophy, neuropsychological abnormalities, impaired activities of daily living) is encouraged.
GLOSSARY
= Addenbrooke’s Cognitive Examination;
= activities of daily living;
= behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia;
= Mini-Mental State Examination.
doi:10.1212/01.wnl.0000343004.98599.45
PMCID: PMC2821829  PMID: 19237702
2.  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
3.  Clinical and neuroanatomical signatures of tissue pathology in frontotemporal lobar degeneration 
Brain  2011;134(9):2565-2581.
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.
doi:10.1093/brain/awr198
PMCID: PMC3170537  PMID: 21908872
frontotemporal dementia; frontotemporal lobar degeneration; voxel-based morphometry; MRI; neural network
4.  Frontotemporal dementia with the C9ORF72 hexanucleotide repeat expansion: clinical, neuroanatomical and neuropathological features 
Brain  2012;135(3):736-750.
An expanded hexanucleotide repeat in the C9ORF72 gene has recently been identified as a major cause of familial frontotemporal lobar degeneration and motor neuron disease, including cases previously identified as linked to chromosome 9. Here we present a detailed retrospective clinical, neuroimaging and histopathological analysis of a C9ORF72 mutation case series in relation to other forms of genetically determined frontotemporal lobar degeneration ascertained at a specialist centre. Eighteen probands (19 cases in total) were identified, representing 35% of frontotemporal lobar degeneration cases with identified mutations, 36% of cases with clinical evidence of motor neuron disease and 7% of the entire cohort. Thirty-three per cent of these C9ORF72 cases had no identified relevant family history. Families showed wide variation in clinical onset (43–68 years) and duration (1.7–22 years). The most common presenting syndrome (comprising a half of cases) was behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia, however, there was substantial clinical heterogeneity across the C9ORF72 mutation cohort. Sixty per cent of cases developed clinical features consistent with motor neuron disease during the period of follow-up. Anxiety and agitation and memory impairment were prominent features (between a half to two-thirds of cases), and dominant parietal dysfunction was also frequent. Affected individuals showed variable magnetic resonance imaging findings; however, relative to healthy controls, the group as a whole showed extensive thinning of frontal, temporal and parietal cortices, subcortical grey matter atrophy including thalamus and cerebellum and involvement of long intrahemispheric, commissural and corticospinal tracts. The neuroimaging profile of the C9ORF72 expansion was significantly more symmetrical than progranulin mutations with significantly less temporal lobe involvement than microtubule-associated protein tau mutations. Neuropathological examination in six cases with C9ORF72 mutation from the frontotemporal lobar degeneration series identified histomorphological features consistent with either type A or B TAR DNA-binding protein-43 deposition; however, p62-positive (in excess of TAR DNA-binding protein-43 positive) neuronal cytoplasmic inclusions in hippocampus and cerebellum were a consistent feature of these cases, in contrast to the similar frequency of p62 and TAR DNA-binding protein-43 deposition in 53 control cases with frontotemporal lobar degeneration–TAR DNA-binding protein. These findings corroborate the clinical importance of the C9ORF72 mutation in frontotemporal lobar degeneration, delineate phenotypic and neuropathological features that could help to guide genetic testing, and suggest hypotheses for elucidating the neurobiology of a culprit subcortical network.
doi:10.1093/brain/awr361
PMCID: PMC3286330  PMID: 22366791
frontotemporal lobar degeneration; motor neuron disease; neurodegenerative disorders; neuroimaging; genetics
5.  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
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.  The salience network causally influences default mode network activity during moral reasoning 
Brain  2013;136(6):1929-1941.
