A meta-analysis of neuropsychological, social cognitive, and olfactory functioning in the behavioral and language variants of frontotemporal dementia

Vidyulata Kamath, Grace Anna S. Chaney, Jonathan Deright, Chiadi U. Onyike

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background Though meta-analyses of neuropsychological and social cognitive deficits in behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD) have been conducted, no study has comprehensively characterized and compared the neuropsychological, social cognitive, and olfactory profiles in the behavioral and language variants of FTD.Methods Our search yielded 470 publications meeting inclusion criteria representing 11 782 FTD patients and 19 451 controls. For each domain, we calculated Hedges' g effect sizes, which represent the mean difference between the patient and control group divided by the pooled standard deviation. The heterogeneity of these effects was assessed with Cochran's Q-statistic using a random-effects model. Meta-regressions were employed to analyze the influence of demographic and disease characteristics.Results Though semantic variant primary progressive aphasia patients showed the greatest impairment across all task types, the three groups showed similar cognitive effect sizes once contributions from the language subdomain were excluded from analysis. Contrary to expectation, the magnitude of deficits in executive functioning, social cognition and olfaction were comparable between the three subgroups. Among indices, a metric of executive errors distinguished the behavioral variant of FTD from the language phenotypes.Conclusions These data indicate that social cognitive and traditional executive functioning measures may not capture differences between FTD syndromes. These results have important implications for the interpretation of neuropsychological assessments, particularly when applied to the differential diagnosis of FTD. It is hoped that these findings will guide clinical and research assessments and spur new studies focused on improving the measurement of FTD syndromes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2669-2680
Number of pages12
JournalPsychological medicine
Volume49
Issue number16
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019

Keywords

  • Cognition
  • emotion
  • frontotemporal lobar degeneration
  • primary progressive aphasia
  • progressive non-fluent aphasia
  • semantic dementia
  • semantic variant primary progressive aphasia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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