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Front Neurosci. 2017 Feb 8;11:53. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2017.00053. eCollection 2017.

Narrative Organization Deficit in Lewy Body Disorders Is Related to Alzheimer Pathology.

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Departments of Neurology, University of Pennsylvania PA, USA.
Departments of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania PA, USA.


Background: Day-to-day interactions depend on conversational narrative, and we examine here the neurobiological basis for difficulty organizing narrative discourse in patients with Lewy body disorders (LBD). Method: Narrative organization was examined in 56 non-aphasic LBD patients, including a non-demented cohort (n = 30) with Parkinson's disease (PD) or PD-Mild Cognitive Impairment PD-MCI,) and a cohort with mild dementia (n = 26) including PD-dementia (PDD) and dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), with similar age and education but differing in MMSE (p < 0.001). We used a previously reported procedure that probes patients' judgments of the organization of brief, familiar narratives (e.g., going fishing, wrapping a present). A subgroup of 24 patients had MRI assessment of regional gray matter (GM) atrophy and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) levels of biomarkers for Alzheimer's disease (AD) pathology, including beta amyloid (Aβ), total-tau (t-tau), and phosphorylated-tau (p-tau). Results: Mildly demented LBD patients had a significant deficit judging narratives compared to non-demented patients, but this deficit was not correlated with MMSE. Regression analyses instead related narrative organization to regions of frontal GM atrophy, and CSF levels of Aβ and t-tau associated with presumed AD pathology in these frontal regions. Conclusion: These findings are consistent with the hypothesis that CSF markers of AD pathology associated with frontal regions play a role in difficulty organizing narratives in LBD.


Lewy body disease; amyloid; cerebrospinal fluid; frontal lobe; narrative comprehension; tau

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