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Prodromal language impairment in genetic frontotemporal dementia within the GENFI cohort.

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Samra, Kiran 
MacDougall, Amy M 
Bouzigues, Arabella 
Bocchetta, Martina 
Cash, David M 


OBJECTIVE: To identify whether language impairment exists presymptomatically in genetic frontotemporal dementia (FTD), and if so, the key differences between the main genetic mutation groups. METHODS: 682 participants from the international multicentre Genetic FTD Initiative (GENFI) study were recruited: 290 asymptomatic and 82 prodromal mutation carriers (with C9orf72, GRN, and MAPT mutations) as well as 310 mutation-negative controls. Language was assessed using items from the Progressive Aphasia Severity Scale, as well as the Boston Naming Test (BNT), modified Camel and Cactus Test (mCCT) and a category fluency task. Participants also underwent a 3 T volumetric T1-weighted MRI from which regional brain volumes within the language network were derived and compared between the groups. RESULTS: 3% of asymptomatic (4% C9orf72, 4% GRN, 2% MAPT) and 48% of prodromal (46% C9orf72, 42% GRN, 64% MAPT) mutation carriers had impairment in at least one language symptom compared with 13% of controls. In prodromal mutation carriers significantly impaired word retrieval was seen in all three genetic groups whilst significantly impaired grammar/syntax and decreased fluency was seen only in C9orf72 and GRN mutation carriers, and impaired articulation only in the C9orf72 group. Prodromal MAPT mutation carriers had significant impairment on the category fluency task and the BNT whilst prodromal C9orf72 mutation carriers were impaired on the category fluency task only. Atrophy in the dominant perisylvian language regions differed between groups, with earlier, more widespread volume loss in C9orf72, and later focal atrophy in the temporal lobe in MAPT mutation carriers. CONCLUSIONS: Language deficits exist in the prodromal but not asymptomatic stages of genetic FTD across all three genetic groups. Improved understanding of the language phenotype prior to phenoconversion to fully symptomatic FTD will help develop outcome measures for future presymptomatic trials.



C9orf72, Frontotemporal dementia, Genetic, Language, MAPT, Progranulin, Humans, Frontotemporal Dementia, Progranulins, C9orf72 Protein, Atrophy, Mutation, Language Development Disorders, tau Proteins

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J Neurol Sci

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Elsevier BV
Wellcome Trust (103838/Z/14/Z)
Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (CUH) (146281)
Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (CUH) (Unknown)