The differentiation of semantic dementia and frontal lobe dementia (temporal and frontal variants of frontotemporal dementia) from early Alzheimer's disease: a comparative neuropsychological study

Neuropsychology. 1999 Jan;13(1):31-40. doi: 10.1037//0894-4105.13.1.31.


The authors compared age-matched groups of patients with the frontal and temporal lobe variants of frontotemporal dementia (FTD; dementia of frontal type [DFT] and semantic dementia), early Alzheimer's disease (AD), and normal controls (n = 9 per group) on a comprehensive neuropsychological battery. A distinct profile emerged for each group: Those with AD showed a severe deficit in episodic memory with more subtle, but significant, impairments in semantic memory and visuospatial skills; patients with semantic dementia showed the previously documented picture of isolated, but profound, semantic memory breakdown with anomia and surface dyslexia but were indistinguishable from the AD group on a test of story recall; and the DFT group were the least impaired and showed mild deficits in episodic memory and verbal fluency but normal semantic memory. The frontal and temporal presentations of FTD are clearly separable from each other and from early AD.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Atrophy / pathology
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Cognition Disorders / etiology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Dementia / complications
  • Dementia / diagnosis*
  • Female
  • Frontal Lobe / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Semantics*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Temporal Lobe / pathology*