Traditional cognitive tests may not be sensitive for the early detection of executive and social cognitive impairments in the behavioural variant of frontotemporal dementia. The aim of this study was to detect specific executive and social cognitive deficits in patients with early behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia using a battery of tests previously shown to be sensitive to frontal lobe dysfunction. Behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia patients and paired controls were assessed with a complete standard neuropsychological battery evaluating attention, memory, visuospatial abilities, language and executive functions. All participants were then assessed with our Executive and Social Cognition Battery, which included Theory of Mind tests (Mind in the Eyes, Faux Pas), the Hotel Task, Multiple Errands Task-hospital version and the Iowa Gambling Task for complex decision-making. Patients were divided into two groups according to their Addenbrookes Cognitive Examination scores, a measure of general cognitive status. Low Addenbrookes Cognitive Examination patients differed from controls on most tasks of the standard battery and the Executive and Social Cognition Battery. While high Addenbrookes Cognitive Examination patients did not differ from controls on most traditional neuropsychological tests, significant differences were found between this high-functioning behavioural variant of frontotemporal dementia group and controls on most measures of our Executive and Social Cognition Battery. Our results suggest that the Executive and Social Cognition Battery used in this study is more sensitive in detecting executive and social cognitive impairment deficits in early behavioural variant of frontotemporal dementia than the classical cognitive measures.
- Executive function
- Frontal lobe
- Frontotemporal dementia
- Neuropsychological assessment