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1.  Accuracy of single‐photon emission computed tomography in differentiating frontotemporal dementia from Alzheimer's disease 
Alzheimer's disease (AD) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD) are the commonest causes of presenile dementia. In the absence of a biological marker, diagnosis is reliant on clinical evaluation. Confirmation is often sought from neuroimaging, including single‐photon emission computed tomography (SPECT). Most previous SPECT studies lack pathological validation.
To examine the accuracy of SPECT in differentiating FTD from AD in patients with subsequent pathological confirmation.
Technetium‐99‐labelled hexamethyl propylene amine oxime SPECT images obtained at initial evaluation in 25 pathologically confirmed cases of FTD were examined. These images were visually rated by an experienced blinded nuclear medicine consultant and compared with those of 31 patients with AD, also with pathological validation.
A reduction in frontal cerebral blood flow (CBF) was more common in FTD and was of diagnostic value (sensitivity 0.8, specificity 0.65 and likelihood ratio (LR) 2.25; 95% CI 1.35 to 3.77). A pattern of bilateral frontal CBF reduction without the presence of associated bilateral parietal CBF change is diagnostically more accurate (sensitivity 0.80, specificity 0.81 and +LR 4.13, 95% CI 1.96 to 8.71). Diagnostic categorisation (FTD or AD) on the basis of SPECT alone was less accurate than clinical diagnosis (based on neurology and detailed neuropsychological evaluation). One patient with FTD was initially clinically misdiagnosed as AD, owing to the lack of availability of full neuropsychological assessment. However, SPECT correctly diagnosed this patient, providing a diagnostic gain of 4%.
Technetium‐99‐labelled hexamethyl propylene amine oxime SPECT CBF patterns provide valuable information in the diagnosis of FTD and AD. These data can be better used as an adjunct to clinical diagnosis if pathology is to be correctly predicted in life.
PMCID: PMC2077783  PMID: 17158559
2.  Genetic associations between cathepsin D exon 2 C→T polymorphism and Alzheimer's disease, and pathological correlations with genotype 
Genetic variations represent major risk factors for Alzheimer's disease (AD). While familial early onset AD is associated with mutations in the amyloid precursor protein and presenilin genes, only the e4 allele of the apolipoprotein E (APOE) gene has so far been established as a genetic risk factor for late onset familial and sporadic AD. It has been suggested that the C→T (224Ala→Val) transition within exon 2 of the cathepsin D gene (CTSD) might represent a risk factor for late onset AD. The objective of this study was to investigate whether possession of the CTSD exon 2 T allele increases the risk of developing AD, and to determine whether this modulates the amyloid pathology of the disease in conjunction with, or independent of, the APOE e4 allele. Blood samples were obtained from 412 patients with possible or probable AD and brain tissues from a further 148 patients with AD confirmed by postmortem examination. CTSD and APOE genotyping were performed by PCR on DNA extracted from blood, or from frontal cortex or cerebellum in the postmortem cases. Pathological measures of amyloid β protein (Aβ), as plaque Aβ40 and Aβ42(3) load and degree of cerebral amyloid angiopathy were made by image analysis or semiquantitative rating, respectively. CTSD genotype frequencies in AD were not significantly different from those in control subjects, nor did these differ between cases of early or late onset AD or between younger and older controls. There was no gene interaction between the CTSD T and APOE e4 alleles. The amount of plaque Aβ40 was greater in patients carrying the CTSD T allele than in non‐carriers, and in patients bearing APOE e4 allele compared with non‐carriers. Possession of both these alleles acted synergistically to increase levels of plaque Aβ40, especially in those individuals who were homozygous for the APOE e4 allele. Possession of the CTSD T allele had no effect on plaque Aβ42(3) load or degree of CAA. Possession of the CTSD T allele does not increase the risk of developing AD per se, but has a modulating effect on the pathogenesis of the disorder by increasing, in concert with the APOE e4 allele, the amount of Aβ deposited as senile plaques in the brain in the form of Aβ40.
PMCID: PMC2077521  PMID: 16543533
Alzheimer's disease; cathepsin D gene; apolipoprotein E gene; amyloid β protein; genotype/phenotype correlation
3.  The apolipoprotein E ε4 allele selectively increases the risk of frontotemporal lobar degeneration in males 
To determine whether polymorphic variations in the apolipoprotein E gene (APOE) are associated with increased risk of frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) when mutation in tau gene is absent.
The APOE gene was genotyped by polymerase chain reaction from DNA routinely extracted from blood or brain tissues. The APOE ε4 allele frequency in 198 patients with FTLD not associated with mutations in tau gene was compared with that of a control group of 756 normal individuals drawn from the same geographical region. Analyses were done according to clinical subtype or sex.
