Objective We retrospectively examined whether a history of traumatic brain injury (TBI) is associated with an earlier age of symptom onset and diagnosis in a large sample of patients with behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD).
Methods Data on patients with bvFTD (n=678) were obtained from the National Alzheimer's Coordinating Center Uniform Data Set. TBI was categorised based on reported lifetime history of TBI with loss of consciousness (LOC) but no chronic deficits occurring more than 1 year prior to diagnosis of bvFTD. Analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) was used to determine if clinician-estimated age of symptom onset and age at diagnosis of bvFTD differed between those who reported a history of TBI with LOC (TBI+) and those who did not (TBI−).
Results Controlling for sex, the TBI+ bvFTD group had an age of symptom onset and age of diagnosis that was on average 2.8 and 3.2 years earlier (p<0.01) than the TBI− bvFTD group.
Conclusions TBI history with LOC occurring more than 1 year prior to diagnosis is associated with an earlier age of symptom onset and diagnosis in patients with bvFTD. TBI may be related to the underlying neurodegenerative processes in bvFTD, but the implications of age at time of injury, severity and repetitive injuries remain unclear.