Large-scale brain networks are integral to the coordination of human behaviour, and their anatomy provides insights into the clinical presentation and progression of neurodegenerative illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease, which targets the default mode network, and behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia, which targets a more anterior salience network. Although the default mode network is recruited when healthy subjects deliberate about ‘personal’ moral dilemmas, patients with Alzheimer’s disease give normal responses to these dilemmas whereas patients with behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia give abnormal responses to these dilemmas. We hypothesized that this apparent discrepancy between activation- and patient-based studies of moral reasoning might reflect a modulatory role for the salience network in regulating default mode network activation. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging to characterize network activity of patients with behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia and healthy control subjects, we present four converging lines of evidence supporting a causal influence from the salience network to the default mode network during moral reasoning. First, as previously reported, the default mode network is recruited when healthy subjects deliberate about ‘personal’ moral dilemmas, but patients with behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia producing atrophy in the salience network give abnormally utilitarian responses to these dilemmas. Second, patients with behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia have reduced recruitment of the default mode network compared with healthy control subjects when deliberating about these dilemmas. Third, a Granger causality analysis of functional neuroimaging data from healthy control subjects demonstrates directed functional connectivity from nodes of the salience network to nodes of the default mode network during moral reasoning. Fourth, this Granger causal influence is diminished in patients with behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia. These findings are consistent with a broader model in which the salience network modulates the activity of other large-scale networks, and suggest a revision to a previously proposed ‘dual-process’ account of moral reasoning. These findings also characterize network interactions underlying abnormal moral reasoning in frontotemporal dementia, which may serve as a model for the aberrant judgement and interpersonal behaviour observed in this disease and in other disorders of social function. More broadly, these findings link recent work on the dynamic interrelationships between large-scale brain networks to observable impairments in dementia syndromes, which may shed light on how diseases that target one network also alter the function of interrelated networks.
doi:10.1093/brain/awt066
PMCID: PMC3673466  PMID: 23576128
moral reasoning; frontotemporal dementia; salience network; default mode network; functional neuroimaging
8.  Novel CSF biomarkers for frontotemporal lobar degenerations(e–Pub ahead of print) 
Neurology  2010;75(23):2079-2086.
Objective:
To identify antemortem CSF diagnostic biomarkers that can potentially distinguish between the 2 main causes of frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD), i.e., FTLD with TDP-43 pathology (FTLD-TDP) and FTLD with tau pathology (FTLD-tau).
Methods:
CSF samples were collected antemortem from 23 patients with FTLD with known pathology to form a autopsy cohort as part of a comparative biomarker study that additionally included 33 living cognitively normal subjects and 66 patients with autopsy-confirmed Alzheimer disease (AD). CSF samples were also collected from 80 living patients clinically diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia (FTD). Levels of 151 novel analytes were measured via a targeted multiplex panel enriched in neuropeptides, cytokines, and growth factors, along with levels of CSF biomarkers for AD.
Results:
CSF levels of multiple analytes differed between FTLD-TDP and FTLD-tau, including Fas, neuropeptides (agouti-related peptide and adrenocorticotropic hormone), and chemokines (IL-23, IL-17). Classification by random forest analysis achieved high sensitivity for FTLD-TDP (86%) with modest specificity (78%) in the autopsy cohort. When the classification algorithm was applied to a living FTD cohort, semantic dementia was the phenotype with the highest predicted proportion of FTLD-TDP. When living patients with behavioral variant FTD were examined in detail, those predicted to have FTLD-TDP demonstrated neuropsychological differences vs those predicted to have FTLD-tau in a pattern consistent with previously reported trends in autopsy-confirmed cases.
Conclusions:
Clinical cases with FTLD-TDP and FTLD-tau pathology can be potentially identified antemortem by assaying levels of specific analytes that are well-known and readily measurable in CSF.
GLOSSARY
= Alzheimer disease;
= Aguti-related protein;
= angiopoietin-2;
= adrenocorticotropic hormone;
= amyotrophic lateral sclerosis;
= apolipoprotein B;
= behavioral variant FTD;
= corticobasal syndrome;
= frontotemporal dementia;
= frontotemporal lobar degeneration;
= frontotemporal lobar degeneration with tau pathology;
= frontotemporal lobar degeneration with TDP-43 pathology;
= interleukin;
= macrophage-derived chemokine;
= progressive nonfluent aphasia;
= primary progressive aphasia;
= progressive supranuclear palsy;
= S100 calcium binding protein b;
= semantic dementia;
= tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand receptor 3.
doi:10.1212/WNL.0b013e318200d78d
PMCID: PMC2995537  PMID: 21048198
9.  Does TDP-43 type confer a distinct pattern of atrophy in frontotemporal lobar degeneration? 
Neurology  2010;75(24):2212-2220.
