Objective: Episodic memory is impaired in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) dementia but thought to be relatively spared in behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD). This view is challenged by evidence of memory impairment in bvFTD. This study investigated differences in recognition memory performance between bvFTD and AD. Method: We performed a retrospective analysis on the recognition trial of the Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test in patients with bvFTD (n = 85), AD (n = 55), and control participants (n = 59). Age- and education-adjusted betweengroup analysis was performed on the total score and indices of discriminative ability and response bias. Correlations between recognition and measures of memory, language, executive functioning, and construction were examined. Results: Patients with AD had a significantly lower total recognition score than patients with bvFTD (control 28.8 ± 1.5; bvFTD 24.8 ± 4.5; AD 23.4 ± 3.6, p < .01). Both bvFTD and AD had worse discriminative ability than controls (A’ control 0.96 ± 0.03; bvFTD 0.87 ± 0.03; AD 0.84 ± 0.10, p < .01), but there was no difference in response bias (B” control 0.9 ± 0.2; bvFTD 1.6 ± 1.47; AD 1.4± 1.4, p < .01). AD had worse discriminability than bvFTD (p < .05). Discriminability was associated with memory for both patient groups (median correlation coefficient r = .34) and additionally associated with language (r = .31), but not executive functioning (r = −.03) in bvFTD. Response bias was unrelated to other cognitive functions (r = −.02). Conclusions: Discriminability, but not response bias, differentiated patients with bvFTD from AD. The presence of an impaired discrimination index suggests a “pure” (recognition) memory deficit in bvFTD.

, , , , ,
doi.org/10.1017/s1355617720000375, hdl.handle.net/1765/131396
Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society
Department of Neurology