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Neurology. 2002 Jan 22;58(2):198-208.

Patterns of brain atrophy in frontotemporal dementia and semantic dementia.

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Department of Neurology, UCSF Memory and Aging Center, Univeristy of California, San Francisco, 94143-1207, USA.



To identify and compare the patterns of cerebral atrophy associated with two clinical variants of frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD): frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and semantic dementia (SemD).


Twenty patients with FTLD were classified as having FTD (N = 8) or SemD (N = 12) based on current clinical criteria. Both groups showed a similar spectrum of behavioral abnormalities, as indicated by the neuropsychiatric inventory. T1-weighted MRI was obtained for each patient and 20 control subjects. The regions of focal gray matter tissue loss associated with both FTD and SemD, as well as those differing between the two groups were examined using voxel-based morphometry.


Regions of significant atrophy seen in both groups were located in the ventromedial frontal cortex, the posterior orbital frontal regions bilaterally, the insula bilaterally, and the left anterior cingulate cortex. The FTD, but not the SemD, group showed atrophy in the right dorsolateral frontal cortex and the left premotor cortex. The SemD, but not the FTD, group showed tissue loss in the anterior temporal cortex and the amygdala/anterior hippocampal region bilaterally.


Although FTD and SemD are associated with different overall patterns of brain atrophy, regions of gray matter tissue loss in the orbital frontal, insular, and anterior cingulate regions are present in both groups. The authors suggest that pathology in the areas of atrophy associated with both FTD and SemD may underlie some the behavioral symptoms seen in the two disorders.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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