The APOE ε4 allele frequency (19.4%) was increased (p = 0.01) in FTLD v the whole control group (14.1%), while the APOE ε2 allele frequency in FTLD (6.5%) was slightly lower than in controls (8.0%) (NS). The APOE ε4 allele frequency in men with FTLD (22.3%) was greater (p = 0.002) than in male controls (12.3%); the frequency in women (16.3%) was similar to that in female controls (14.8%) (NS). The APOE ε2 allele frequency in men with FTLD was 4.9% while in male controls it was 9.5% (p = 0.06), but there was no difference in women (7.5% v 7.9%, NS). Neither the APOE ε2 nor APOE ε4 allele frequency varied significantly between any of the clinical subtypes.
In FTLD not associated with mutations in tau gene, possession of APOE ε4 allele in men roughly doubles the chances of developing disease, whereas this has no impact upon disease risk in women.
PMCID: PMC2077587  PMID: 16421115
frontotemporal lobar degeneration; apolipoprotein E gene; dementia; genetic risk; gender
4.  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.
PMCID: PMC1739700  PMID: 15965196
6.  Distinct neuropsychological characteristics in Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease 
Objectives: To characterise the nature of cognitive change in Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD).
Methods: Case histories are reported of four patients with sporadic (sCJD) and two with familial CJD (fCJD), with postmortem pathological findings in four cases. The data derived from cognitive examination are examined with respect to the presence or absence of a variety of characteristics to elicit performance profiles across cognitive domains.
Results: Three patients with sCJD exhibited clear focal cortical deficits. One patient had visual impairment leading to cortical blindness, associated with posterior hemisphere abnormalities on single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) imaging; two others had impairments in language, mirrored by left hemisphere SPECT abnormalities. The remaining three patients showed no specific cortical symptomatology. Despite these differences all six patients shared common qualitative characteristics: episodic unresponsiveness, interference effects, and profound verbal and motor perseveration. These common features are interpreted in terms of impaired activation and regulation of neocortex from subcortical structures. Findings from postmortem pathological examination and from the published literature provide converging evidence to implicate a critical role of the thalamus.
Conclusion: These preliminary findings suggest that sCJD and fCJD may be associated with distinct neuropsychological characteristics.
PMCID: PMC1757345  PMID: 12438471
7.  Qualitative performance characteristics differentiate dementia with Lewy bodies and Alzheimer's disease 
Objectives: To determine whether dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) and Alzheimer's disease (AD) can be differentiated on the basis of qualitative performance characteristics during neuropsychological evaluation.
Methods: Forty one patients with clinically defined DLB were matched with 26 patients with AD for age, illness duration, nature and severity of cognitive deficits, and regional blood flow distribution on SPECT. The presence or absence of a set of qualitative performance characteristics, observed and recorded during the patients' initial cognitive evaluation, was identified by retrospective analysis of patients' records and the groups compared.
Results: Inattention, visual distractibility, impairments in establishing and shifting mental set, incoherence, confabulatory responses, perseveration, and intrusions were significantly more common in DLB than AD. Intrusions were particularly common in DLB, occurring in 78% of the group. They included externally cued intrusions arising from the visual environment, a feature never seen in AD. In a stepwise logistic regression analysis impaired mental set shifting, perseveration, and the presence of intrusions correctly classified 79% of patients.
Conclusion: It is possible to differentiate DLB and AD on the basis of qualitative features of performance. As many features are amenable to detection at clinical interview, they ought to contribute to clinicians' diagnostic armoury, leading to improved clinical recognition of DLB.
PMCID: PMC1737879  PMID: 11971046
8.  Distinct behavioural profiles in frontotemporal dementia and semantic dementia 
OBJECTIVE—To test predictions that frontotemporal dementia and semantic dementia give rise to distinct patterns of behavioural change.
METHODS—An informant based semistructured behavioural interview, covering the domains of basic and social emotions, social and personal behaviour, sensory behaviour, eating and oral behaviour, repetitive behaviours, rituals, and compulsions, was administered to carers of 41 patients with semantic dementia and with apathetic (FTD-A) and disinhibited (FTD-D) forms of frontotemporal dementia.
RESULTS—Consistent with prediction, emotional changes differentiated FTD from semantic dementia. Whereas lack of emotional response was pervasive in FTD, it was more selective in semantic dementia, affecting particularly the capacity to show fear. Social avoidance occurred more often in FTD and social seeking in semantic dementia. Patients with FTD showed reduced response to pain, whereas patients with semantic dementia more often showed exaggerated reactions to sensory stimuli. Gluttony and indiscriminate eating were characteristic of FTD, whereas patients with semantic dementia were more likely to exhibit food fads. Hyperorality, involving inedible objects, was unrelated to gluttony, indicating different underlying mechanisms. Repetitive behaviours were common in both FTD and semantic dementia, but had a more compulsive quality in semantic dementia. Behavioural differences were greater between semantic dementia and FTD-A than FTD-D. A logistic regression analysis indicated that emotional and repetitive, compulsive behaviours discriminated FTD from semantic dementia with 97% accuracy.
