Background: Activities of daily living (ADL) and caregiver burden are known to have a major impact on the decision to institutionalize patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD), yet little research has been done on these aspects in patients with frontotemporal dementia (FTD).
Aim: To compare ADL and caregiver burden in FTD and in early-onset AD.
Methods: We compared 26 FTD and 28 AD patients with respect to the Neuropsychiatric Inventory (NPI), Mini Mental State Examination, Mattis Dementia Rating Scale (MDRS), Disability Assessment for Dementia (DAD) and Zarit Burden Inventory (ZBI).
Results: Demographic variables for FTD and AD were similar. FTD patients obtained a significantly higher NPI behavioral score than AD patients (median, 39.5 vs. 11; p < 0.0001). However, the two groups did not differ in their total DAD score. No correlations were observed between DAD and cognitive status (MDRS) or between DAD and behavioral impairment (NPI). The ZBI was higher in FTD than in AD patients (median, 40 vs. 18.5; p = 0.0004) and was correlated with the NPI in both groups.
Conclusion: Functional disability was similar in FTD and AD patients. Nevertheless, the caregiver burden was higher in FTD than in AD, a result that has important implications for caregiver help.
Copyright 2008 S. Karger AG, Basel.