Dissociable executive functions in behavioral variant frontotemporal and Alzheimer dementias

Katherine L. Possin, Dana Feigenbaum, Katherine P. Rankin, Glenn E. Smith, Adam L. Boxer, Kristie Wood, Sherrie M. Hanna, Bruce L. Miller, Joel H. Kramer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


Objective: The objective of this study was to determine which aspects of executive functions are most affected in behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD) and best differentiate this syndrome from Alzheimer disease (AD). Methods: We compared executive functions in 22 patients diagnosed with bvFTD, 26 with AD, and 31 neurologically healthy controls using a conceptually driven and comprehensive battery of executive function tests, the NIH EXAMINER battery (http://examiner.ucsf.edu). Results: The bvFTD and the AD patients were similarly impaired compared with controls on tests of working memory, category fluency, and attention, but the patients with bvFTD showed significantly more severe impairments than the patients with AD on tests of letter fluency, antisaccade accuracy, social decision-making, and social behavior. Discriminant function analysis with jackknifed cross-validation classified the bvFTD and AD patient groups with 73% accuracy. Conclusions: Executive function assessment can support bvFTD diagnosis when measures are carefully selected to emphasize frontally specific functions. Neurology® 2013;80:2180-2185

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2180-2185
Number of pages6
Issue number24
StatePublished - Jun 11 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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