Search tips
Search criteria

Results 1-25 (42)

Clipboard (0)

Select a Filter Below

Year of Publication
1.  Suicidal Behavior and Loss of the Future Self in Semantic Dementia 
Semantic dementia impairs semantic autobiographical memory, but tends to spare its episodic components that are critical for the sense of self. Investigators have recently discovered disturbances in the “future self” in semantic dementia. We report a 63-year-old man with semantic dementia who was hospitalized after suicide attempts that he attributed to his loss of a sense of future self. He complained of a decreased sense of being human, because he could not imagine doing things in the future that he had done in the past. Suicidal thinking and inability to place himself in future tasks persisted despite resolution of depression. Clinical assessment revealed a crossmodal loss of semantic knowledge, and neuroimaging showed bilateral anterior temporal atrophy and hypometabolism. On specific tests of autobiographical memory, identity, attribute knowledge, and future projection, the patient could return to the past and visualize himself in familiar scenarios, but he could not visualize himself even passively in these scenarios in the future. His future self was impaired not from seeing himself disabled; it was from an absence of semantic details of potential experiences, associated with impaired semantic autobiographical memory. His self-representations were concrete and specific rather than abstract and generalizable. This patient and recent publications indicate that semantic dementia impairs the ability to imagine oneself as capable in the future, leading some patients to suicidal behavior. We discuss possible mechanisms for these findings, including the potential role of abstract construals for future thinking.
PMCID: PMC3720236  PMID: 23812172
semantic dementia; memory; autobiographical memory; self; identity
2.  Observation of Social Behavior in Frontotemporal Dementia 
The most characteristic manifestations of behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD) are abnormalities in social behavior. However, distinguishing bvFTD based on social behavior can be difficult in structured clinical settings.
Using a Social Observation Inventory, 10 patients with bvFTD and 10 patients with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) were compared to their caregiver interlocutors on 1-hour mealtime, in-home videotaped segments.
Compared to caregivers and patients with AD, patients with bvFTD were significantly disturbed in social behavior. In contrast, patients with AD were indistinguishable from their caregivers. The lack of “you” comments and decreased tact and manners distinguished 92.6% of the patients with bvFTD from patients with AD and caregivers. The Social Observation Inventory scores correlated with scores on frontal-executive tests and socioemotional scales.
The systematic observation of social behavior during routine activities may be one of the best ways to distinguish patients with bvFTD from normal individuals and from patients with other dementias.
PMCID: PMC4020965  PMID: 24370617
dementia; frontotemporal lobar degeneration; Alzheimer’s disease; social behavior; autism
3.  Nonamnestic Presentations of Early-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease 
Early-onset Alzheimer’s disease (EOAD) beginning before the age of 65 may differ from late-onset AD (LOAD) in clinical course and frequency of nonamnestic presentations. In a 10-year retrospective review, 125 patients with EOAD, diagnosed clinically and verified by functional neuroimaging, were compared with 56 patients with LOAD and further classified depending on predominant cognitive difficulty on presentation. Eighty (64%) of the patients with EOAD had a nonamnestic presentation, compared with only 7 (12.5%) of the patients with LOAD. Compared with LOAD, the patients with EOAD had a shorter duration with lower Mini-Mental State Examination scores. The neuroimaging reports among the patients with EOAD showed more hippocampal atrophy with an amnestic presentation, more left parietal changes with impaired language presentations, and more right parietal and occipital changes with impaired visuospatial presentations. These findings indicate that EOAD differs from LOAD in a more aggressive course and in having predominantly nonamnestic presentations that vary in neuropathological location.
PMCID: PMC3625669  PMID: 22871906
Alzheimer’s disease; early-onset; aphasia; posterior cortical atrophy; apraxia
4.  The Spectrum of Sociopathy in Dementia 
Although well-known from head trauma and acute strokes, sociopathic behavior from dementia is less known and understood. This study reviewed 33 dementia patients who had been in trouble with the law. They were divided into two groups: 22 who committed impulsive sociopathic acts and 11 who committed non-impulsive acts. The impulsive patients demonstrated nonviolent acts, such as dis-inhibited sexual behavior or pathological stealing, and had disproportionate frontal-caudate atrophy on neuroimaging. The majority of non-impulsive patients demonstrated agitation-paranoia, sometimes with reactive aggression, delusional beliefs, or aphasic paranoia, and had advanced memory and other cognitive impairment. The impulsive patients tended to have frontally predominant illnesses such as frontotemporal dementia or Huntington’s disease, whereas the non-impulsive group tended to have Alzheimer’s disease or prominent aphasia. Sociopathy has different causes in dementia. Two common mechanisms are disinhibition, with frontally predominant disease, and agitation-paranoia, with greater cognitive impairment. These forms of sociopathy differ significantly from the antisocial/ psychopathic personality.
