Education plays a different role in Frontotemporal Dementia and Alzheimer's disease.Int J Geriatr Psychiatry 2008; 23(8):796-800IJ
The role of modifiable and non-modifiable variables in Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD) as compared to Alzheimer's dDisease (AD) and to Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP) or Corticobasal Degeneration Syndrome (CBDS) has not been extensively evaluated. In particular, low education levels have been reported to be a risk factor for AD, but their contribution in FTD is yet not known.
To investigate the role of education, other modifiable and non-modifiable factors in FTD as compared to AD, PSP and CBDS patients.
One hundred and seventeen FTD patients, 400 AD, 55 PSP, and 55 CBDS entered the study. Demographic and clinical characteristics were carefully recorded. Age, gender, family history for dementia and Apolipoprotein E (APOE) genotype were considered as non-modifiable factors; education and comorbidities were included as modifiable variables. Regression analyses were applied in order to identify differences among groups.
FTD differed from AD patients in terms of younger age, positive family history and gender status. In regard to APOE genotype, no differences between FTD and AD were found, but FTD showed higher prevalence of epsilon 4 allele compared to both CBDS and PSP patients (p < 0.05). When modifiable factors were considered, FTD were higher educated than AD patients (p < 0.001). Regression analysis identified younger age, positive family history, and education levels as independently associated variables to FTD diagnosis compared to AD (F = 21.27, R(2) = 24.1, p = 0.036).
Our results highlight that the contribution of education and non-modifiable factors is likely different in FTD and AD. Further work is needed to completely establish the role of this modifiable variable as a potential area of intervention for dementias.