Objective:
To determine whether TDP-43 type is associated with distinct patterns of brain atrophy on MRI in subjects with pathologically confirmed frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD).
Methods:
In this case-control study, we identified all subjects with a pathologic diagnosis of FTLD with TDP-43 immunoreactive inclusions (FTLD-TDP) and at least one volumetric head MRI scan (n = 42). In each case we applied published criteria for subclassification of FTLD-TDP into FTLD-TDP types 1-3. Voxel-based morphometry was used to compare subjects with each of the different FTLD-TDP types to age- and gender-matched normal controls (n = 30). We also assessed different pathologic and genetic variants within, and across, the different types.
Results:
Twenty-two subjects were classified as FTLD-TDP type 1, 9 as type 2, and 11 as type 3. We identified different patterns of atrophy across the types with type 1 showing frontotemporal and parietal atrophy, type 2 predominantly anterior temporal lobe atrophy, and type 3 predominantly posterior frontal atrophy. Within the FTLD-TDP type 1 group, those with a progranulin mutation had significantly more lateral temporal lobe atrophy than those without. All type 2 subjects were diagnosed with semantic dementia. Subjects with a pathologic diagnosis of FTLD with motor neuron degeneration had a similar pattern of atrophy, regardless of whether they were type 1 or type 3.
Conclusions:
Although there are different patterns of atrophy across the different FTLD-TDP types, it appears that genetic and pathologic factors may also affect the patterns of atrophy.
GLOSSARY
= Alzheimer disease;
= Alzheimer's Disease Research Center;
= behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia;
= corticobasal syndrome;
= Clinical Dementia Rating scale sum of boxes;
= frontotemporal lobar degeneration;
= frontotemporal lobar degeneration with motor neuron degeneration;
= frontotemporal lobar degeneration with TDP-43 immunoreactive inclusions;
= Mini-Mental State Examination;
= neuronal cytoplasmic inclusion;
= progressive nonfluent aphasia;
= semantic dementia;
= Short Test of Mental Status;
= voxel-based morphometry.
doi:10.1212/WNL.0b013e31820203c2
PMCID: PMC3013590  PMID: 21172844
10.  Neuropathologic diagnostic and nosologic criteria for frontotemporal lobar degeneration: consensus of the Consortium for Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration 
Acta Neuropathologica  2007;114(1):5-22.
The aim of this study was to improve the neuropathologic recognition and provide criteria for the pathological diagnosis in the neurodegenerative diseases grouped as frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD); revised criteria are proposed. Recent advances in molecular genetics, biochemistry, and neuropathology of FTLD prompted the Midwest Consortium for Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration and experts at other centers to review and revise the existing neuropathologic diagnostic criteria for FTLD. The proposed criteria for FTLD are based on existing criteria, which include the tauopathies [FTLD with Pick bodies, corticobasal degeneration, progressive supranuclear palsy, sporadic multiple system tauopathy with dementia, argyrophilic grain disease, neurofibrillary tangle dementia, and FTD with microtubule-associated tau (MAPT) gene mutation, also called FTD with parkinsonism linked to chromosome 17 (FTDP-17)]. The proposed criteria take into account new disease entities and include the novel molecular pathology, TDP-43 proteinopathy, now recognized to be the most frequent histological finding in FTLD. TDP-43 is a major component of the pathologic inclusions of most sporadic and familial cases of FTLD with ubiquitin-positive, tau-negative inclusions (FTLD-U) with or without motor neuron disease (MND). Molecular genetic studies of familial cases of FTLD-U have shown that mutations in the progranulin (PGRN) gene are a major genetic cause of FTLD-U. Mutations in valosin-containing protein (VCP) gene are present in rare familial forms of FTD, and some families with FTD and/or MND have been linked to chromosome 9p, and both are types of FTLD-U. Thus, familial TDP-43 proteinopathy is associated with defects in multiple genes, and molecular genetics is required in these cases to correctly identify the causative gene defect. In addition to genetic heterogeneity amongst the TDP-43 proteinopathies, there is also neuropathologic heterogeneity and there is a close relationship between genotype and FTLD-U sub-type. In addition to these recent significant advances in the neuropathology of FTLD-U, novel FTLD entities have been further characterized, including neuronal intermediate filament inclusion disease. The proposed criteria incorporate up-to-date neuropathology of FTLD in the light of recent immunohistochemical, biochemical, and genetic advances. These criteria will be of value to the practicing neuropathologist and provide a foundation for clinical, clinico-pathologic, mechanistic studies and in vivo models of pathogenesis of FTLD.