PMCID: PMC3367426  PMID: 21677240
5.  Interhemispheric Differences in Knowledge of Animals Among Patients With Semantic Dementia 
To investigate interhemispheric differences on naming and fluency tasks for living versus nonliving things among patients with semantic dementia (SD).
In SD, left-temporal involvement impairs language and word comprehension, and right-temporal involvement impairs facial recognition. There may be other interhemispheric differences, particularly in the animate-inanimate dichotomy.
On the basis of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) ratings of anterior temporal atrophy, 36 patients who met criteria for SD were divided into 21 with left-predominant and 11 with right-predominant involvement (4 others were too symmetric for analysis). The left and right-predominant groups were compared on naming, fluency, and facial recognition tests.
Consistent with greater language impairment, the left-predominant patients had worse naming, especially inanimate and letter fluency, than the right-predominant patients. In contrast, difference in scores suggested selective impairment of animal naming, animal name fluency, and semantic knowledge for animate items among the right-predominant patients. Proportionally more right than left-predominant patients misnamed animal items and faces.
These findings support interhemispheric differences in animal knowledge. Whereas left-predominant SD equally affects animate and inanimate words from language involvement, right-predominant SD, with greater sparing of language, continues to impair other semantic aspects of animals. The right anterior temporal region seems to make a unique contribution to knowledge of living things.
PMCID: PMC3143503  PMID: 21042206
semantic dementia; animate-inanimate; prosopagnosia
6.  The Unique Predisposition to Criminal Violations in Frontotemporal Dementia 
Brain disorders can lead to criminal violations. Patients with frontotemporal dementia (FTD) are particularly prone to sociopathic behavior while retaining knowledge of their acts and of moral and conventional rules. This report describes four FTD patients who committed criminal violations in the presence of clear consciousness and sufficiently intact cognition. They understood the nature of their acts and the potential consequences, but did not feel sufficiently concerned to be deterred. FTD involves a unique pathologic combination affecting the ventromedial prefrontal cortex, with altered moral feelings, right anterior temporal loss of emotional empathy, and orbitofrontal changes with disinhibited, compulsive behavior. These case histories and the literature indicate that those with right temporal FTD retain the capacity to tell right from wrong but have the slow and insidious loss of the capacity for moral rationality. Patients with early FTD present a challenge to the criminal justice system to consider alterations in moral cognition before ascribing criminal responsibility.
PMCID: PMC3139561  PMID: 20852216
Accurate diagnosis of sporadic early-onset Alzheimer’s disease (EOAD) can be challenging, and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biomarkers may assist in this process. We compared CSF indices between three EOAD subtypes: amnestic, logopenic progressive aphasia (LPA), and posterior cortical atrophy (PCA).
We identified 21 amnestic EOAD, 20 LPA, and 12 PCA patients with CSF data, which included amyloid β1–42 (Aβ42), total tau (t-tau), phospho-tau181 (p-tau), and Aβ42/t-tau index (ATI) levels.
Aβ42 and ATI levels were similar across groups, but t-tau and p-tau levels were significantly lower in PCA.
The Aβ42 and ATI data confirm the commonality of Aβ pathology in EOAD. The lower tau indices in PCA may reflect differences in the distribution of neurofibrillary tangles or rates of neurodegeneration.
PMCID: PMC4057962  PMID: 24401901
Alzheimer disease; early-onset; logopenic progressive aphasia; posterior cortical atrophy; cerebrospinal fluid; biological markers; amyloid; tau
8.  Neurodegenerative disease phenotypes in carriers of MAPT p.A152T, a risk factor for frontotemporal dementia spectrum disorders and Alzheimer's disease 
Alzheimer disease and associated disorders  2013;27(4):10.1097/WAD.0b013e31828cc357.
