Defining Neuropsychiatric Inventory scale differences across frontotemporal dementia syndromes

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The aim of this study was to assess the ability of Neuropsychiatric Inventory (NPI) scale profiles to differentiate between distinct frontotemporal dementia (FTD) subtypes.


The NPI was used to assess 311 older patients who had been clinically diagnosed with FTD. FTD subtypes included behavioural variant FTD (bvFTD, n = 121), primary progressive aphasia (semantic variant (n = 69), non-fluent agrammatic variant (n = 31), and logopenic variant (n = 0)), FTD-motor neuron disease (n = 4), progressive supranuclear palsy (n = 43), and corticobasal syndrome (n = 43). Total NPI score and scores for each NPI item were correlated across the distinct FTD subtypes.


Patients with bvFTD showed significantly greater impairment on their total NPI score than patients with corticobasal syndrome (P < 0.001), non-fluent agrammatic variant primary progressive aphasia (P < 0.001), progressive supranuclear palsy (P = 0.002), and semantic variant primary progressive aphasia (P = 0.010). Aggressiveness, euphoria, apathy, disinhibition, irritability, aberrant motor behaviours, and appetite disturbance were significantly higher in bvFTD than in the other subgroups. The lowest NPI scores were generally shown among those with CBS. However, NPI total and specific item values overlapped among the subtypes.


Patients with bvFTD showed significantly greater neuropsychiatric dysfunction than those with the other FTD subtypes, as measured by the NPI scale. In contrast, patients with corticobasal syndrome had a comparatively healthier profile. Therefore, differential diagnosis among the FTD subtypes may be guided by the NPI, although the subtype is unlikely to be confirmed on the basis of NPI alone.

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