Convergence of connected language and SPECT in variants of frontotemporal lobar degeneration

Sandra B. Chapman, Frederick J. Bonte, Stephanie B Chiu Wong, Jennifer N. Zientz, Linda S. Hynan, Thomas S. Harris, April R. Gorman, Celeste A. Roney, Anne M. Lipton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


The characterization of frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) is complicated and not widely recognized. Connected language measures (ie, discourse) and functional neuroimaging may advance knowledge specifying early distinctions among frontal dementias. The present study examined the correspondence of discourse measures with (1) clinical diagnosis and (2) single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) imaging. Nineteen subjects were selected from Alzheimer's Disease Center (ADC) participants if they were diagnosed with early-stage frontotemporal lobar degeneration and also underwent single photon emission computed tomography and discourse evaluation. First, clinical diagnoses given by specialists at an Alzheimer's Disease Center were compared with the discourse-based diagnostic profiles. Secondly, compromised brain regions that were predicted from discourse profiles were compared with SPECT findings. Results revealed a significant correspondence between the ADC diagnosis and the discourse-based diagnoses. Also, the discourse profiles across frontotemporal lobar degeneration subtypes were consistently associated with distinctive patterns of SPECT hypometabolism in the right frontal, left frontal, or left temporal lobes. These findings suggest that discourse methods may be systematized to provide an efficient adjunct measure beyond the traditional word and sentential level measures. Objectifying complex language performance may contribute to early detection and differentiation among frontotemporal lobar degeneration variants because consensus in the literature states that language is a core disturbance of frontotemporal lobar degeneration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)202-213
Number of pages12
JournalAlzheimer disease and associated disorders
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2005


  • Frontotemporal lobar degeneration
  • Imaging
  • Language

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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