Recently, Coppola and colleagues demonstrated that a rare MAPT sequence variant, c.454G>A (p.A152T), significantly increases the risk of frontotemporal dementia (FTD) spectrum disorders and Alzheimer's disease (AD) in a screen of 15,369 subjects1. We describe clinical features of 9 patients with neurodegenerative disease (4 women) harboring p.A152T, aged 51 to 79 years at symptom onset. Seven developed FTD spectrum clinical syndromes, including progressive supranuclear palsy syndrome (PSP, n=2), behavioral variant FTD (bvFTD, n=1), nonfluent variant primary progressive aphasia (nfvPPA, n=2), and corticobasal syndrome (CBS, n=2); two patients were diagnosed with clinical AD. Thus, MAPT p.A152T is associated with a variety of FTD spectrum clinical presentations, although patients with clinical AD are also identified. These data warrant larger studies with clinicopathological correlation to elucidate the influence of this genetic variant on neurodegenerative disease.
PMCID: PMC3796183  PMID: 23518664
All Cognitive Disorders/Dementia; Alzheimer's disease; Frontotemporal Dementia; Corticobasal degeneration; Progressive Supranuclear Palsy
Early-onset Alzheimer’s disease (EOAD) has been overshadowed by the more common late-onset AD (LOAD). Yet, the literature indicates EOAD may have less hippocampal-memory presentations and more focal neocortical localization early in the disease.
To evaluate these proposed differences between these two forms of AD and to explore what they inform about differences in AD-pathophysiology.
21 EOAD and 24 LOAD patients matched for disease progression and severity were compared on neurocognitive measures and resting state fluorodeoxy-glucose positron emission tomography (FDG-PET).
EOAD patients had worse executive functions with greater hypometabolism in the parietal regions; whereas LOAD patients had worse confrontation naming and verbal recognition memory with greater hypometabolism in inferior frontotemporal regions.
In addition to highlighting significant differences between EOAD and LOAD, these results reveal dissociation between executive deficits in AD and frontal hypometabolism, suggesting early disturbances of the parietal-frontal network in EOAD.
PMCID: PMC4112191  PMID: 22990206
Early-onset; Late-onset; Neuropsychology; Alzheimer’s disease; Dementia; Neuroimaging; FDG-PET
10.  Neuroanatomical correlates of emotional blunting in behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia and early-onset Alzheimer’s disease 
Emotional blunting is a characteristic feature of behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD) and can help discriminate between patients with bvFTD and other forms of younger-onset dementia.
We compared the presence of emotional blunting symptoms in patients with bvFTD and early-onset Alzheimer’s disease (AD), and investigated the neuroanatomical associations between emotional blunting and regional brain volume.
Twenty-five individuals with bvFTD (n=11) and early-onset AD (n=14) underwent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and were rated on symptoms of emotional blunting using the Scale for Emotional Blunting (SEB). The two groups were compared on SEB ratings and MRI-derived brain volume using tensor-based morphometry (TBM). Voxel-wise linear regression was performed to determine neuroanatomical correlates of SEB scores.
The bvFTD group had significantly higher SEB scores compared to the AD group. On MRI, bvFTD patients had smaller bilateral frontal lobe volume compared to AD patients, while AD patients had smaller bilateral temporal and left parietal volume than bvFTD patients. In bvFTD, SEB ratings were strongly correlated with right anterior temporal volume, while the association between SEB and the right orbitofrontal cortex was non-significant.
Symptoms of emotional blunting were more prevalent in bvFTD than early-onset AD patients. These symptoms were particularly associated with right-sided atrophy, with significant involvement of the right anterior temporal region. Based on these findings, the SEB may be a useful diagnostic instrument for identifying a key clinical feature of bvFTD and appears to measure symptoms that are localized to the right anterior temporal lobe.
PMCID: PMC4111835  PMID: 24685626
Frontotemporal Dementia; Alzheimer’s Disease; Early Onset; Magnetic Resonance Imaging; emotional blunting
11.  Hypersexual Behavior in Frontotemporal Dementia: A Comparison with Early-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease 
Archives of sexual behavior  2013;42(3):501-509.
