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    ABSTRACT: We aimed to determine the extent to which patients with progressive language impairment conform to 2011 primary progressive aphasia (PPA) classification and to examine clinicopathologic correlations within PPA variants. Sixty-two consecutive patients with pathologically confirmed dementia who presented clinically with aphasia were identified. Patients with insufficient clinical information were excluded. PPA classifications were applied to anonymized clinical data taken from patients' initial assessment by raters who were blinded to clinical and pathologic diagnosis. The final cohort comprised 52 patients, 30 of whom met basic PPA criteria. Twenty-five patients met one of the 3 PPA classifications (13 logopenic, 8 nonfluent/agrammatic, and 4 semantic). Five patients did not meet the criteria for any of the PPA variants. All patients who met semantic variant PPA and 75% of patients who met nonfluent/agrammatic variant PPA classifications had frontotemporal lobar degeneration spectrum pathology. Pathologies were heterogeneous in patients who met logopenic variant PPA criteria (46% Alzheimer disease [AD], 8% AD mixed with dementia with Lewy bodies, 23% frontotemporal lobar degeneration, and 23% other). The 2011 PPA recommendations classify a large proportion of patients who meet basic PPA criteria. However, some patients had aphasic syndromes that could not be classified, suggesting that the 2011 recommendations do not cover the full range of PPA variants. Classification of semantic variant PPA provides a good prediction of underlying pathology. Classification of logopenic variant does not successfully differentiate PPA due to AD from PPA due to other pathologies.
    Neurology 10/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE: We aimed to assess sensitivity and specificity of the updated criteria for behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD) based on a large autopsy-confirmed cohort of patients with dementia. METHODS: Two hundred thirty-nine consecutive pathologically confirmed dementia patients, clinically assessed in a specialist cognitive unit were identified. Patients with predominant aphasia, motor disorders, or insufficient clinical information were excluded. Frontotemporal Dementia Consensus criteria were applied to anonymized clinical data taken from patients' initial assessment by raters who were blinded to clinical and pathologic diagnosis. RESULTS: The final study cohort comprised 156 patients with predominantly early-onset dementia. The updated criteria for possible bvFTD had a sensitivity of 95% and specificity of 82%. Probable bvFTD criteria had a sensitivity of 85% and specificity of 95%. False positives were predominantly patients with presenile Alzheimer disease. CONCLUSION: Revised diagnostic criteria show encouragingly high sensitivity and specificity when applied to patients with early-onset dementia. They therefore provide a useful tool both for specialist researchers and general clinicians. There is a need for further prospective studies of sensitivity and specificity involving a broader spectrum of patients with dementia.
    Neurology 04/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: Vascular diseases contribute to the causation and progression of clinical dementia. To evaluate the quality of medical care for vascular diseases provided to people with dementia, the patient and practice characteristics that influence quality, and to compare care with that provided to those without dementia. Observational, cross-sectional review of primary care records of people with dementia from 52 general practices from five primary care trusts in the UK, and comparison with publicly available summary data on patients without dementia. A total of 700 patients with ≥1 diagnosed vascular disease or risk factor were identified from dementia registers. Quality of care was measured on 30 indicators from the UK Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) for hypertension, coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes mellitus, atrial fibrillation, heart failure, and smoking. Overall quality of vascular care was calculated for each patient with dementia. Level of care received by people with dementia was significantly lower compared with those without dementia for 22 of 30 (73%) indicators; most notably for measurement processes such as peripheral pulses check and neuropathy testing for diabetes, and cholesterol measures for stroke. Among people with dementia, women, those in care homes, and those with fewer comorbid physical conditions and medications were associated with lower scores for overall quality of vascular care. The quality of medical care provided to people with dementia with regard to vascular diseases is not concordant with quality, as defined by the QOF. Research is needed to improve access to high-quality care.
    British Journal of General Practice 02/2013; 63(607):88-96.
