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We compared entorhinal cortex atrophy (ERICA) score vs. medial temporal atrophy (MTA) score’s ability to predict conversion from amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI) to Alzheimer’s disease (AD) using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). We hypothesized that ERICA would show higher specificity. Data from 61 aMCI patients were analyzed. Positive ERICA was associated with AD conversion with a sensitivity of 56% (95% CI: 30–80%) and a specificity of 78% (63–89%) vs. 69% (41–89%) SE and 60% (44–74%) SP for the MTA. Results suggest that ERICA is superior to MTA in predicting conversion from aMCI to AD in a small sample of participants.
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biomarkers are promising tools to help identify the underlying pathology of neurocognitive disorders. In this manuscript, we report our experience with AD CSF biomarkers in 262 consecutive patients in a tertiary care memory clinic.
We retrospectively reviewed 262 consecutive patients who underwent lumbar puncture (LP) and CSF measurement of AD biomarkers (Aβ1–42, total tau or t-tau, and p-tau181). We studied the safety of the procedure and its impact on patient’s diagnosis and management.
The LP allowed to identify underlying AD pathology in 72 of the 121 patients (59%) with early onset amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI) with a high probability of progression to AD; to distinguish the behavioral/dysexecutive variant of AD from the behavioral variant of frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD) in 25 of the 45 patients (55%) with an atypical neurobehavioral profile; to identify AD as the underlying pathology in 15 of the 27 patients (55%) with atypical or unclassifiable primary progressive aphasia (PPA); and to distinguish AD from other disorders in 9 of the 29 patients (31%) with psychiatric differential diagnoses and 19 of the 40 patients (47%) with lesional differential diagnoses (normal pressure hydrocephalus, encephalitis, prion disease, etc.). No major complications occurred following the LP.
Our results suggest that CSF analysis is a safe and effective diagnostic tool in select patients with neurocognitive disorders. We advocate for a wider use of this biomarker in tertiary care memory clinics in Canada.
Background: The semantic variant of primary progressive aphasia (svPPA) is a form of dementia, mainly featuring language impairment, for which the extent of white matter (WM) damage is less described than its associated grey matter (GM) atrophy. Our study aimed to characterise the extent of this damage using a sensitive and unbiased approach. Methods: We conducted a between-group study comparing 10 patients with a clinical diagnosis of svPPA, recruited between 2011 and 2014 at a tertiary reference centre, with 9 cognitively healthy, age-matched controls. From diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) data, we extracted fractional anisotropy (FA) values using a tract-based spatial statistics approach. We further obtained GM volumetric data using the Freesurfer automated segmentation tool. We compared both groups using non-parametric Wilcoxon rank-sum tests, correcting for multiple comparisons. Results: Demographic data showed that patients and controls were comparable. As expected, clinical data showed lower results in svPPA than controls on cognitive screening tests. Tractography showed impaired diffusion in svPPA patients, with FA mostly decreased in the longitudinal, uncinate, cingulum and external capsule fasciculi. Volumetric data show significant atrophy in svPPA patients, mostly in the left entorhinal, amygdala, inferior temporal, middle temporal, superior temporal and temporal pole cortices, and bilateral fusiform gyri. Conclusions: This syndrome appears to be associated not only with GM but also significant WM degeneration. Thus, DTI could play a role in the differential diagnosis of atypical dementia by specifying WM damage specific to svPPA.
Primary progressive apraxia of speech (PPAoS) is a neurodegenerative syndrome characterized by speech apraxia at its onset; as it progresses, it often evolves into total mutism. Even though this syndrome is increasingly recognized, its early differential diagnostic is still complex. The objective of this study was to illustrate why a fine evaluation of speech and language is essential for the differential diagnosis of PPAoS. This longitudinal case study presents the progression of a PPAoS patient over a period of 5 years. Periodic neurological and speech-language assessments were carried out to follow the progression of neurological, memory, language and speech symptoms. The different diagnostic labels established over time were also reported. The evolution of the patient’s communication profile was characterized by a preservation of language components and episodic memory, in parallel with a progressive deterioration of speech which gradually reduced intelligibility, and was associated with signs of spasticity, resulting in a complete anarthria. This case study sheds light upon the evolution of a patient with PPAoS. A better understanding of the clinical profile and progression of PPAoS is necessary in order to improve early diagnosis and adequate care for these patients.
Studies of amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI) and late-life depression (LLD) have examined the similarities and differences between these syndromes, but few have investigated how the cognitive profile of comorbid aMCI and subclinical depressive symptoms (aMCI/D+) may compare to that of aMCI or LLD. Memory biases for certain types of emotional information may distinguish these groups.
