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While the burden of dementia is increasing in low- and middle-income countries, there is a low rate of diagnosis and paucity of research in these regions. A major challenge to study dementia is the limited availability of standardised diagnostic tools for use in populations with linguistic and educational diversity. The objectives of the study were to develop a standardised and comprehensive neurocognitive test battery to diagnose dementia and mild cognitive impairment (MCI) due to varied etiologies, across different languages and educational levels in India, to facilitate research efforts in diverse settings.
A multidisciplinary expert group formed by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) collaborated towards adapting and validating a neurocognitive test battery, that is, the ICMR Neurocognitive Tool Box (ICMR-NCTB) in five Indian languages (Hindi, Bengali, Telugu, Kannada, and Malayalam), for illiterates and literates, to standardise diagnosis of dementia and MCI in India.
Following a review of existing international and national efforts at standardising dementia diagnosis, the ICMR-NCTB was developed and adapted to the Indian setting of sociolinguistic diversity. The battery consisted of tests of cognition, behaviour, and functional activities. A uniform protocol for diagnosis of normal cognition, MCI, and dementia due to neurodegenerative diseases and stroke was followed in six centres. A systematic plan for validating the ICMR-NCTB and establishing cut-off values in a diverse multicentric cohort was developed.
A key outcome was the development of a comprehensive diagnostic tool for diagnosis of dementia and MCI due to varied etiologies, in the diverse socio-demographic setting of India.
Previous studies in western countries have shown that about 30%–50% of patients with frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) have a positive family history, whereas the few epidemiological studies on FTLD done in Asia reported much lower frequencies. It is not clear the reason why the frequencies of FTLD with positive family history were lower in Asia. Furthermore, these findings were not from studies focused on family history. Therefore, it is necessary to conduct further studies on the family history of FTLD in Asia. This international multi-center research aims to investigate the family histories in patients with FTLD and related neurodegenerative diseases such as progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP), corticobasal syndrome (CBS), and motor neuron diseases in a larger Asian cohort.
Participants were collected from five countries: India, Indonesia, Japan, Taiwan, and Philippines. All patients were diagnosed with behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD), semantic dementia (SD), progressive non-fluent aphasia (PA), frontotemporal dementia with motor neuron disease (FTD/MND), PSP, and corticobasal degeneration (CBD) according to international consensus criteria. Family histories of FTLD and related neurodegenerative diseases were investigated in each patient.
Ninety-one patients were included in this study. Forty-two patients were diagnosed to have bvFTD, two patients had FTD/MND, 22 had SD, 15 had PA, one had PA/CBS, five had CBS and four patients had PSP. Family history of any FTLD spectrum disorder was reported in 9.5% in bvFTD patients but in none of the SD or PA.
In contrast to patients of the western countries, few Asian FTLD patients have positive family histories of dementia.
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