doi:10.1007/s00401-007-0237-2
PMCID: PMC2827877  PMID: 17579875
Frontotemporal dementia; Semantic dementia; Progressive non-Xuent aphasia; Frontotemporal lobar degeneration; Motor neuron disease; Tauopathy; Ubiquitin; TDP-43 proteinopathy; Progranulin; Valosin-containing protein; Charged multivesicular body protein 2B; Neuronal intermediate filament inclusion disease; Neuropathologic diagnosis
11.  Clinical diagnostic criteria and classification controversies in frontotemporal lobar degeneration 
Frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) can manifest as a spectrum of clinical syndromes, ranging from behavioural impairment to language or motor dysfunction. Recently, revised diagnostic criteria have been proposed for the behavioural and progressive aphasia syndromes associated with frontotemporal degeneration. The present review will summarize these diagnostic guidelines and highlight some lingering controversies in the classification of FTLD clinical syndromes. We will discuss common tools and methods used to identify the insidious changes of behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD), the value of new, patient-based tasks of orbitofrontal function, and the issue of a benign or ‘phenocopy’ variant of bvFTD. With regard to primary progressive aphasia (PPA), we will discuss the scope of the semantic disorder in semantic-variant PPA, the nature of the speech disorder in non-fluent, agrammatic PPA, and the preliminary utility of a logopenic PPA classification.
doi:10.3109/09540261.2013.763341
PMCID: PMC3906583  PMID: 23611345
12.  The Spectrum of Mutations in Progranulin 
Archives of neurology  2010;67(2):161-170.
Background
Mutation in the progranulin gene (GRN) can cause frontotemporal dementia (FTD). However, it is unclear whether some rare FTD-related GRN variants are pathogenic and whether neurodegenerative disorders other than FTD can also be caused by GRN mutations.
Objectives
To delineate the range of clinical presentations associated with GRN mutations and to define pathogenic candidacy of rare GRN variants.
Design
Case-control study.
Setting
Clinical and neuropathology dementia research studies at 8 academic centers.
Participants
Four hundred thirty-four patients with FTD, including primary progressive aphasia, semantic dementia, FTD/amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), FTD/motor neuron disease, corticobasal syndrome/corticobasal degeneration, progressive supranuclear palsy, Pick disease, dementia lacking distinctive histopathology, and pathologically confirmed cases of frontotemporal lobar degeneration with ubiquitin-positive inclusions (FTLD-U); and 111 non-FTD cases (controls) in which TDP-43 deposits were a prominent neuropathological feature, including subjects with ALS, Guam ALS and/or parkinsonism dementia complex, Guam dementia, Alzheimer disease, multiple system atrophy, and argyrophilic grain disease.
Main Outcome Measures
Variants detected on sequencing of all 13 GRN exons and at least 80 base pairs of flanking introns, and their pathogenic candidacy determined by in silico and ex vivo splicing assays.
Results
We identified 58 genetic variants that included 26 previously unknown changes. Twenty-four variants appeared to be pathogenic, including 8 novel mutations. The frequency of GRN mutations was 6.9% (30 of 434) of all FTD-spectrum cases, 21.4% (9 of 42) of cases with a pathological diagnosis of FTLD-U, 16.0% (28 of 175) of FTD-spectrum cases with a family history of a similar neurodegenerative disease, and 56.2% (9 of 16) of cases of FTLD-U with a family history.