The basis of hypersexual behavior among patients with dementia is not entirely clear. Hypersexual behavior may be a particular feature of behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD), which affects ventromedial frontal and adjacent anterior temporal regions specialized in interpersonal behavior. Recent efforts to define Hypersexual Disorder indicate an increasing awareness of heightened sexual activity as a source of personal distress and functional impairment, and clarification of hypersexuality in bvFTD could contribute to understanding the neurobiology of this behavior. This study reviewed 47 patients with bvFTD compared to 58 patients with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) for the presence of heightened sexual activity to the point of distress to caregivers and others. Hypersexual behavior occurred in 6 (13%) bvFTD patients compared to none of the AD patients. Caregivers judged all six bvFTD patients with hypersexual behavior as having a dramatic increase in sexual frequency from premorbid levels. All had general disinhibition, poor impulse control, and actively sought sexual stimulation. They had widened sexual interests and experienced sexual arousal from previously unexciting stimuli. One patient, with early and predominant right anterior temporal involvement, was easily aroused by slight stimuli, such as touching her palms. Although previously considered to be predominantly disinhibited sexual behavior as part of generalized disinhibition, these patients with dementia illustrate varying degrees of increased sexual desire. We conclude that bvFTD is uniquely associated with hypersexuality; it is more than just cognitive impairment with frontal disinhibition but also involves alterations in sexual drive, possibly from right anterior temporal-limbic involvement in this disease.
PMCID: PMC3596488  PMID: 23297146
hypersexuality; dementia; right temporal lobe; frontotemporal dementia
Hippocampal sclerosis (HS) and mesial temporal sclerosis (MTS) may occur with frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) and Alzheimer’s disease (AD), as well as with normal aging. Prior studies suggest that HS/MTS may be more closely associated with FTLD, but have not directly compared the prevalence and clinical characteristics of HS/MTS between neuropathologically confirmed early-onset (≤ age 65) cohorts of FTLD and AD. We identified cases of early-onset FTLD (n=136) and AD (n=267) from National Alzheimer’s Center Consortium databases and compared neuropathological and clinical data between these two groups. The FTLD group had a significantly higher prevalence of HS/MTS than the AD group. However, HS/MTS was associated with increasing age and memory impairment in the AD group, but not in the FTLD group. These findings are consistent with the hypothesis that HS/MTS in FTLD occurs as part of the primary pathological process, rather than as a secondary, nonspecific effect of aging on memory and hippocampal function.
PMCID: PMC3947801  PMID: 24085254
frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD); behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD); Alzheimer’s disease; hippocampal sclerosis
13.  Regional Differences in White Matter Breakdown Between Frontotemporal Dementia and Early-Onset Alzheimer's Disease1 
White matter abnormalities have been associated with both behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD) and Alzheimer's disease (AD).
Using MRI diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) measures, we compared white matter integrity between patients with bvFTD and those with early-onset AD and correlated these biomarkers with behavioral symptoms involving emotional blunting.
We studied 8 bvFTD and 12 AD patients as well as 12 demographically-matched healthy controls (NCs). Using four DTI metrics (fractional anisotropy, axial diffusivity, radial diffusivity, and mean diffusivity), we assessed the frontal lobes (FWM) and genu of the corpus callosum (GWM), which are vulnerable late-myelinating regions, and a contrasting early-myelinating region (splenium of the corpus callosum). The Scale of Emotional Blunting Scale (SEB) was used to assess emotional functioning of the study participants.
Compared to AD patients and NCs, the bvFTD subjects exhibited significantly worse FWM and GWM integrity on all four DTI metrics sensitive to myelin and axonal integrity. In contrast, AD patients showed a numerical trend toward worse splenium of the corpus callosum integrity than bvFTD and NC groups. Significant associations between SEB ratings and GWM DTI measures were demonstrated in the combined bvFTD and AD sample. When examined separately, these relationships remained robust for the bvFTD group but not the AD group.
The regional DTI alterations suggest that FTD and AD are each associated with a characteristic distribution of white matter degradation. White matter breakdown in late-myelinating regions was associated with symptoms of emotional blunting, particularly within the bvFTD group.
PMCID: PMC3947877  PMID: 24150110
Alzheimer's disease; behavioral variant; diffusion tensor imaging; early onset; frontotemporal dementia; magnetic resonance imaging; myelin; white matter
14.  Cost Effective Community Based Dementia Screening: A Markov Model Simulation 
Background. Given the dementia epidemic and the increasing cost of healthcare, there is a need to assess the economic benefit of community based dementia screening programs. Materials and Methods. Markov model simulations were generated using data obtained from a community based dementia screening program over a one-year period. The models simulated yearly costs of caring for patients based on clinical transitions beginning in pre dementia and extending for 10 years. Results. A total of 93 individuals (74 female, 19 male) were screened for dementia and 12 meeting clinical criteria for either mild cognitive impairment (n = 7) or dementia (n = 5) were identified. Assuming early therapeutic intervention beginning during the year of dementia detection, Markov model simulations demonstrated 9.8% reduction in cost of dementia care over a ten-year simulation period, primarily through increased duration in mild stages and reduced time in more costly moderate and severe stages. Discussion. Community based dementia screening can reduce healthcare costs associated with caring for demented individuals through earlier detection and treatment, resulting in proportionately reduced time in more costly advanced stages.
