Traditional cognitive tests used in clinical practice may not be sensitive enough for the early differentiation of behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD) from Alzheimer's disease (AD). A growing body of literature has shown that deficits in various aspects of social cognition can be found in bvFTD.
The objective of this study is to investigate whether short and easily administered tests of social cognition are useful in providing clinical information which might aid in the differentiation of bvFTD from AD in the early stages of bvFTD.
11 patients diagnosed with bvFTD and 10 patients diagnosed with AD completed a neuropsychological assessment comprising global, executive and social cognitive tasks.
Measures of global cognitive function showed no significant difference between the two groups, whereas even the short social cognitive measures (the Reading the Mind in the Eyes Test and the Emotion Hexagon) showed significant group differences, reflecting a poorer performance by the bvFTD group.
Our results suggest that it may indeed be relevant to include short and easily administered measures of social cognition in the differential diagnosis of early bvFTD and AD.