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1.  Accounting for Functional Loss in Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia with Lewy Bodies: Beyond Cognition 
The relative contributions of cognitive, motor and behavioral deficits to the impairment of physical or instrumental activities of daily living (ADL) may differ in patients with Dementia with Lewy Bodies (DLB) and Alzheimer’s Disease (AD).
Multiple linear regression analyses were used to identify the amount of variability in physical self-maintenance and instrumental ADL ratings predicted by cognitive, motor, and behavioral indices separately for patients with autopsy-diagnosed DLB (n=39) or AD (n=39).
Motor dysfunction accounted for significant variance in physical ADL in DLB (R2 change=0.17), whereas behavioral (R2 change=0.23) and motor dysfunction (R2 change=0.13) accounted for significant variance in AD. Motor (R2 change=0.32) and cognitive (R2 change=0.10) dysfunction accounted for significant variance in instrumental ADL in DLB, whereas cognitive (R2 change=0.36) and behavioral (R2 change=0.12) dysfunction accounted for significant variance in AD.
Cognitive, motor, and behavioral deficits contribute differently to ADL changes in DLB and AD. Thus, treatments designed to ameliorate a certain aspect of AD or DLB (e.g., cognitive dysfunction) may have a larger impact on everyday function in one disorder than the other.
PMCID: PMC4339266  PMID: 23850331
Dementia with Lewy Bodies; Alzheimer’s Disease; Activities of Daily Living; Cognition; Behavior; Motor Function
2.  Early Visuospatial Deficits Predict the Occurrence of Visual Hallucinations in Autopsy-Confirmed Dementia with Lewy Bodies 
The current study explored the value of visuospatial findings for predicting the occurrence of visual hallucinations (VH) in a sample of patients with Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) compared to patients with Alzheimer’s disease (AD).
Retrospective analysis of 55 autopsy-confirmed DLB and 55 demographically-similar, autopsy-confirmed AD cases determined whether severe initial visuospatial deficits on the WISC-R Block Design subtest predicted the development of VH. Visuospatial deficits were considered severe if Block Design z-scores were 2.5 or more standard deviations below the mean of a well-characterized normal control group (Severe-VIS; DLB: n=35, AD: n=26) and otherwise were considered mild (Mild-VIS; DLB: n=20, AD: n=29).
Forty percent of the Severe-VIS DLB group had baseline VH compared to 0% of Mild-VIS DLB patients. Only 8% of the Severe-VIS and 3% Mild-VIS AD patients had baseline VH. During the follow-up period (mean=5.0 years), an additional 61% of the Severe-VIS but only 11% of the Mild-VIS DLB patients developed VH. In that period, 38% of the Severe-VIS and 20% of the Mild-VIS AD patients developed VH. After considering initial MMSE score and rate of decline, logistic regression analyses found that performance on Block Design significantly predicted the presence of VH in the DLB group but not the AD group.
The presence of early, severe deficits on neuropsychological tests of visuospatial skill increases the likelihood that patients with suspected DLB will develop the prototypical DLB syndrome. The presence of such deficits may identify those DLB patients whose syndrome is driven by alpha-synuclein pathology rather than AD pathology and may inform treatment plans as well as future research.
PMCID: PMC3260388  PMID: 21997600
Lewy body disease; Hallucinations, visual; Alzheimer’s disease; Visuospatial cognition
3.  Visuospatial Deficits Predict Rate of Cognitive Decline in Autopsy-Verified Dementia with Lewy Bodies 
Neuropsychology  2008;22(6):729-737.
Dementia with Lewy Bodies (DLB) is often characterized by pronounced impairment in visuospatial skills, attention, and executive functions. However, the strength of the phenotypic expression of DLB varies and may be weaker in patients with extensive concomitant Alzheimer’s disease (AD). To determine whether strength of the DLB clinical phenotype impacts cognitive decline, visuospatial and language tests were retrospectively used to predict two-year rate of global cognitive decline in 22 autopsy-confirmed DLB patients (21 with concomitant AD) and 44 autopsy-confirmed “pure” AD patients. Generalized Estimating Equations (GEE) revealed a significant interaction such that poor baseline performances on tests of visuospatial skills were strongly associated with a rapid rate of cognitive decline in DLB but not AD (p < .001). No effect of confrontation naming was found. DLB patients with poor visuospatial skills had fewer neurofibrillary tangles and were more likely to experience visual hallucinations than those with better visuospatial skills. These results suggest that the severity of visuospatial deficits in DLB may identify those facing a particularly malignant disease course and may designate individuals whose clinical syndrome is impacted more by Lewy body formation than AD pathology.
PMCID: PMC2587484  PMID: 18999346
Dementia with Lewy bodies; cognitive decline; visuospatial skills; Alzheimer’s disease
4.  Neuropsychiatric Features of Frontal Lobe Dysfunction in Autopsy-Confirmed Patients with Lewy Bodies and “Pure” Alzheimer’s Disease 
To compare patients with autopsy-confirmed Alzheimer’s disease (AD, #14) and Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) on the frequency of behaviors related to frontal systems dysfunction and the association of these behaviors with dementia severity.
Cross-sectional survey of longitudinal cohort.
University Alzheimer’s disease research center.
Volunteer sample of 19 DLB and 38 AD participants with autopsy-confirmed diagnoses, similar in age (DLB: 77.3, AD: 77.5), education (15.2, 14.7), and Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) score (20.6, 20.5), with impairment ranging from mild deficits to moderate dementia.