PMCID: PMC3933228  PMID: 24649392
15.  Clinicopathologic differences among patients with behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia 
Neurology  2013;80(6):561-568.
To characterize the presenting symptoms and signs of patients clinically diagnosed with behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD) and who had different neuropathologic findings on autopsy.
This study reviewed all patients entered as clinical bvFTD in the National Alzheimer's Coordinating Center's database and who had both clinical and neuropathologic data from 2005 to 2011. Among the 107 patients identified, 95 had unambiguous pathologic findings, including 74 with frontotemporal lobar degeneration (bvFTD-FTLD) and 21 with Alzheimer disease (bvFTD-AD). The patients with bvFTD-FTLD were further subdivided into τ-positive (n = 23) or τ-negative (n = 51) histopathology subgroups. Presenting clinical signs and symptoms were compared between these neuropathologic groups.
The patients with bvFTD-FTLD were significantly more likely than patients with bvFTD-AD to have initially predominant personality changes and poor judgment/decision-making. In contrast, patients with bvFTD-AD were more likely than patients with bvFTD-FTLD to have memory difficulty and delusions/hallucinations and agitation. Within the bvFTD-FTLD group, the τ-positive subgroup had more patients with initial behavioral problems and personality change than the τ-negative subgroup, who, in turn, had more patients with initial cognitive impairment and speech problems.
During life, patients with AD pathology may be misdiagnosed with bvFTD if they have an early age at onset and prominent neuropsychiatric features despite having greater memory difficulties and more intact personality and executive functions than patients with bvFTD-FTLD. Among those with FTLD pathology, patients with τ-positive bvFTD were likely to present with behavior/personality changes. These findings offer clues for antemortem recognition of neuropathologic subtypes of bvFTD.
PMCID: PMC3589292  PMID: 23325909
16.  Early-onset Alzheimer’s Disease: Nonamnestic Subtypes and Type 2 AD 
Archives of medical research  2012;43(8):677-685.
Patients with Alzheimer’s disease (AD), the most prevalent neurodegenerative dementia, are usually elderly; however, ~4–5% develop early-onset AD (EOAD) with onset before age 65. Most EOAD is sporadic, but about 5% of patients with EOAD have an autosomal dominant mutation such as Presenilin 1, Presenilin 2, or alterations in the Amyloid Precursor Protein gene. Although most Alzheimer’s research has concentrated on older, late-onset AD (LOAD), there is much recent interest and research in EOAD. These recent studies indicate that EOAD is a heterogeneous disorder with significant differences from LOAD. From 22–64% of EOAD patients have a predominant nonamnestic syndrome presenting with deficits in language, visuospatial abilities, praxis, or other non-memory cognition. These nonamnestic patients may differ in several ways from the usual memory or amnestic patients. Patients with nonamnestic EOAD compared to typical amnestic AD have a more aggressive course, lack the apolipoprotein E ε4 (APOE ε4) susceptibility gene for AD, and have a focus and early involvement of non-hippocampal areas of brain, particularly parietal neocortex. These differences in the EOAD subtypes indicate differences in the underlying amyloid cascade, the prevailing pathophysiological theory for the development of AD. Together the results of recent studies suggest that nonamnestic subtypes of EOAD constitute a Type 2 AD distinct from the usual, typical disorder. In sum, the study of EOAD can reveal much about the clinical heterogeneity, predisposing factors, and neurobiology of this disease.
PMCID: PMC3532551  PMID: 23178565
17.  Relationships between Cerebral Blood Flow and IQ in Typically Developing Children and Adolescents 
Journal of cognitive science  2011;12(2):151-170.
