[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We aimed to assess the feasibility of determining Alzheimer's disease cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) cut points in small samples through comparison with amyloid positron emission tomography (PET).
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Symptoms suggesting altered processing of pain and temperature have been described in dementia diseases and may contribute importantly to clinical phenotypes, particularly in the frontotemporal lobar degeneration spectrum, but the basis for these symptoms has not been characterized in detail. Here we analysed pain and temperature symptoms using a semi-structured caregiver questionnaire recording altered behavioural responsiveness to pain or temperature for a cohort of patients with frontotemporal lobar degeneration (n = 58, 25 female, aged 52-84 years, representing the major clinical syndromes and representative pathogenic mutations in the C9orf72 and MAPT genes) and a comparison cohort of patients with amnestic Alzheimer's disease (n = 20, eight female, aged 53-74 years). Neuroanatomical associations were assessed using blinded visual rating and voxel-based morphometry of patients' brain magnetic resonance images. Certain syndromic signatures were identified: pain and temperature symptoms were particularly prevalent in behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia (71% of cases) and semantic dementia (65% of cases) and in association with C9orf72 mutations (6/6 cases), but also developed in Alzheimer's disease (45% of cases) and progressive non-fluent aphasia (25% of cases). While altered temperature responsiveness was more common than altered pain responsiveness across syndromes, blunted responsiveness to pain and temperature was particularly associated with behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia (40% of symptomatic cases) and heightened responsiveness with semantic dementia (73% of symptomatic cases) and Alzheimer's disease (78% of symptomatic cases). In the voxel-based morphometry analysis of the frontotemporal lobar degeneration cohort, pain and temperature symptoms were associated with grey matter loss in a right-lateralized network including insula (P < 0.05 corrected for multiple voxel-wise comparisons within the prespecified anatomical region of interest) and anterior temporal cortex (P < 0.001 uncorrected over whole brain) previously implicated in processing homeostatic signals. Pain and temperature symptoms accompanying C9orf72 mutations were specifically associated with posterior thalamic atrophy (P < 0.05 corrected for multiple voxel-wise comparisons within the prespecified anatomical region of interest). Together the findings suggest candidate cognitive and neuroanatomical bases for these salient but under-appreciated phenotypic features of the dementias, with wider implications for the homeostatic pathophysiology and clinical management of neurodegenerative diseases.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Sense of humor is potentially relevant to social functioning in dementias but has been little studied in these diseases. We designed a semi-structured informant questionnaire to assess humor behavior and preferences in patients with behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD; n = 15), semantic dementia (SD; n = 7), progressive nonfluent aphasia (PNFA; n = 10), and Alzheimer's disease (AD; n = 16) versus healthy age-matched individuals (n = 21). Altered (including frankly inappropriate) humor responses were significantly more frequent in bvFTD and SD than PNFA or AD. All patient groups liked satirical and absurdist comedy significantly less than did healthy controls; this pattern was reported premorbidly for satirical comedy in bvFTD, PNFA, and AD. Liking for slapstick comedy did not differ between groups. Altered sense of humor is particularly salient in bvFTD and SD but also frequent in AD and PNFA. Humor may be a sensitive probe of social cognitive impairment in dementia, with diagnostic, biomarker and social implications.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pathobiological factors underlying phenotypic diversity in Alzheimer's disease (AD) are incompletely understood. We used an extended cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) panel to explore differences between "typical" with "atypical" AD and between amnestic, posterior cortical atrophy, logopenic aphasia and frontal variants. We included 97 subjects fulfilling International Working Group-2 research criteria for AD of whom 61 had "typical" AD and 36 "atypical" syndromes, and 30 controls. CSF biomarkers included total tau (T-tau), phosphorylated tau (P-tau), amyloid β1-42, amyloid βX-38/40/42, YKL-40, neurofilament light (NFL), and amyloid precursor proteins α and β. The typical and atypical groups were matched for age, sex, severity and rate of cognitive decline and had similar biomarker profiles, with the exception of NFL which was higher in the atypical group (p = 0.03). Sub-classifying the atypical group into its constituent clinical syndromes, posterior cortical atrophy was associated with the lowest T-tau [604.4 (436.8-675.8) pg/mL], P-tau (79.8 ± 21.8 pg/L), T-tau/Aβ1-42 ratio [2.3 (1.4-2.6)], AβX-40/X-42 ratio (22.1 ± 5.8) and rate of cognitive decline [1.9 (0.75-4.25) MMSE points/year]. Conversely, the frontal variant group had the highest levels of T-tau [1185.4 (591.7-1329.3) pg/mL], P-tau (116.4 ± 45.4 pg/L), T-tau/Aβ1-42 ratio [5.2 (3.3-6.9)] and AβX-40/X-42 ratio (27.9 ± 7.5), and rate of cognitive decline. Whilst on a group level IWG-2 "typical" and "atypical" AD share similar CSF profiles, which are very different from controls, atypical AD is a heterogeneous entity with evidence for subtle differences in amyloid processing and neurodegeneration between different clinical syndromes. These findings also have practical implications for the interpretation of clinical CSF biomarker results.
Journal of Neurology 09/2015; 262(12). DOI:10.1007/s00415-015-7904-3 · 3.38 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Abnormal eating behaviors are frequently reported in behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD). The hypothalamus is the regulatory centre for feeding and satiety but its involvement in bvFTD has not been fully clarified, partly due to its difficult identification on MR images.