The Frontal Systems Behavior Scale (FrSBe)-Family Rating Form assessing patient apathy, disinhibition, and executive dysfunction by a knowledgeable informant.
A two-way analysis of variance with the FrSBe total as the dependent variable revealed a significant MMSE by diagnosis interaction (F(1,53)=9.34, p=.004). Mean FrSBe total for AD patients showed significant impairment across the range of dementia severity, while it was relatively preserved for DLB patients in early stage of disease. The interaction term showed the same pattern for the executive dysfunction (F(1,53)=7.62, p=.008), disinhibition (F(1,53)=4.90, p=.031), and apathy (F(1,53)=9.77, p=.003) subscales.
While frontal behavioral symptoms in AD patients were present regardless of stage of dementia, DLB patients showed significant frontal dysfunction only in later stages. Results suggest that frontal subcortical circuits associated with behaviors assessed by the FrSBe are affected early in AD but not until later stages in DLB. Assessing specific behaviors related to frontal systems, coupled with stage of cognitive decline, may aid in clinical differentiation of AD and DLB.
PMCID: PMC3664517  PMID: 23567425
Dementia with Lewy bodies; Alzheimer’s disease; Frontal systems; Behavioral symptoms
5.  Behavioral Measures of Saccade Latency and Inhibition in Manifest and Premanifest Huntington’s Disease 
Journal of motor behavior  2011;43(4):295-302.
Initiation and inhibition of saccadic eye movements has been shown to be impaired in patients with Huntington’s disease (HD) and premanifest gene carriers (PMGC), and may provide biomarkers useful in tracking phenotypic change. Computerized behavioral tests of prosaccade latency and disinhibition presented to 31 non–gene carriers (NGC), 25 PMGC, and 12 HD patients. These tests provided quantitative performance measures without use of eye-tracking equipment. Significant differences on saccade tests were found, with PMGC intermediate between NGC and HD patients. Saccade latency discriminated PMGC from NGC, whereas saccade disinhibition discriminated PMGC from HD patients. Results suggest utility of behavioral saccade measures as premanifest indicators of phenoconversion in HD.
PMCID: PMC3568932  PMID: 21774606
behavioral test; eye-tracking; Huntington’s disease; oculomotor functioning; predictive testing; presymptomatic; saccade; saccadic eye movements
6.  Cognitive and Functional Decline in Huntington's Disease: Dementia Criteria Revisited 
The importance of designating criteria for diagnosing dementia lies in its implications for clinical treatment, research, caregiving, and decision-making. Dementia diagnosis in Huntington's disease (HD) is often based on criteria developed for Alzheimer's disease requiring memory loss. However, it is likely that other cognitive deficits contribute to functional impairment in HD before memory declines. The goal is to identify cognitive deficits that contribute to functional impairment to support dementia criteria that reflect HD neuropathology. Eighty-four HD mutation-positive subjects completed neuropsychological tests and the Unified Huntington's Disease Rating Scale Functional Independence Scale (FIS). Functional impairment was defined as 80 or below on the FIS. Speed of processing, initiation, and attention measures accounted for 70.0% of the variance in FIS ratings (linear regression) and correctly classified 91.7% of subjects as functionally impaired or intact (logistic regression). Measures of memory, motor impairment except dysarthria, neuroleptic use, and depressed mood did not improve prediction. A definition of HD dementia that includes cognitive impairment in at least two areas of cognition but does not require a memory deficit, in the context of impaired functional abilities and a deteriorating course, more accurately reflects HD neuropathology and could lead to improved research methods and patient care.
PMCID: PMC2910142  PMID: 20629124
7.  Verbal Learning and Memory in Patients with Dementia with Lewy Bodies or Parkinson's Disease with Dementia 
This study compared verbal learning and memory in patients with autopsy-confirmed dementia with Lewy Bodies (DLB) and patients with Parkinson's disease with dementia (PDD). Twenty-four DLB patients, 24 PDD patients, and 24 normal comparison participants were administered the California Verbal Learning Test. The three groups were matched on demographic variables and the two patient groups were matched on the Mattis Dementia Rating Scale. The results indicated that DLB patients recalled less information than PDD patients on all but one recall measure and displayed a more rapid rate of forgetting. In contrast, the PDD patients committed a greater percent of perseveration errors than the DLB patients. The two groups did not differ in the percentage of recall intrusion errors or any measures of recognition. A discriminant function analysis (DFA) using short delay cued recall, percent perseveration errors, and list b recall, differentiated the DLB and PDD groups with 81.3% accuracy. The application of the DFA algorithm to another sample of 42 PDD patients resulted in a 78.6% correct classification rate. The results suggest that, despite equivalent levels of general cognitive impairment, patients with DLB or PDD exhibit a different pattern of verbal learning and memory deficits.
PMCID: PMC2935683  PMID: 19221922
8.  Identifying the “source” of recognition memory deficits in patients with Huntington's disease or Alzheimer's disease: Evidence from the CVLT-II 
The present study compared the performance of individuals with Huntington's disease (HD) and Alzheimer's disease (AD) on three types of California Verbal Learning Test–Second Edition (CVLT-II) recognition discriminability indices (RDI): Source, Novel, and Total. The HD and AD groups did not differ significantly on Source RDI (all 16 targets versus the 16 previously presented, List B, distractors). However, HD patients performed significantly better than AD patients on Total RDI (all 16 targets versus all 32 distractors) and Novel RDI (all 16 targets versus 16 new distractors). Implications of these findings on the differentiation of the memory disorders associated with HD and AD are discussed.
PMCID: PMC2864091  PMID: 18415887

Results 1-8 (8)