The objective of this study was to explore the relationships between IQ and cerebral blood flow (CBF) measured by arterial spin labeling (ASL) in children and adolescents. ASL was used to collect perfusion MRI data on 39 healthy participants aged 7 to 17. The Wechsler Abbreviated Intelligence Scale was administered to determine IQ scores. Multivariate regression was applied to reveal correlations between CBF and IQ scores, accounting for age, sex and global mean CBF. Voxel Based Morphometry (VBM) analysis, which measures regional cortical volume, was performed as a control. Regression analyses were further performed on CBF data with adjustment of regional gray matter density (GMD). A positive correlation between CBF and IQ scores was primarily seen in the subgenual/anterior cingulate, right orbitofrontal, superior temporal and right inferior parietal regions. An inverse relationship between CBF and IQ was mainly observed in bilateral posterior temporal regions. After adjusting for regional GMD, the correlations between CBF and IQ in the subgenual/anterior cingulate cortex, right orbitofrontal, superior temporal regions and left insula remained significant. These findings support the Parieto-Frontal Integration Theory of intelligence, especially the role of the subgenual/anterior cingulate cortex in the neural networks associated with intelligence. The present study also demonstrates the unique value of CBF in assessing brain-behavior relationships, in addition to structural morphometric measures.
PMCID: PMC3749787  PMID: 23976891
Arterial Spin Labeling (ASL); Perfusion; Voxel Based Morphometry (VBM); Cognitive Development; Intelligence quotient (IQ)
18.  Evidence for a role of the rare p.A152T variant in MAPT in increasing the risk for FTD-spectrum and Alzheimer's diseases 
Coppola, Giovanni | Chinnathambi, Subashchandrabose | Lee, Jason JiYong | Dombroski, Beth A. | Baker, Matt C. | Soto-Ortolaza, Alexandra I. | Lee, Suzee E. | Klein, Eric | Huang, Alden Y. | Sears, Renee | Lane, Jessica R. | Karydas, Anna M. | Kenet, Robert O. | Biernat, Jacek | Wang, Li-San | Cotman, Carl W. | DeCarli, Charles S. | Levey, Allan I. | Ringman, John M. | Mendez, Mario F. | Chui, Helena C. | Le Ber, Isabelle | Brice, Alexis | Lupton, Michelle K. | Preza, Elisavet | Lovestone, Simon | Powell, John | Graff-Radford, Neill | Petersen, Ronald C. | Boeve, Bradley F. | Lippa, Carol F. | Bigio, Eileen H. | Mackenzie, Ian | Finger, Elizabeth | Kertesz, Andrew | Caselli, Richard J. | Gearing, Marla | Juncos, Jorge L. | Ghetti, Bernardino | Spina, Salvatore | Bordelon, Yvette M. | Tourtellotte, Wallace W. | Frosch, Matthew P. | Vonsattel, Jean Paul G. | Zarow, Chris | Beach, Thomas G. | Albin, Roger L. | Lieberman, Andrew P. | Lee, Virginia M. | Trojanowski, John Q. | Van Deerlin, Vivianna M. | Bird, Thomas D. | Galasko, Douglas R. | Masliah, Eliezer | White, Charles L. | Troncoso, Juan C. | Hannequin, Didier | Boxer, Adam L. | Geschwind, Michael D. | Kumar, Satish | Mandelkow, Eva-Maria | Wszolek, Zbigniew K. | Uitti, Ryan J. | Dickson, Dennis W. | Haines, Jonathan L. | Mayeux, Richard | Pericak-Vance, Margaret A. | Farrer, Lindsay A. | Ross, Owen A. | Rademakers, Rosa | Schellenberg, Gerard D. | Miller, Bruce L. | Mandelkow, Eckhard | Geschwind, Daniel H.
Human Molecular Genetics  2012;21(15):3500-3512.
Rare mutations in the gene encoding for tau (MAPT, microtubule-associated protein tau) cause frontotemporal dementia-spectrum (FTD-s) disorders, including FTD, progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) and corticobasal syndrome, and a common extended haplotype spanning across the MAPT locus is associated with increased risk of PSP and Parkinson's disease. We identified a rare tau variant (p.A152T) in a patient with a clinical diagnosis of PSP and assessed its frequency in multiple independent series of patients with neurodegenerative conditions and controls, in a total of 15 369 subjects.