CONCLUSION—The findings confirm predictions regarding behavioural differences in frontotemporal and semantic dementia and point to differential roles of the frontal and temporal lobes in affect, social functioning, eating, and compulsive behaviour.

PMCID: PMC1737271  PMID: 11181853
9.  Evaluation of the NINCDS-ADRDA criteria in the differentiation of Alzheimer's disease and frontotemporal dementia 
OBJECTIVES—The diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease (AD) is now reliant on the use of NINCDS-ADRDA criteria. Other diseases causing dementia are being increasingly recognised—for example, frontotemporal dementia (FTD). Historically, these disorders have not been clearly demarcated from AD. This study assesses the capability of the NINCDS-ADRDA criteria to accurately distinguish AD from FTD in a series of pathologically proved cases.
METHODS—The case records of 56 patients (30 with AD, 26 with FTD) who had undergone neuropsychological evaluation, brain imaging, and ultimately postmortem, were assessed in terms of whether at initial diagnosis the NINCDS-ADRDA criteria were successful in diagnosing those patients who had AD and excluding those who did not.
RESULTS—(1) The overall sensitivity of the NINCDS-ADRDA criteria in diagnosing "probable" AD from 56 patients with cortical dementia (AD and FTD) was 0.93. However, the specificity was only 0.23; most patients with FTD also fulfilled NINCDS-ADRDA criteria for AD. (2) Cognitive deficits in the realms of orientation and praxis significantly increased the odds of a patient having AD compared with FTD, whereas deficits in problem solving significantly decreased the odds. Neuropsychological impairments in the domains of attention, language, perception, and memory as defined in the NINCDS-ADRDA statement did not contribute to the clinical differentiation of AD and FTD.
CONCLUSION—NINCDS-ADRDA criteria fail accurately to differentiate AD from FTD. Suggestions to improve the diagnostic specificity of the current criteria are made.

PMCID: PMC1736233  PMID: 10071097
10.  A clinical role for 99mTc-HMPAO SPECT in the investigation of dementia? 
OBJECTIVES—To provide the clinician with a guide to the clinical utility of 99mTc-HMPAO single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) and to the interpretation of specific test results in the differential diagnosis of dementia.
METHODS—Three hundred and sixty three patients with dementia were studied prospectively for a median three (range 1-6) years and classified into disease groups on the basis of established clinical criteria. The degree to which different patterns of cerebral blood flow (CBF) abnormality found on 99mTc-HMPAO SPECT imaging at the time of initial patient presentation modified clinical diagnoses was determined by calculating the likelihood ratios for pairwise disease group comparisons. The optimal clinical usage of 99mTc-HMPAO SPECT was determined by calculating the percentage of significant test results for each pairwise disease group comparison.
RESULTS—Bilateral posterior CBF abnormality was found to significantly increase the odds of a patient having Alzheimer's disease as opposed to vascular dementia or frontotemporal dementia. Bilateral anterior CBF abnormality significantly increased the odds of a patient having frontotemporal dementia as opposed to Alzheimer's disease, vascular dementia, or Lewy body disease. "Patchy" CBF changes significantly increased the odds of a patient having vascular dementia as opposed to Alzheimer's disease. Unilateral anterior, unilateral anterior plus unilateral posterior, and generalised CBF abnormality failed to contribute to the differentiation of any of these forms of dementia.
CONCLUSIONS—99mTc-HMPAO SPECT was found to be most useful in distinguishing Alzheimer's disease from vascular dementia and fronto temporal dementia, and least useful in differentiating between Alzheimer's disease and Lewy body disease, and between vascular dementia, frontotemporal dementia, and progressive aphasia. It is suggested that CBF SPECT should be used selectively and as an adjunct to clinical evaluation and CT.

PMCID: PMC2169991  PMID: 9527139
12.  Inter-relation between "classic" motor neuron disease and frontotemporal dementia: neuropsychological and single photon emission computed tomography study. 
