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Age Ageing. 2015 Sep;44(5):891-5. doi: 10.1093/ageing/afv059. Epub 2015 May 29.

Theory of mind impairment in patients with behavioural variant fronto-temporal dementia (bv-FTD) increases caregiver burden.

Author information

1
Faculty of Biology and Medicine, University of Lausanne, Lausanne, VD, Switzerland Behavioral Neurology Unit, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA.
2
Behavioral Neurology Unit, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA.
3
Brain Injury Research, Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, 345 East Superior Street, Chicago, IL, USA.
4
Molecular Neuroscience Department, George Mason University, 4400 University Drive, Mail Stop 2A1, Fairfax, VA, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Theory of mind (ToM), the capacity to infer the intention, beliefs and emotional states of others, is frequently impaired in behavioural variant fronto-temporal dementia patients (bv-FTDp); however, its impact on caregiver burden is unexplored.

SETTING:

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health.

SUBJECTS:

bv-FTDp (n = 28), a subgroup of their caregivers (n = 20) and healthy controls (n = 32).

METHODS:

we applied a faux-pas (FP) task as a ToM measure in bv-FTDp and healthy controls and the Zarit Burden Interview as a measure of burden in patients' caregivers. Patients underwent structural MRI; we used voxel-based morphometry to examine relationships between regional atrophy and ToM impairment and caregiver burden.

RESULTS:

FP task performance was impaired in bv-FTDp and negatively associated with caregiver burden. Atrophy was found in areas involved in ToM. Caregiver burden increased with greater atrophy in left lateral premotor cortex, a region associated in animal models with the presence of mirror neurons, possibly involved in empathy.

CONCLUSION:

ToM impairment in bv-FTDp is associated with increased caregiver burden.

KEYWORDS:

caregiver burden; faux-pas task; frontal cortex; older people; theory of mind; voxel-based morphometry

PMID:
26025914
PMCID:
PMC4547924
DOI:
10.1093/ageing/afv059
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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