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Research paper
Apraxia screening predicts Alzheimer pathology in frontotemporal dementia

Abstract

Objectives Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is a heterogeneous clinical syndrome linked to diverse types of underlying neuropathology. Diagnosis is mainly based on clinical presentation and accurate prediction of underlying neuropathology remains difficult.

Methods We present a large cohort of patients with FTD spectrum diseases (n=84). All patients were thoroughly characterised by cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) Alzheimer’s disease (AD) biomarkers, neuroimaging, neuropsychological testing and standardised apraxia screening.

Results A potential AD pathology was found in 43% of patients with FTD. CSF AD biomarker levels positively correlated with AD-typical apraxia scores in patients with FTD. The discriminative power of apraxia test results indicative of AD pathology was high (sensitivity: 90%, specificity: 66%).

Conclusions Apraxia is common in neurodegenerative dementias but under-represented in clinical workup and diagnostic criteria. Standardised apraxia screening may serve as bedside test to objectify an AD-typical apraxia profile as an early and robust sign of AD pathology in patients with FTD.

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • frontotemporal dementia
  • primary progressive aphasia
  • apraxia
  • biomarker
  • amyloid pathology
  • default mode network
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