Conclusions
Pathogenic mutations were found only in FTD-spectrum cases and not in other related neurodegenerative diseases. Haploinsufficiency of GRN is the predominant mechanism leading to FTD.
doi:10.1001/archneurol.2009.328
PMCID: PMC2901991  PMID: 20142524
13.  Interrater reliability of the new criteria for behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia 
Neurology  2013;80(21):1973-1977.
Objective:
To evaluate the interrater reliability of the new International Behavioural Variant FTD Criteria Consortium (FTDC) criteria for behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD).
Methods:
Twenty standardized clinical case modules were developed for patients with a range of neurodegenerative diagnoses, including bvFTD, primary progressive aphasia (nonfluent, semantic, and logopenic variant), Alzheimer disease, and Lewy body dementia. Eighteen blinded raters reviewed the modules and 1) rated the presence or absence of core diagnostic features for the FTDC criteria, and 2) provided an overall diagnostic rating. Interrater reliability was determined by κ statistics for multiple raters with categorical ratings.
Results:
The mean κ value for diagnostic agreement was 0.81 for possible bvFTD and 0.82 for probable bvFTD (“almost perfect agreement”). Interrater reliability for 4 of the 6 core features had “substantial” agreement (behavioral disinhibition, perseverative/compulsive, sympathy/empathy, hyperorality; κ = 0.61–0.80), whereas 2 had “moderate” agreement (apathy/inertia, neuropsychological; κ = 0.41–0.6). Clinician years of experience did not significantly influence rater accuracy.
Conclusions:
The FTDC criteria show promise for improving the diagnostic accuracy and reliability of clinicians and researchers. As disease-altering therapies are developed, accurate differential diagnosis between bvFTD and other neurodegenerative diseases will become increasingly important.
doi:10.1212/WNL.0b013e318293e368
PMCID: PMC3716343  PMID: 23635967
14.  Accuracy of the Clinical Diagnosis of Alzheimer Disease at National Institute on Aging Alzheimer's Disease Centers, 2005–2010 
The neuropathological examination is considered to provide the gold standard for Alzheimer disease (AD). To determine the accuracy of currently employed clinical diagnostic methods, clinical and neuropathological data from the National Alzheimer's Coordinating Center (NACC), which gathers information from the network of National Institute on Aging (NIA)-sponsored Alzheimer's Disease Centers (ADCs), were collected as part of the NACC Uniform Data Set (UDS) between 2005 and 2010. A database search initially included all 1198 subjects with at least one UDS clinical assessment and who had died and been autopsied; 279 were excluded as being not demented or because critical data fields were missing. The final subject number was 919. Sensitivity and specificity were determined based on “probable” and “possible” AD levels of clinical confidence and 4 levels of neuropathological confidence based on varying neuritic plaque densities and Braak neurofibrillary stages. Sensitivity ranged from 70.9% to 87.3%; specificity ranged from 44.3% to 70.8%. Sensitivity was generally increased with more permissive clinical criteria and specificity was increased with more restrictive criteria, whereas the opposite was true for neuropathological criteria. When a clinical diagnosis was not confirmed by minimum levels of AD histopathology, the most frequent primary neuropathological diagnoses were tangle-only dementia or argyrophilic grain disease, frontotemporal lobar degeneration, cerebrovascular disease, Lewy body disease and hippocampal sclerosis. When dementia was not clinically diagnosed as AD, 39% of these cases met or exceeded minimum threshold levels of AD histopathology. Neurologists of the NIA-ADCs had higher predictive accuracy when they diagnosed AD in demented subjects than when they diagnosed dementing diseases other than AD. The misdiagnosis rate should be considered when estimating subject numbers for AD studies, including clinical trials and epidemiological studies.
doi:10.1097/NEN.0b013e31824b211b
PMCID: PMC3331862  PMID: 22437338
Alzheimer disease; Autopsy; Clinical trials; Diagnosis; Histopathology; Neuropathology; Non-Alzheimer dementia
15.  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
16.  Atrophy patterns in histologic vs clinical groupings of frontotemporal lobar degeneration 
Neurology  2009;72(19):1653-1660.