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    ABSTRACT: Background Impulsive aggression (IA) in adults is associated with brain serotonin (5-HT) system abnormalities and is more common following childhood adversity. Within aggressive behavior, IA and callous unemotional (CU) traits are core components of differentiable factors with opposing 5-HT abnormalities. We aimed to investigate 5-HT abnormalities in IA and potential correlations with severity of childhood adversity while controlling for confounding 5-HT effects of high CU traits and mental disorders. Methods Healthy male subjects (mean age 34 ± 9 years) without high CU traits were recruited with IA ratings in the high (n = 14) and low (n = 13) population extremes. Serotonin transporter (SERT) and 5-HT2A receptor availability was measured in multiple brain regions using positron emission tomography with 11C-DASB and 11C-MDL100907, respectively, and compared between high-IA and low-IA groups. Correlations were measured between SERT and 5-HT2A receptor availability, impulsivity and aggression, and childhood adversity. Results Compared with the low-IA group, SERT were significantly higher in brainstem regions in the high-IA group (by 29.0% ± 11.4%) and modestly lower across cortical regions (by 11.1% ± 6.0%), whereas 5-HT2A receptors were also modestly lower (by 8.6% ± 4.0%). Across all subjects, brainstem SERT were significantly positively correlated with impulsivity, aggression, and childhood trauma ratings. Within the high-IA group, higher brainstem SERT was most strongly predicted by severity of childhood trauma (r = .76 in midbrain). Conclusions Pre-and postsynaptic 5-HT differences are present in men with high levels of IA and are strongly suggestive of a persisting effect of childhood adversity on serotonergic neurodevelopment and emotional-behavioral control.
    Biological psychiatry 12/2012; 72(12):1004–1011.
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    ABSTRACT: Frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) is a highly familial neurodegenerative disease. It has recently been shown that the most common genetic cause of FTLD and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a hexanucleotide repeat expansion in C9ORF72. To investigate whether this expansion was specific to the FTLD/ALS disease spectrum, we genotyped the hexanucleotide repeat region of C9ORF72 in a large cohort of patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD). A normal range of repeats was found in all cases. We conclude that the hexanucleotide repeat expansion is specific to the FTLD/ALS disease spectrum.
    Neurobiology of aging 03/2012; 33(8):1846.e5-6.
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    ABSTRACT: There is a suggestion in the literature that more variable affect increases suicidal ideation through the repeated re-activation of latent suicidal cognitions. The hypothesis that affective variability would be a better predictor of suicidal ideation and related behaviour than affect level was tested in individuals at ultra-high risk of developing psychosis. This study also examined the prediction that affective variability is a suicide-specific mechanism and would not predict levels of attenuated psychotic phenomena. Twenty-seven ultra-high risk individuals were required to complete ambulant ratings of their affect when prompted by an electronic wristwatch for six days (the experience sampling method). In the debriefing session, participants were assessed with a semi-structured interview (the Comprehensive Assessment of At-Risk Mental State), which assessed the severity and frequency of suicidality and psychosis-related phenomena. The variability of negative and positive affect was predictive of the frequency of suicidal thoughts and behaviour. More variable negative, but not positive affect, was also associated with more severe suicidal ideation and related behaviour. Affect variability was not significantly related to the severity of attenuated psychotic phenomena. Affective variability appears to be a specific risk factor for suicidal ideation in individuals at ultra-high risk of developing psychosis. Early intervention should focus on providing individuals with skills for regulating their own affect.
    British Journal of Clinical Psychology 03/2012; 51(1):72-83.
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    ABSTRACT: Primary care services are often the main healthcare service for people with dementia; as such, good-quality care at this level is important. To measure the quality of care provided to people with dementia in general practice using routinely collected data, and to explore associated patient and practice factors. Observational, cross-sectional review of medical records from general practices (n = 52) in five primary care trusts. A total of 994 people with dementia were identified from dementia registers. An unweighted quality-of-care score was constructed using information collected in the annual dementia review, together with pharmacological management of cognitive and non-cognitive symptoms. Multilevel modelling was carried out to identify factors associated with quality-of-care scores. In total, 599 out of 745 (80%) patients with dementia had received an annual dementia review; however, a social care review or discussion with carers was evident in just 305 (51%) and 367 (61%) of those 599 cases, respectively. Despite high prevalence of vascular disease, over a quarter (n = 259, 26%) of all patients with dementia were prescribed antipsychotics; only 57% (n = 148) of these had undergone medication review in the previous 6 months. Those with vascular dementia who were registered with single-handed practices received poorer quality of care than those registered with practices that had more than one GP. Although the number of people with dementia with a record of an annual dementia review is high, the quality of these reviews is suboptimal. The quality score developed in this study could be used as one source of data to identify weaknesses in practice activity that need to be corrected, and so would be of value to commissioners and regulators, as well as practices themselves.
    British Journal of General Practice 02/2012; 62(595):e91-8.
