Extrapyramidal signs, primitive reflexes and incontinence in fronto-temporal dementia

Eur J Neurol. 2007 Aug;14(8):860-4. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-1331.2007.01773.x.


According to the diagnostic consensus criteria [1] akinesia, rigidity and tremor as well as primitive reflexes and incontinence support the diagnosis of fronto-temporal dementia (FTD). However, the prevalence of extrapyramidal signs (EPMS), primitive reflexes and incontinence in FTD has not yet been systematically studied. In the present study, thirty-one patients with mild or moderate FTD without previous or present antipsychotic medication underwent a detailed neurological exam including the motor part of the Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS). The average total score on the motor subscale of the UPDRS was 14.0 points. Akinesia and Parkinsonian gait or posture were found frequently but were mild in most instances. Rigidity was found in 36% of the patients. Resting tremor was a rare symptom. The only primitive reflex that occurred was a positive palmomental that was found in 7% of the patients. Urinary incontinence was present in 26%. The results have to be confirmed with larger or pooled patient samples from different ascertainment scenarios. If the results of the present study can be replicated, a revision of the consensus criteria from 1998 might be considered.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Basal Ganglia Diseases / etiology
  • Basal Ganglia Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain / pathology
  • Brain / physiopathology
  • Dementia / complications
  • Dementia / diagnostic imaging
  • Dementia / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Gait Disorders, Neurologic / etiology
  • Gait Disorders, Neurologic / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Rigidity / etiology
  • Muscle Rigidity / physiopathology
  • Neurologic Examination
  • Parkinsonian Disorders / etiology
  • Parkinsonian Disorders / physiopathology
  • Positron-Emission Tomography
  • Reflex, Abnormal*
  • Urinary Incontinence / etiology
  • Urinary Incontinence / physiopathology*