We measured hypothalamic volume in 18 patients with bvFTD (including 9 MAPT and 6 C9orf72 mutation carriers) and 18 cognitively-normal controls using a novel optimized multimodal segmentation protocol, combining 3D T1 and T2-weighted 3T MRIs (intrarater intraclass correlation coefficients ≥0.93). The whole hypothalamus was subsequently segmented into five subunits: the anterior (superior and inferior), tuberal (superior and inferior) and posterior regions. The presence of abnormal eating behavior was assessed with the revised version of the Cambridge Behavioural Inventory (CBI-R).
The bvFTD group showed a 17% lower hypothalamic volume compared with controls (p<0.001): mean 783 (standard deviation 113) versus 944 (73) mm3 (corrected for total intracranial volume). In the hypothalamic subunit analysis, the superior parts of the anterior and tuberal regions and the posterior region were significantly smaller in the bvFTD group compared with controls. There was a trend for a smaller hypothalamic volume, particularly in the superior tuberal region, in those with severe eating disturbance scores on the CBI-R. Differences were seen between the two genetic subgroups with significantly smaller volumes in the MAPT but not the C9orf72 group compared with controls.
In summary, bvFTD patients had lower hypothalamic volumes compared with controls. Different genetic mutations may have a differential impact on the hypothalamus.
Journal of Neurology 09/2015; 262(12). DOI:10.1007/s00415-015-7885-2 · 3.38 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Impairments of social cognition are often leading features in frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) and likely to reflect large-scale brain network disintegration. However, the neuroanatomical basis of impaired social cognition in FTLD and the role of white matter connections have not been defined. Here we assessed social cognition in a cohort of patients representing two core syndromes of FTLD, behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD; n = 29) and semantic variant primary progressive aphasia (svPPA; n = 15), relative to healthy older individuals (n = 37) using two components of the Awareness of Social Inference Test, canonical emotion identification and sarcasm identification. Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) was used to derive white matter tract correlates of social cognition performance and compared with the distribution of grey matter atrophy on voxel-based morphometry. The bvFTD and svPPA groups showed comparably severe deficits for identification of canonical emotions and sarcasm, and these deficits were correlated with distributed and overlapping white matter tract alterations particularly affecting frontotemporal connections in the right cerebral hemisphere. The most robust DTI associations were identified in white matter tracts linking cognitive and evaluative processing with emotional responses: anterior thalamic radiation, fornix (emotion identification) and uncinate fasciculus (sarcasm identification). DTI associations of impaired social cognition were more consistent than corresponding grey matter associations. These findings delineate a brain network substrate for the social impairment that characterises FTLD syndromes. The findings further suggest that DTI can generate sensitive and functionally relevant indexes of white matter damage in FTLD, with potential to transcend conventional syndrome boundaries.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is a clinically and pathologically heterogeneous neurodegenerative disorder associated with atrophy of the frontal and temporal lobes. Most patients with focal temporal lobe atrophy present with either the semantic dementia subtype of FTD or the behavioral variant subtype. For patients with temporal variant FTD, the most common cause found on post-mortem examination has been a TDP-43 (transactive response DNA-binding protein 43 kDa) proteinopathy, but tauopathies have also been described, including Pick's disease and mutations in the microtubule-associated protein tau (MAPT) gene. We report the clinical and imaging features of 2 patients with temporal variant FTD associated with a rare frontotemporal lobar degeneration pathology known as globular glial tauopathy. The pathologic diagnosis of globular glial tauopathy should be considered in patients with temporal variant FTD, particularly those who have atypical semantic dementia or an atypical parkinsonian syndrome in association with the right temporal variant.
Cognitive and behavioral neurology: official journal of the Society for Behavioral and Cognitive Neurology 06/2015; 28(2):92-97. DOI:10.1097/WNN.0000000000000060 · 0.95 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Introduction: Emotional behavioral disturbances are hallmarks of many dementias but their pathophysiology is poorly understood. Here we addressed this issue using the paradigm of emotionally salient sounds. Methods: Pupil responses and affective valence ratings for nonverbal sounds of varying emotional salience were assessed in patients with behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD) (n=14), semantic dementia (SD) (n=10), progressive nonfluent aphasia (PNFA) (n=12), and AD (n=10) versus healthy age-matched individuals (n=26). Results: Referenced to healthy individuals, overall autonomic reactivity to sound was normal in Alzheimer's disease (AD) but reduced in other syndromes. Patients with bvFTD, SD, and AD showed altered coupling between pupillary and affective behavioral responses to emotionally salient sounds. Discussion: Emotional sounds are a useful model system for analyzing how dementias affect the processing of salient environmental signals, with implications for defining pathophysiological mechanisms and novel biomarker development.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Abnormal responsiveness to salient sensory signals is often a prominent feature of dementia diseases, particularly the frontotemporal lobar degenerations, but has been little studied. Here we assessed processing of one important class of salient signals, looming sounds, in canonical dementia syndromes. We manipulated tones using intensity cues to create percepts of salient approaching ("looming") or less salient withdrawing sounds. Pupil dilatation responses and behavioral rating responses to these stimuli were compared in patients fulfilling consensus criteria for dementia syndromes (semantic dementia, n = 10; behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia, n = 16, progressive nonfluent aphasia, n = 12; amnestic Alzheimer's disease, n = 10) and a cohort of 26 healthy age-matched individuals. Approaching sounds were rated as more salient than withdrawing sounds by healthy older individuals but this behavioral response to salience did not differentiate healthy individuals from patients with dementia syndromes. Pupil responses to approaching sounds were greater than responses to withdrawing sounds in healthy older individuals and in patients with semantic dementia: this differential pupil response was reduced in patients with progressive nonfluent aphasia and Alzheimer's disease relative both to the healthy control and semantic dementia groups, and did not correlate with nonverbal auditory semantic function. Autonomic responses to auditory salience are differentially affected by dementias and may constitute a novel biomarker of these diseases.