Episodic Memory Impairment in Frontotemporal Dementia; A 99mTc-HMPAO SPECT Study

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Abstract

Alzheimer's disease (AD) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD) are the most common types of dementia in the presenile population. Episodic memory impairment, the clinical hallmark of AD, can also be encountered in patients with FTD, complicating accurate diagnosis. Several studies in FTD have correlated memory deficits with neuroimaging findings, but lacked to compare neuroimaging results in FTD patients with and without memory impairment, while this latter analysis may give us insight into the underlying mechanisms of memory impairment in FTD. The aim of the present study was to compare 99mTc-HMPAO SPECT hypoperfusion patterns between FTD with episodic memory impairment (n = 13), FTD patients without episodic memory impairment (n = 10) as well as early onset (< 70 yrs) AD patients (n = 13), and controls (n = 15). We performed our analyses by means of Statistical Parametric Mapping software (SPM5), and showed that FTD patients with episodic memory impairment had lower perfusion in the right temporal lobe compared with FTD patients without memory impairment. Lower perfusion in this region correlated with worse memory performance on the Clinical Dementia Rating scale in FTD patients. With equal performances on memory tests, patients with early onset AD showed posterior temporal and parietal lobe hypoperfusion in comparison with patients with FTD and memory impairment, while vice versa hypoperfusion in the anterior frontotemporal regions was found in FTD patients with memory impairment in comparison with AD.

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