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J Addict Dis. 2016;35(1):36-41. doi: 10.1080/10550887.2015.1102026. Epub 2015 Oct 20.

Substance use history in behavioral-variant frontotemporal dementia versus primary progressive aphasia.

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a Department of Psychiatry , University of California , San Francisco , California , USA.
b San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center , San Francisco , California , USA.
c San Francisco General Hospital , San Francisco , California , USA.
d Department of Psychiatry , Indiana University, Center for Health Innovation and Implementation Science , Indianapolis , Indiana , USA.
e Memory and Aging Center , Department of Neurology, University of California , San Francisco , California , USA.


As older adults are prone to cognitive disorders, the interaction of the fields of substance use and misuse and cognitive neuroscience is an emerging area of research. Substance use has been reported in some subtypes of frontotemporal dementia, such as behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia. However, characterization of substance use in other subtypes of frontotemporal dementia, such as primary progressive aphasia, is unknown. The objective of this baseline analysis was to explore whether any measures of substance use history differed significantly among behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia (n = 842) and primary progressive aphasia (n = 526) in a large national dataset. The National Alzheimer's Coordinating Center's Uniform Data Set study is a national dataset that collects data on patients with various cognitive disorders and includes some questions on substance use. Each substance use variable was used as the outcome and the frontotemporal dementia subtype as the predictor. Total years smoked cigarettes, age when last smoked cigarettes, average number of packs/day smoked when participants smoked, and any recent, remote, or combined recent/remote history of alcohol abuse or drug abuse did not significantly differ between the behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia and primary progressive aphasia subtypes (all p-values > .001). A significantly greater percentage of participants smoked in the last 30 days in the behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia subtype (10.4%, n = 834) compared to the primary progressive aphasia subtype (3.3%, n = 517; p < .001). Clinical providers in both the dementia and substance use fields are encouraged to screen for and monitor substance use in all frontotemporal dementia subtypes.


Frontotemporal; alcohol; cigarette smoking; dementia; drug; substance use

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