Comparison of neuropsychological functioning in Alzheimer's disease and frontotemporal dementia

Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, UCLA School of Medicine 90024, USA.
Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society (Impact Factor: 2.96). 12/1996; 2(6):505-10.
Source: PubMed


Neuropsychological changes distinguishing mild Alzheimer's disease (AD) from frontotemporal dementia (FTD) have been described, but empirical verification of differential cognitive characteristics is lacking. Archival neuropsychological data on 15 FTD patients, 16 AD patients, and 16 controls were compared. Controls outperformed both patient groups on measures of verbal and nonverbal memory, executive ability, and constructional skill, with AD patients showing more widespread memory decline. No differences were found between the 3 groups in confrontation naming, recognition memory, or basic attention. Patient groups differed only in nonverbal memory, with FTD patients performing significantly better than AD patients. However, patient groups also differed in pattern of performance across executive and memory domains. Specifically, AD patients exhibited significantly greater impairment on memory than executive tasks, whereas the opposite pattern characterized the FTD group. These findings suggest that examination of relative rankings of scores across cognitive domains, in addition to interpretation of individual neuropsychological scores, may be useful in differential diagnosis of FTD versus AD.


Available from: Nancy A Pachana
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    • "Contents lists available at ScienceDirect journal homepage: Similarly, pathological aging research, involving individuals such as those with dementia or other neurological conditions, has shown a decline in executive performance together with structural and functional changes in the PFC (e.g., Pachana et al., 1996; Matsuo et al., 2008; Debette and Markus, 2010; for a review see Cabeza and Dennis (2013)). This decline is thought to reflect 'accelerated normal aging', a process resembling normal aging but occurring earlier and faster, as a result of brain pathology (Buckner, 2004). "
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    • "Although recent attempts to differentiate bvFTD and AD on the basis of the nature and severity of behavioral symptoms has met with some success (e.g., Barber et al. 1995, 2000; Miller et al. 1997; Mendez et al. 1998; Bozeat et al. 2000; Kertesz et al. 2000), behavior-based methods are only partially effective and might be improved by considering other aspects of the disorders. This has led some researchers to investigate the possibility that differences in the patterns of cognitive deficits associated with bvFTD and AD might aid in differential diagnosis (Elfgren et al. 1994; Binetti et al. 1996; Mendez et al. 1996; Pachana et al. 1996; Thomas-Anterion et al. 2000; Rascovsky et al. 2002; Kramer et al. 2003). Revised criteria for the clinical diagnosis of bvFTD have recently been validated against pathologically verified FLTD (Rascovsky et al. 2011), which may improve diagnostic accuracy. "
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    • "The " Animals " category was used in the present study. The phonemic fluency assesses the capacity to spontaneously produce words beginning with a specific letter, and is also considered as a measure of executive functions (Pachana et al., 1996). The letters T, N and P were administered in the present study, which is the version of the Canadian Study on Health and Aging (Tuokko, Kristjansson, & Miller, 1995). "
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