Tau p.A152T significantly increases the risk for both FTD-s (n = 2139, OR = 3.0, CI: 1.6–5.6, P = 0.0005) and Alzheimer's disease (AD) (n = 3345, OR = 2.3, CI: 1.3–4.2, P = 0.004) compared with 9047 controls. Functionally, p.A152T (i) decreases the binding of tau to microtubules and therefore promotes microtubule assembly less efficiently; and (ii) reduces the tendency to form abnormal fibers. However, there is a pronounced increase in the formation of tau oligomers. Importantly, these findings suggest that other regions of the tau protein may be crucial in regulating normal function, as the p.A152 residue is distal to the domains considered responsible for microtubule interactions or aggregation. These data provide both the first genetic evidence and functional studies supporting the role of MAPT p.A152T as a rare risk factor for both FTD-s and AD and the concept that rare variants can increase the risk for relatively common, complex neurodegenerative diseases, but since no clear significance threshold for rare genetic variation has been established, some caution is warranted until the findings are further replicated.
PMCID: PMC3392107  PMID: 22556362
PMCID: PMC3688833  PMID: 21450164
20.  PET Imaging of Neuropathology in Tauopathies: Progressive Supranuclear Palsy 
Currently [F-18]FDDNP is the only PET imaging probe with the ability to visualize hyperphosphorylated tau fibrillar aggregates in living subjects. In this work, we evaluate in vivo [F-18]FDDNP labeling of brain neuropathology, primarily tau fibrillar aggregates, in patients with progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP), a human tauopathy usually lacking β-amyloid deposits.
Fifteen patients with PSP received [F-18]FDDNP PET scanning. [F-18]FDDNP distribution volume ratios (DVR), in reference to cerebellar gray matter, were determined for cortical and subcortical areas and compared with those of patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD) with short disease duration, and age-matched control subjects without neurodegenerative disorders.
[F-18]FDDNP binding was present in subcortical areas (e.g., striatum, thalamus, subthalamic region, midbrain and cerebellar white matter) regardless of disease severity, with progressive subcortical and cortical involvement as disease severity increased. Brain patterns of [F-18]FDDNP binding were entirely consistent with the known pathology distribution for PSP. High midbrain and subthalamic region [F-18]FDDNP binding was distinctive for PSP subjects and separated them from controls and patients with PD.
These results provide evidence that [F-18]FDDNP is a sensitive in vivo PET imaging probe to map and quantify the dynamic regional localization of tau fibrillar aggregates in PSP. Furthermore, [F-18]FDDNP PET may provide a tool to detect changes in tau pathology distribution either associated with disease progression or as a treatment biomarker for future tau-specific therapies. Patterns of [F-18]FDDNP binding may also be useful in diagnosis early in disease presentation when clinical distinction among neurodegenerative disorders is often difficult.
PMCID: PMC3674205  PMID: 23579330
Key-words: positron emission tomography; FDDNP; progressive supranuclear palsy; Parkinson’s disease; neuropathology; hyperphosphorylated tau aggregates; tauopathy
22.  Patterns of Brain Atrophy in Clinical Variants of Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration 
The clinical syndromes of frontotemporal lobar degeneration include behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD) and semantic (SV-PPA) and nonfluent variants (NF-PPA) of primary progressive aphasia. Using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), tensor-based morphometry (TBM) was used to determine distinct patterns of atrophy between these three clinical groups.
Twenty-seven participants diagnosed with bvFTD, 16 with SV-PPA, and 19 with NF-PPA received baseline and follow-up MRI scans approximately 1 year apart. TBM was used to create three-dimensional Jacobian maps of local brain atrophy rates for individual subjects.
Regional analyses were performed on the three-dimensional maps and direct comparisons between groups (corrected for multiple comparisons using permutation tests) revealed significantly greater frontal lobe and frontal white matter atrophy in the bvFTD relative to the SV-PPA group (p < 0.005). The SV-PPA subjects exhibited significantly greater atrophy than the bvFTD in the fusiform gyrus (p = 0.007). The NF-PPA group showed significantly more atrophy in the parietal lobes relative to both bvFTD and SV-PPA groups (p < 0.05). Percent volume change in ventromedial prefrontal cortex was significantly associated with baseline behavioral symptomatology.
The bvFTD, SV-PPA, and NF-PPA groups displayed distinct patterns of progressive atrophy over a 1-year period that correspond well to the behavioral disturbances characteristic of the clinical syndromes. More specifically, the bvFTD group showed significant white matter contraction and presence of behavioral symptoms at baseline predicted significant volume loss of the ventromedial prefrontal cortex.