Objective:
Predictable patterns of atrophy are associated with the clinical subtypes of frontotemporal dementia (FTD): behavioral variant (bvFTD), semantic dementia (SEMD), and progressive nonfluent aphasia (PNFA). Some studies of pathologic subtypes have also suggested specific atrophy patterns; however, results are inconsistent. Our aim was to test the hypothesis that clinical, but not pathologic, classification (FTD with ubiquitin inclusions [FTD-U] and FTD with tau inclusions [FTD-T]) is associated with predictable patterns of regional atrophy.
Methods:
Magnetic resonance scans of nine FTD-U and six FTD-T patients (histologically confirmed) were compared with 25 controls using voxel-based morphometry (VBM). Analyses were conducted with the patient group classified according to histologic or clinical variant. Additionally, three Alzheimer pathology patients who had the syndrome of SEMD in life (FTD-A) were analyzed.
Results:
The VBM studies in clinical variants confirmed established patterns of atrophy (SEMD, rostral temporal; bvFTD, mesial frontal; PNFA, left insula). FTD-U and FTD-T VBM results were very similar, showing severe atrophy in the temporal poles, mesial frontal lobe, and insulae. A conjunction analysis confirmed this similarity. Subgroup analysis found that SEMD associated with either FTD-T or FTD-U was associated with similar rostral temporal atrophy; however, FTD-A had a qualitatively different pattern of left hippocampal atrophy.
Conclusions:
While there is predictable atrophy for clinical variants of frontotemporal dementia (FTD), histologic FTD variants show no noticeable differences. Reports of specific atrophy profiles are likely the result of idiosyncrasies in small groups. Semantic dementia associated with Alzheimer pathology, however, presented a distinct atrophy pattern.
GLOSSARY
= Alzheimer disease;
= behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia;
= frontotemporal dementia;
= Alzheimer pathology with semantic dementia;
= frontotemporal dementia with tau inclusions;
= frontotemporal dementia with ubiquitin inclusions;
= frontotemporal lobar degeneration;
= Mini-Mental State Examination;
= progressive nonfluent aphasia;
= semantic dementia;
= voxel-based morphometry.
doi:10.1212/WNL.0b013e3181a55fa2
PMCID: PMC2827263  PMID: 19433738
17.  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
18.  Distinct clinical and pathological characteristics of frontotemporal dementia associated with C9ORF72 mutations 
Brain  2012;135(3):693-708.
The identification of a hexanucleotide repeat expansion in the C9ORF72 gene as the cause of chromosome 9-linked frontotemporal dementia and motor neuron disease offers the opportunity for greater understanding of the relationship between these disorders and other clinical forms of frontotemporal lobar degeneration. In this study, we screened a cohort of 398 patients with frontotemporal dementia, progressive non-fluent aphasia, semantic dementia or mixture of these syndromes for mutations in the C9ORF72 gene. Motor neuron disease was present in 55 patients (14%). We identified 32 patients with C9ORF72 mutations, representing 8% of the cohort. The patients’ clinical phenotype at presentation varied: nine patients had frontotemporal dementia with motor neuron disease, 19 had frontotemporal dementia alone, one had mixed semantic dementia with frontal features and three had progressive non-fluent aphasia. There was, as expected, a significant association between C9ORF72 mutations and presence of motor neuron disease. Nevertheless, 46 patients, including 22 familial, had motor neuron disease but no mutation in C9ORF72. Thirty-eight per cent of the patients with C9ORF72 mutations presented with psychosis, with a further 28% exhibiting paranoid, deluded or irrational thinking, whereas <4% of non-mutation bearers presented similarly. The presence of psychosis dramatically increased the odds that patients carried the mutation. Mutation bearers showed a low incidence of motor stereotypies, and relatively high incidence of complex repetitive behaviours, largely linked to patients’ delusions. They also showed a lower incidence of acquired sweet food preference than patients without C9ORF72 mutations. Post-mortem pathology in five patients revealed transactive response DNA-binding protein 43 pathology, type A in one patient and type B in three. However, one patient had corticobasal degeneration pathology. The findings indicate that C9ORF72 mutations cause some but not all cases of frontotemporal dementia with motor neuron disease. Other mutations remain to be discovered. C9ORF72 mutations are associated with variable clinical presentations and pathology. Nevertheless, the findings highlight a powerful association between C9ORF72 mutations and psychosis and suggest that the behavioural characteristics of patients with C9ORF72 mutations are qualitatively distinct. Mutations in the C9ORF72 gene may be a major cause not only of frontotemporal dementia with motor neuron disease but also of late onset psychosis.