A total of 35 aMCI, 23 aMCI/D+, 13 LLD, and 17 elderly controls (CONT) rated the valence (positive, negative, or neutral) of 30 pictures from the International Affective Picture System. Mean percent positive, negative, and neutral images recalled was compared within groups immediately and 30 minutes later.
Overall memory performance was comparable in aMCI and aMCI/D+, and both recalled fewer items than CONT and LLD. Group differences emerged when valence ratings were considered: at immediate and delayed recall, positive and negative pictures were generally better-remembered than neutral pictures by CONT, aMCI, and LLD, but valence was not associated with recall in aMCI/D+. Follow-up analyses suggested that the perceived intensity of stimuli may explain the emotional enhancement effect in CONT, aMCI, and LLD.
Results support previous research suggesting that the neuropsychological profile of aMCI/D+ is different from that of aMCI and LLD. Although depressed and non-depressed individuals with aMCI recall comparable quantities of information, the quality of the recalled information differs significantly. On theoretical grounds, this suggests the existence of distinct neurobiological or neurofunctional manifestations in both groups. Practically, these differences may guide the development of personalized emotion-focused encoding strategies in cognitive training programs.
Positron emission tomography (PET) imaging of brain amyloid beta is now
clinically available in several countries including the United States and
the United Kingdom, but not Canada. It has become an established technique
in the field of neuroimaging of aging and dementia, with data incorporated
in the new consensus guidelines for the diagnosis of Alzheimer disease and
predementia Alzheimer’s disease–related conditions. At this point, there are
three US Food and Drug Administration– and European Union–approved tracers.
Guided by appropriate use criteria developed in 2013 by the Alzheimer’s
Association and the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging, the
utility of amyloid imaging in medical practice is now supported by a growing
body of research. In this paper, we aimed to provide an update on the 2012
Canadian consensus guidelines to dementia care practitioners on proper use
of amyloid imaging. We also wished to generate momentum for the industry to
submit a new drug proposal to Health Canada. A group of local, national, and
international dementia experts and imaging specialists met to discuss
scenarios in which amyloid PET could be used appropriately. Peer-reviewed
and published literature between January 2004 and May 2015 was searched.
Technical and regulatory considerations pertaining to Canada were
considered. The results of a survey of current practices in Canadian
dementia centers were considered. A set of specific clinical and research
guidelines was agreed on that defines the types of patients and clinical
circumstances in which amyloid PET could be used in Canada. Future research
directions were also outlined, notably the importance of studies that would
assess the pharmaco-economics of amyloid imaging.
A 57-year-old daycare educator presented as a drowsy but oriented individual with a history of sudden and severe headache associated with vomiting. She had no previous medical or neurological history. Examination showed no focal signs and routine laboratory studies were unremarkable. Head computed tomogram (CT) revealed a Fisher grade IV subarachnoid hemorrhage in the posterior fossa with extensive intraventricular hemorrhage (Graeb 8/12, see Figures 1A and 1B) which was shown to originate from a left Posterior Inferior Cerebellar Artery (PICA) aneurysm on CT angiography and treated successfully with endovascular embolization. Five days later she deteriorated her level of consciousness (Glascow coma scale [GCS] 8/15). The CT scan showed moderate hydrocephalus and a ventricular drain was placed. She improved clinically but remained disoriented with slowed information processing skills.
Since the beginning of the new millennium, prevalence of syphilis has re-increased and is once again, a major public health problem. Neurosyphilis is the extension of syphilitic infection to the nervous system. It is considered by many as a cause of reversible dementia, when treated early. However, scarce data exist on the evolution of cognitive and behavioral impairments in patients affected by tertiary neurosyphilis.
The aim of this study was to explore the cognitive and behavioral changes in a cohort of patients diagnosed with neurosyphilis.
A retrospective study based on systematized chart review between 2000 and 2012 in a large neurological tertiary care facility.
Clinical evaluations by treating physicians.
Eighteen patients were identified with tertiary neurosyphilis. Out of this group, only two had systematic neuropsychological follow-up despite physician reports of significant and persistent cognitive and psychiatric changes. For these two cases, only slight improvements were noted in memory and executive skills while improvements in attention were marked. None of our patients had previous psychiatric history yet a large proportion developed symptoms after the infection.
Although neurosyphilis is traditionally considered a reversible form of dementia, we found limited support for this claim in our two patients with close follow-up. Quality data on the cognitive and psychiatric changes in the rest of our cohort was dramatically lacking, and this could not be explained by absence of symptoms at presentation. Given the recrudescence of syphilis, we propose a systematic approach to the evaluation and follow-up of this disorder.
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