PMCID: PMC3609420  PMID: 23306166
Frontotemporal dementia; Primary progressive aphasia; Longitudinal study; Magnetic resonance imaging; Tensor-based morphometry; White matter
23.  The Use of Profanity During Letter Fluency Tasks in Frontotemporal Dementia and Alzheimer's Disease 
To assess whether the production of profanity during letter fluency testing distinguishes frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and Alzheimer's disease (AD) patients.
Alterations in language and social behavior typify FTD spectrum disorders. Nonetheless, in can be difficult to distinguish pathologically-defined frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) from AD clinically. Assessing verbal fluency by having patients generate as many words as they can beginning with specific letters in a given period of time can yield diverse information of diagnostic utility.
Words produced during FAS letter fluency testing were reviewed and instances of the use of "f*ck", "*ss", and "sh*t" and other words felt to be inappropriate were sought. The frequency of these words was compared between clinically diagnosed FTD and AD patients using chi-square tests.
We found that 6/32 (18.8%) patients with FTD generated the word "f*ck" during the "F" trial as opposed to none of 38 patients with AD (p = 0.007). Patients who said "f*ck" had diagnoses of either behavioral variant FTD (3/15), progressive non-fluent aphasia (2/8), or semantic dementia (1/3).
Though the specific neuropathology in these cases is uncertain, generation of "f*ck" during letter fluency testing appears to have utility in differentiating FTD from AD.
PMCID: PMC3594691  PMID: 20829665
Profanity; Alzheimer's disease; frontotemporal dementia; letter fluency; expletives
24.  Clinicopathologic differences among patients with behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia 
Neurology  2007;69(11):1113-1121.
To characterize the presenting symptoms and signs of patients clinically diagnosed with behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD) and who had different neuropathologic findings on autopsy.
This study reviewed all patients entered as clinical bvFTD in the National Alzheimer’s Coordinating Center’s database and who had both clinical and neuropathologic data from 2005 to 2011. Among the 107 patients identified, 95 had unambiguous pathologic findings, including 74 with frontotemporal lobar degeneration (bvFTD-FTLD) and 21 with Alzheimer disease (bvFTD-AD). The patients with bvFTD-FTLD were further subdivided into τ-positive (n = 23) or τ-negative (n = 51) histopathology subgroups. Presenting clinical signs and symptoms were compared between these neuropathologic groups.
The patients with bvFTD-FTLD were significantly more likely than patients with bvFTD-AD to have initially predominant personality changes and poor judgment/decision-making. In contrast, patients with bvFTD-AD were more likely than patients with bvFTD-FTLD to have memory difficulty and delusions/hallucinations and agitation. Within the bvFTD-FTLD group, the τ-positive subgroup had more patients with initial behavioral problems and personality change than the τ-negative subgroup, who, in turn, had more patients with initial cognitive impairment and speech problems.
During life, patients with AD pathology may be misdiagnosed with bvFTD if they have an early age at onset and prominent neuropsychiatric features despite having greater memory difficulties and more intact personality and executive functions than patients with bvFTD-FTLD. Among those with FTLD pathology, patients with τ-positive bvFTD were likely to present with behavior/personality changes. These findings offer clues for antemortem recognition of neuropathologic subtypes of bvFTD.
PMCID: PMC3545400  PMID: 17522386
Consciousness and cognition  2011;20(4):1690-1696.
Loss of insight is a prominent clinical manifestation of behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD), but its characteristics are poorly understood. Twelve bvFTD patients were compared with 12 Alzheimer's disease (AD) patients on a structured insight interview of cognitive insight (awareness of having a disorder) and emotional insight (concern over having a disorder). Compared to the AD patients, the bvFTD patients were less aware and less concerned about their disorder, and they had less appreciation of its effects on themselves and on others. After corrective feedback (“updating”), the bvFTD patients were just as aware of their disorder as the AD patients but remained unconcerned and unappreciative of its effects. These findings suggest that lack of insight in bvFTD is not due to “anosognosia,” or impaired cognitive and executive awareness of disease, but to “frontal anosodiaphoria,” or lack of emotional concern over having bvFTD and its impact on themselves and others.
PMCID: PMC3199289  PMID: 21959203
Insight; anosognosia; anosodiaphoria; dementia; frontotemporal dementia; Alzheimer's disease

Results 1-25 (42)