doi:10.1093/brain/awr355
PMCID: PMC3286329  PMID: 22300873
frontotemporal lobar degeneration; clinical characteristics; motor neuron disease; psychosis; neuropathology
19.  The Relationship between Subclinical Asperger's Syndrome and Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration 
Background/Aims
The existence of the behavioral variant of frontotemporal dementia (bv-FTD), including senile Asperger's syndrome (AS), has been proposed. However, there are no empirical case reports to support the proposal. In this report, we present 3 patients who showed symptoms of bv-FTD and demonstrated signs of autistic spectrum disorder, especially AS.
Methods
We evaluated 3 subjects using the diagnostic criteria for bv-FTD, and their caregivers retrospectively provided data to calculate the Autism-Spectrum Quotient, Japanese version [Wakabayashi et al.: Shinrigaku Kenkyu 2004;75:78–84]. We also compared these data with those obtained from 3 individuals with Alzheimer's disease.
Results
All 3 patients met the criteria for bv-FTD and had a higher Autism-Spectrum Quotient score than did comparable Alzheimer's disease subjects.
Conclusion
It is possible that some senile persons with frontotemporal lobar degeneration-like maladaptive behavior may suffer from subclinical AS.
doi:10.1159/000338174
PMCID: PMC3379728  PMID: 22719743
Frontotemporal dementia; Asperger's syndrome; Autistic spectrum disorders; Premorbid characteristics
20.  Using the Revised Diagnostic Criteria for Frontotemporal Dementia in India: Evidence of an Advanced and Florid Disease 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(4):e60999.
Background
The International Consortium (FTDC) that revised the diagnostic criteria for behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD) did not have an Asian representation. Whether the revised criteria are equally useful in the early detection of Asian bvFTD patients therefore remains largely unexplored. Earlier studies have indicated differences in clinical manifestations in Indian and other Asian bvFTD patients when compared to western groups. There is an urgent need for clarification, given the projected exponential rise in dementia in these countries and the imminent clinical trials on bvFTD.
Objective
To assess how Indian bvFTD patients fulfil the FTDC criteria, hypothesizing that our patients might present differently early in the illness.
Method
In a hospital-based retrospective observational study, we assessed 48 probable bvFTD patients, diagnosed according to the FTDC criteria, for the speed with which these criteria were fulfilled, the frequency of individual symptoms and their order of appearance during the illness.
Results
Most of our patients presented with moderate to severe dementia, in spite of having relatively short onset to diagnosis times. Patients on average took 1.4 years from onset to meet the FTDC criteria, with 90% of them presenting with four or more symptoms at diagnosis. Disinhibition was the commonest symptom and the first symptom in most patients.
Conclusion
With most patients presenting with advanced and florid disease, the FTDC criteria have little additional impact in early identification of bvFTD in India. Modifying the criteria further could allow detection of Indian patients early enough for their inclusion in future clinical trials.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0060999
PMCID: PMC3626587  PMID: 23596513
21.  Determinants of survival in behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia 
Neurology  2009;73(20):1656-1661.
Background:
Behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD) is a common cause of younger onset dementia. Little is known about its rate of progression but a recently identified subgroup seems to have an excellent prognosis. Other determinants of survival are unclear.
Methods:
We analyzed survival in a large group of clinically diagnosed bvFTD patients (n = 91) with particular attention to demographic and clinical features at presentation. Of the 91 cases, 50 have died, with pathologic confirmation in 28.
Results:
Median survival in the whole group was 9.0 years from symptom onset, and 5.4 years from diagnosis. After the exclusion of 24 “phenocopy” cases, the analysis was repeated in a subgroup of 67 patients. The mean age at symptom onset of the pathologic group was 58.5 years and 16% had a positive family history. Their median survival was 7.6 years (95% confidence interval [CI] 6.6–8.6) from symptom onset and 4.2 years (95% CI 3.4–5.0) from diagnosis. The only factor associated with shorter survival was the presence of language impairment at diagnosis.