The purpose of this study was to examine the possible association between "classic" motor neuron disease (cMND) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD), using neuropsychological evaluation and single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT). Psychological tests assessing language, perceptuospatial, memory, and "frontal lobe" functions were given to patients with cMND and test scores were compared with those of normal control subjects. 99mTc-HMPAO SPECT was performed on patients with cMND, FTD and motor neuron disease (FTD/MND), FTD alone, and normal control subjects. Regional cerebral blood flow indices (rCBFi) were determined in 36 cortical regions, and differences between grouped rCBFi data were investigated by canonical discriminant analysis. There were significant group differences in the scores of picture sequencing and token tests in patients with cMND compared with normal controls. Regional CBFi data showed frontal and anterior temporal reductions in patients with cMND compared with normal controls. A similar pattern of SPECT abnormality was seen in patients with FTD/MND and FTD alone, but to a more pronounced degree than in patients with cMND. Neuropsychological and SPECT findings in cMND, FTD/MND, and FTD showed a common pattern of cerebral involvement, most pronounced in the second two conditions. It is suggested that cMND, FTD/MND, and FTD represent a clinical range of a pathological continuum.
PMCID: PMC1073482  PMID: 7745399
13.  Familial progressive aphasia: its relationship to other forms of lobar atrophy. 
Two brothers presented with slowly progressive aphasia. One brother, who became behaviourally disturbed only at the end of his illness, was found at necropsy to have predominant left frontotemporal atrophy. The other brother developed severe behavioural disturbances shortly after the onset of language impairment. His brain revealed bilateral frontotemporal atrophy. In both there was non-Alzheimer's disease pathology with the histological features of loss of large cortical nerve cells, spongiform change and mild gliosis. The differential anatomical atrophy supports the view that clinical manifestations of lobar atrophy are dictated by the topographical distribution of a common underlying pathology, linking the syndromes of progressive aphasia to dementia of frontal lobe type (DFT) and DFT with motor neuron disease.
PMCID: PMC1015244  PMID: 8410013
14.  Dementia of frontal lobe type: neuropathology and immunohistochemistry. 
Brains from 12 patients dying with a clinical diagnosis of frontal lobe dementia have been examined at post mortem. In pathological terms four groups were encountered. Groups A and B showed severe frontal and temporal lobe atrophy characterised histologically in group A by severe neuronal loss, spongiform change of the superficial laminae, and mild astrocytosis; in group B severe neuronal loss was accompanied by intense gliosis but with little or no spongiform change. Two patients in this latter group also showed inclusions in frontal cortex and hippocampus typical of "Pick bodies"; such patients were considered as having classic "Pick's disease". Group C patients showed severe striatal atrophy with variable cortical (frontal or temporal) involvement, with histological changes similar to patients in groups A and B. The single patient in group D showed mild frontotemporal atrophy with spongiform degeneration of the superficial laminae of the cortex and nigral damage, and was considered to have motor neuron disease with dementia. This study is consistent with previous reports showing that the clinical syndrome of frontal lobe dementia is pathologically heterogeneous. However, the nosological relationships within these pathological variants, and between them and conditions such as progressive aphasia were similar histopathological changes are present, remain uncertain.
PMCID: PMC489608  PMID: 8509772
17.  Antemortem measurements of neurotransmission: possible implications for pharmacotherapy of Alzheimer's disease and depression. 
Aspartic acid, 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid, glutamic acid, homovanillic acid and 3-methoxy-4-hydroxyphenylethylene glycol was determined in samples of ventricular fluid from 82 subjects. Laminar distribution of the total number (Bmax value) of serotonin 1A receptors was determined on seven neurosurgical samples of neocortex. Apart from an association in a small subgroup of subjects between homovanillate concentration and corticosteroid medication, no complicating influences of treatment preceding operation were found. The content of the serotonin metabolite alone was significantly reduced in intractable depressive illness (bipolar and major depressive disorders) compared with neurological conditions subdivided into Alzheimer's disease, other dementias and other conditions. There was no other significant difference between these groups for the compounds measured. The total number of serotonin 1A receptors was highest in the superficial layers, being considerably higher than in the rat, irrespective of cortical layer. This part of the study indicated that these receptors are important for regulating activity of human corticocortical glutamatergic neurons. The results are discussed in relation to treating depression with serotonergic agents and targeting corticocortical glutamatergic neurons as well as acetylcholine in Alzheimer's disease.
PMCID: PMC1014771  PMID: 7679142
25.  Frontal lobe dementia and motor neuron disease. 
Four patients are described, in whom a profound and rapidly progressive dementia occurred in association with clinical features of motor neuron disease. The pattern of dementia indicated impaired frontal lobe function, confirmed by reduced tracer uptake in the frontal lobes on single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT). Pathological examination of the brains of two patients revealed frontal-lobe atrophy, with mild gliosis and spongiform change. The spinal cord changes were consistent with motor neuron disease. The clinical picture and pathological findings resembled those of dementia of frontal-lobe type and were distinct from those of Alzheimer's disease. The findings have implications for the understanding of the spectrum of non-Alzheimer forms of primary degenerative dementia.
PMCID: PMC1014093  PMID: 2303828

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