The behavioral variant of frontotemporal dementia is a neurodegenerative syndrome characterized by a progressive personality change. Given that patients maintain their cognitive abilities relatively intact in the early stages of the disease, the diagnosis requires both a thorough clinical evaluation and biomarkers to support the diagnosis of a neurodegenerative disease.
Ignacio Illán Gala and Victor Montal Blancafort in collaboration with other researchers from the Sant Pau Memory Unit (Hospital de Sant Pau), the Hospital Clinic in Barcelona and the Memory and Aging Center (San Francisco, USA) have just published their work entitled “Cortical microstructure in the behavioral variant of frontotemporal dementia: looking beyond atrophy” in the prestigious journal Brain.
What has been done in this study?
In this work, the neuroimaging technique cortical mean diffusivity is evaluated for the diagnosis of patients with the behavioral variant of frontotemporal dementia. Specifically, 148 participants with an available magnetic resonance imaging study were recruited at different centers from Barcelona and San Francisco.
Mean cortical diffusivity showed more sensitivity than cortical thickness to detect the first cortical changes in patients with behavioral variant of frontotemporal dementia even in cases without cortical atrophy.
Relevance of the study
The behavioral variant of frontotemporal dementia is frequently misdiagnosed and underecognized, especially in those cases without evident cortical atrophy, which account for up to a third of cases. Our work describes a valuable imaging tool for the study of this and other neurodegenerative syndromes.