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Neurocase. 2001;7(2):161-71.

Memory impairment differs in frontotemporal dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

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Memory Centre, Department of Neurology, University Hospital of Lille, Lille, France.


The aim of this study was to assess short-term and long-term explicit memory and implicit memory in frontotemporal dementia (FTD; frontal variant) and to compare FTD and Alzheimer's disease (AD) patients with similar severity of dementia. Fifteen FTD patients [mean age: 68 years; Mini-Mental State (MMS): 24], 30 probable AD patients (mean age: 72 years; MMS: 23) and 12 healthy subjects participated in the study. The three groups were comparable in terms of gender and educational level. Short-term memory was assessed with the digit span and Corsi block-tapping tests. Explicit verbal memory was assessed with the Grober and Buschke test, and implicit memory with a verbal priming task and a fragmented picture test. FTD patients demonstrated a genuine memory deficit with impaired digit span, encoding deficit and retrieval strategy difficulties, but preserved implicit verbal and visual priming. Memory patterns differed in AD and FTD: short-term memory and free recall were similarly decreased in FTD and AD but cues provided more benefit to FTD than to AD; encoding was more impaired and the forgetting rate was faster in AD than in FTD; priming was lower in AD than in FTD. AD patients with clinical and imaging frontal lobe dysfunction tended to have lower memory performance and to differ even more from FTD patients than AD patients without frontal lobe dysfunction.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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