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    ABSTRACT: A systematic review of the literature was conducted to examine the relationship between ethnic minority status and provision of end-of-life care for people with dementia. It included all empirical research on people with dementia or severe cognitive impairment or their caregivers and with ethnic minority people as a subgroup in examining an outcome involving end-of-life care processes or attitudes toward end-of-life care. Two authors independently rated quality of included studies; 20 studies met eligibility criteria and were included in the review: 19 quantitative and one qualitative. All articles were based in the United States, with African American, Hispanic, and Asian groups being the ethnic minorities. Artificial nutrition and other life-sustaining treatments were more frequent and decisions to withhold treatment less common in African American and Asian groups. The qualitative evidence, albeit limited, found that attitudes toward end-of-life care were more similar than different between different ethnic groups. Differences in hospice usage patterns were less consistent and potentially influenced by factors such as study setting and dementia severity. Caregivers' experiences differed between ethnic groups, whereas levels of strain experienced were similar. Disparities in end-of-life care for people with dementia from ethnic minority groups appear to exist and may be due to the double disadvantage of dementia and ethnic minority status. Further research is needed in other western multicultural countries, with a focus on prospective qualitative studies to understand the underlying reasons for these differences, not just their occurrence.
    Journal of the American Geriatrics Society 02/2012; 60(2):351-60.
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    ABSTRACT: Tissue non-specific alkaline phosphatase (TNAP) has been shown to promote the neurotoxicity of extracellular tau which contributes to the spread of pathology in Alzheimer's disease (AD). To investigate changes in TNAP activity in the hippocampus in both sporadic and familial AD, and to examine whether changes in neuronal TNAP are reflected systemically by looking at changes in plasma TNAP activity in AD. We measured the activity of TNAP in the hippocampus in sporadic AD, familial AD and appropriate age-matched controls, and in an ageing series (age: 25-88 years) of brains. In addition, we measured TNAP activity in plasma from 110 AD and 110 non-demented control participants. TNAP activity was significantly increased in the hippocampus in sporadic (by 56%; p = 0.038) and familial AD (by 121%; p = 0.042) compared with the age-matched controls. However, there was no correlation of TNAP activity with age. Furthermore, plasma TNAP activity was increased in AD (by 13%; p = 0.018) and inversely correlated with cognitive function (r(s) = -0.211; p = 0.027). Together, these data indicate that TNAP is increased in both sporadic and familial AD but not in the aged brain, indicating that the increase is likely a consequence of AD-associated changes in the brain. The neuronal change in TNAP is reflected in an increase in plasma TNAP in AD and is inversely correlated with cognitive function.
    Neurodegenerative Diseases 01/2012; 9(1):31-7.
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    ABSTRACT: TDP-43 immunoreactive (TDP-43-ir) pathological changes were investigated in the temporal cortex and hippocampus of 11 patients with autosomal dominant familial forms of Alzheimer's disease (FAD), 169 patients with sporadic AD [85 with early onset disease (EOAD) (i.e before 65 years of age), and 84 with late onset after this age (LOAD)], 50 individuals with Down's Syndrome (DS) and 5 patients with primary hippocampal sclerosis (HS). TDP-43-ir pathological changes were present, overall, in 34/180 of AD cases. They were present in 1/11 (9%) FAD, and 9/85 (10%) EOAD patients but were significantly more common (p = 0.003) in LOAD where 24/84 (29%) patients showed such changes. There were no demographic differences, other than onset age, between AD patients with or without TDP-43-ir pathological changes. Double immunolabelling indicated that these TDP-43-ir inclusions were frequently ubiquitinated, but were only rarely AT8 (tau) immunoreactive. Only 3 elderly DS individuals and 4/5 cases of primary HS showed similar changes. Overall, 21.7% of AD cases and 6% DS cases showed hippocampal sclerosis (HS). However, only 9% FAD cases and 16% EOAD cases showed HS, but 29% LOAD cases showed HS. The proportion of EOAD cases with both TDP-43 pathology and HS tended to be greater than those in LOAD, where nearly half of all the cases with TDP-43 pathology did not show HS. The presence of TDP-43-ir changes in AD and DS may therefore be a secondary phenomenon, relating more to ageing than to AD itself. Nevertheless, a challenge to such an interpretation comes from the finding in AD of a strong relationship between TDP-43 pathology and cognitive phenotype. Patients with TDP-43 pathology were significantly more likely to present with an amnestic syndrome than those without (p < 0.0001), in keeping with pathological changes in medial temporal lobe structures. HS was also associated more commonly with an amnestic presentation (p < 0.005), but this association disappeared when TDP-43-positive cases were excluded from the analysis. TDP-43 may, after all, be integral to the pathology of AD, and to some extent determine the clinical phenotype present.
    Acta Neuropathologica 12/2011; 122(6):703-13.
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