Comparison of inhibitory functioning in mild Alzheimer's disease and frontotemporal dementia

Cortex. 2007 Oct;43(7):866-74. doi: 10.1016/s0010-9452(08)70686-5.


Executive dysfunction is frequently reported in Alzheimer's disease (AD) and the frontal variant of frontotemporal dementia (FTD). More specifically, inhibitory dysfunction is observed early in AD and inhibitory deficits are also prominent in patients with FTD. However, few studies have simultaneously explored and compared inhibitory abilities in both degenerative diseases. Consequently, the aim of this study was to compare verbal and motor inhibitory processes in the initial stages of AD and the frontal variant of FTD. Stroop and Go/No-go tasks were administered. The results demonstrate that, on the Go/No-go task, AD and FTD patients do not produce more errors than control subjects. However, both groups are impaired on the Stroop task (mainly with regard to the error score) but do not differ from each other. These results indicate that AD and FTD patients do not present a general impairment of their inhibitory abilities. Moreover, these two kinds of dementia present similar quantitative and qualitative inhibitory impairments on the two tasks, although their patterns of structural and functional cerebral impairments are known to be different. The presence of similar inhibitory deficits despite very different patterns of brain damage is in agreement with the hypothesis that inhibitory dysfunction in the two groups of patients depends on a disconnection process between anterior and posterior cerebral areas, rather than on the presence of focal metabolism decreases in different regions.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alzheimer Disease / physiopathology*
  • Alzheimer Disease / psychology
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Dementia / physiopathology*
  • Dementia / psychology
  • Discrimination Learning / physiology*
  • Female
  • Frontal Lobe / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Inhibition, Psychological*
  • Male
  • Matched-Pair Analysis
  • Middle Aged
  • Neural Inhibition / physiology
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology
  • Reaction Time / physiology
  • Reference Values
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Temporal Lobe / physiopathology*
  • Verbal Learning / physiology