Early stage of behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia: Clinical and neuroimaging correlates

Barbara Borroni, Maura Cosseddu, Andrea Pilotto, Enrico Premi, Silvana Archetti, Roberto Gasparotti, Stefano Cappa, Alessandro Padovani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The early stages of behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD) are still not completely characterized. In a consecutive series of patients with probable bvFTD diagnosis confirmed by follow-up, we retrospectively evaluated the features at onset. Patients were reclassified according to presenting features and current diagnostic criteria into probable and possible bvFTD. The term "pre-bvFTD" was adopted for patients with cognitive and/or behavioral impairment not fulfilling bvFTD criteria and no deficits in activities of daily living. One hundred ninety-four subjects were included; at first visit, 70% (n = 136) patients were already classified as probable bvFTD. Of the remaining 30% (n = 58), 60% fulfilled criteria for possible bvFTD, while 40% did not, and were classified as pre-FTD. The neuropsychological pattern in possible bvFTD and pre-bvFTD was similar, although possible bvFTD showed more behavioral abnormalities. Pre-bvFTD subjects had frontotemporal gray matter atrophy, although less extensive than possible bvFTD. Conclusively, most bvFTD patients fulfill current diagnostic criteria at first admission, whereas a relatively small group is characterized by mild behavioral and/or cognitive abnormalities in spite of frontotemporal gray matter atrophy. Our preliminary findings will require a validation in prospective studies involving larger samples of patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3108-3115
Number of pages8
JournalNeurobiology of Aging
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2015


  • Behavioral impairment
  • Behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD)
  • Frontotemporal dementia
  • Mild cognitive impairment (MCI)
  • MRI
  • Pre-bvFTD
  • Prodromal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Ageing
  • Developmental Biology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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