Conclusions:
Patients with definite frontotemporal dementia have a poor prognosis which is worse if language deficits are also present. This contrasts with the extremely good outcome in those with the phenocopy syndrome: of our 24 patients only 1 has died (of coincident pathology) despite, in some cases, many years of follow-up.
GLOSSARY
= Addenbrooke’s Cognitive Examination;
= activities of daily living;
= behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia;
= confidence interval;
= frontotemporal dementia;
= frontotemporal lobar degeneration;
= Mini-Mental State Examination.
doi:10.1212/WNL.0b013e3181c1dee7
PMCID: PMC2881857  PMID: 19917988
22.  A comparative clinical, pathological, biochemical and genetic study of fused in sarcoma proteinopathies 
Brain  2011;134(9):2548-2564.
Neuronal intermediate filament inclusion disease and atypical frontotemporal lobar degeneration are rare diseases characterized by ubiquitin-positive inclusions lacking transactive response DNA-binding protein-43 and tau. Recently, mutations in the fused in sarcoma gene have been shown to cause familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and fused in sarcoma-positive neuronal inclusions have subsequently been demonstrated in neuronal intermediate filament inclusion disease and atypical frontotemporal lobar degeneration with ubiquitinated inclusions. Here we provide clinical, imaging, morphological findings, as well as genetic and biochemical data in 14 fused in sarcoma proteinopathy cases. In this cohort, the age of onset was variable but included cases of young-onset disease. Patients with atypical frontotemporal lobar degeneration with ubiquitinated inclusions all presented with behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia, while the clinical presentation in neuronal intermediate filament inclusion disease was more heterogeneous, including cases with motor neuron disease and extrapyramidal syndromes. Neuroimaging revealed atrophy of the frontal and anterior temporal lobes as well as the caudate in the cases with atypical frontotemporal lobar degeneration with ubiquitinated inclusions, but was more heterogeneous in the cases with neuronal intermediate filament inclusion disease, often being normal to visual inspection early on in the disease. The distribution and severity of fused in sarcoma-positive neuronal cytoplasmic inclusions, neuronal intranuclear inclusions and neurites were recorded and fused in sarcoma was biochemically analysed in both subgroups. Fused in sarcoma-positive neuronal cytoplasmic and intranuclear inclusions were found in the hippocampal granule cell layer in variable numbers. Cortical fused in sarcoma-positive neuronal cytoplasmic inclusions were often ‘Pick body-like’ in neuronal intermediate filament inclusion disease, and annular and crescent-shaped inclusions were seen in both conditions. Motor neurons contained variable numbers of compact, granular or skein-like cytoplasmic inclusions in all fused in sarcoma-positive cases in which brainstem and spinal cord motor neurons were available for study (five and four cases, respectively). No fused in sarcoma mutations were found in any cases. Biochemically, two major fused in sarcoma species were found and shown to be more insoluble in the atypical frontotemporal lobar degeneration with ubiquitinated inclusions subgroup compared with neuronal intermediate filament inclusion disease. There is considerable overlap and also significant differences in fused in sarcoma-positive pathology between the two subgroups, suggesting they may represent a spectrum of the same disease. The co-existence of fused in sarcoma-positive inclusions in both motor neurons and extramotor cerebral structures is a characteristic finding in sporadic fused in sarcoma proteinopathies, indicating a multisystem disorder.
doi:10.1093/brain/awr160
PMCID: PMC3170529  PMID: 21752791
frontotemporal lobar degeneration; FUS; clinical presentation; neuropathology; biochemistry
23.  Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration 
CNS drugs  2010;24(5):375-398.
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.
doi:10.2165/11533100-000000000-00000
PMCID: PMC2916644  PMID: 20369906
24.  Frontotemporal dementia and Alzheimer's disease: retrospective differentiation using information from informants. 
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.
PMCID: PMC1073603  PMID: 7608712
25.  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

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