Prevalence and patterns of cognitive impairment in sporadic ALS
ABSTRACT To investigate the prevalence and nature of cognitive changes associated with sporadic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) using a large scale study.
Consecutive patients with sporadic ALS (n = 279) underwent comprehensive neurologic evaluation and neuropsychological testing. Testing data from normal controls (n = 129) were used for classification and comparison purposes.
On non-motor, non-speed-dependent tasks, 51% of patients with ALS had evidence of cognitive impairment compared to 5% of controls. Cluster analysis suggested four patient subgroups: 49% intact, 32% with mild impairment, 13% with moderate impairment, and 6% with severe impairment. Forty-one patients (15%) met criteria for frontotemporal dementia (FTD). ALS patient subgroups, excluding the intact group, performed significantly lower on tests of executive function and memory than normal controls. Patients with more severe disease also had deficits in confrontation naming. Although memory function declined with increasing severity of overall cognitive impairment, only two patients had the severe memory loss typical of Alzheimer disease. Cognitive impairment was correlated with clinical measures of word-finding, phrase length, and motor programming. Cognitive impairment was not correlated with depression scores or severity or duration of motor or bulbar symptoms. Patients with bulbar vs limb-onset ALS were not different in either level of impairment or pattern of performance.
These data confirm the presence of cognitive impairment in 50% of patients with ALS and particularly implicate executive dysfunction and mild memory decline in the disease process. More severe impairment occurs in a subset of patients with ALS and has features consistent with FTD.
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ABSTRACT: The concept that frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is a purely cortical dementia has largely been refuted by the recognition of its close association with motor neuron disease, and the identification of transactive response DNA-binding protein 43 (TDP-43) as a major pathological substrate underlying both diseases. Genetic findings have transformed this field and revealed connections between disorders that were previous thought clinically unrelated. The discovery that the C9ORF72 locus is responsible for the majority of hereditary FTD, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and FTD–ALS cases and the understanding that repeat-containing RNA plays a crucial role in pathogenesis of both disorders has paved the way for the development of potential biomarkers and therapeutic targets for these devastating diseases. In this review, we summarize the historical aspects leading up to our current understanding of the genetic, clinical, and neuropathological overlap between FTD and ALS, and include brief discussions on chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), given its association with TDP-43 pathology, its associated increased dementia risk, and reports of ALS in CTE patients. In addition, we describe other genetic associations between dementia and neuromuscular disease, such as inclusion body myositis with Paget's disease and FTD.Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 12/2014; 1338(1). DOI:10.1111/nyas.12638 · 4.38 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: IntroductionAmyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a neurodegenerative disease characterized clinically by motor symptoms including limb weakness, dysarthria, dysphagia, and respiratory compromise, and pathologically by inclusions of transactive response DNA-binding protein 43 kDa (TDP-43). Patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis also may demonstrate non-motor symptoms and signs of autonomic and energy dysfunction as hypermetabolism and weight loss that suggest the possibility of pathology in the forebrain, including hypothalamus. However, this region has received little investigation in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. In this study, the frequency, topography, and clinical associations of TDP-43 inclusion pathology in the basal forebrain and hypothalamus were examined in 33 patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: 25 men and 8 women; mean age at death of 62.7 years, median disease duration of 3.1 years (range of 1.3 to 9.8 years).ResultsTDP-43 pathology was present in 11 patients (33.3%), including components in both basal forebrain (n=¿10) and hypothalamus (n=¿7). This pathology was associated with non-motor system TDP-43 pathology (¿2=¿17.5, p=¿0.00003) and bulbar symptoms at onset (¿2=¿4.04, p=¿0.044), but not age or disease duration. Furthermore, TDP-43 pathology in the lateral hypothalamic area was associated with reduced body mass index (W=¿11, p=¿0.023).Conclusions This is the first systematic demonstration of pathologic involvement of the basal forebrain and hypothalamus in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Furthermore, the findings suggest that involvement of the basal forebrain and hypothalamus has significant phenotypic associations in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, including site of symptom onset, as well as deficits in energy metabolism with loss of body mass index.12/2014; 2(1):1. DOI:10.1186/s40478-014-0171-1
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ABSTRACT: Recent genetic and neuropathologic advances support the concept that frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) are overlapping multisystem disorders. While 10-15% of ALS patients fulfil criteria for FTD, features of motor neuron disease appear in approximately 15% of FTD patients, during the evolution of the disease. This overlap has been reinforced by the discovery of Transactive Response DNA Binding Protein 43 kDa (TDP43) inclusions as the main neuropathologic finding in the majority of ALS cases and almost a half of FTD cases. Also, an expansion in the intron of C9ORF72 (chromosome 9p21) has been identified in families affected by ALS, ALS-FTD and FTD. This review provides an update on the recent genetic and neuropathologic findings of ALS and FTD and a characterization of their clinical presentation forms, based on the current diagnostic criteria. Finally it underscores the importance of having a national registry of patients with ALS and FTD, to provide an earlier diagnosis and a multidisciplinary care.Revista medica de Chile 07/2014; 142(7):867-79. DOI:10.4067/S0034-98872014000700007 · 0.37 Impact Factor