Behavioral variant of frontotemporal dementia: Fundamental clinical issues associated with prediction of pathological bases

Tomoko Miki, Osamu Yokota, Hideki Ishizu, Shigetoshi Kuroda, Etsuko Oshima, Seishi Terada, Norihito Yamada

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Behavioral variant of frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD) is a clinical syndrome characterized mainly by behavioral symptoms due to frontal dysfunction. Major neurodegenerative bases of bvFTD include Pick's disease, frontotemporal lobar degeneration with trans-activation response DNA protein 43-positive inclusions, corticobasal degeneration, and progressive supranuclear palsy. Early disinhibition characterized by socially inappropriate behaviors, loss of manners, and impulsive, rash and careless actions is the most important clinical feature of bvFTD. On the other hand, it was reported that clinical presentations of some Alzheimer's disease cases and patients with psychiatric disorders (e.g., addictive disorders, gambling disorder and kleptomania) often resemble that of bvFTD. Although clinical differentiation of ‘true’ bvFTD cases with frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) pathology from mimicking cases without it is not always easy, evaluation of the following features, which were noted in autopsy-confirmed FTLD cases and/or clinical bvFTD cases with circumscribed lobar atrophy, may often provide clues for the diagnosis. (i) The initial symptoms frequently develop at 65 years or younger, and (ii) ‘socially inappropriate behaviors’ can be frequently interpreted as contextually inappropriate behaviors prompted by environmental visual and auditory stimuli. Taking a detailed history usually reveals various kinds of such behaviors in various situations in everyday life rather than the repetition of a single kind of behavior (e.g., repeated shoplifting). (iii) A correlation between the distribution of cerebral atrophy and neurological and behavioral symptoms is usually observed, and the proportion of FTLD cases with right side-predominant cerebral atrophy may be higher in a psychiatric setting than a neurological setting. Finally, (iv) whether the previous course and the combination of symptoms observed at the first medical visit can be explained by major evolution patterns of clinical syndromes in pathologically confirmed FTLD cases should be considered. These views may provide clues to differentiate FTLD from Alzheimer's disease and to predict a subsequent clinical course and therapeutic interventions needed in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)388-404
Number of pages17
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2016


  • FTD
  • behavioral variant
  • disinhibition
  • environmental dependency syndrome
  • utilization behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology


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