Disinhibition in Frontotemporal Dementia and Alzheimer's Disease: A Neuropsychological and Behavioural Investigation

Luciano I. Mariano, Claire O'Callaghan, Henrique C. Guimarães, Leandro B. Gambogi, Thaís B.L. Da Silva, Mônica S. Yassuda, Juliana S. Amaral, Paulo Caramelli, Michael Hornberger, Antônio L. Teixeira, Leonardo C. De Souza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Objective: Cognitive tests of inhibitory control show variable results for the differential diagnosis between behavioural variant of Frontotemporal Dementia (bvFTD) and Alzheimer's disease (AD). We compared the diagnostic accuracies of tests of inhibitory control and of a behavioural questionnaire, to distinguish bvFTD from AD.Methods: Three groups of participants were enrolled: 27 bvFTD patients, 25 AD patients, and 24 healthy controls. Groups were matched for gender, education, and socio-economic level. Participants underwent a comprehensive neuropsychological assessment of inhibitory control, including Hayling Test, Stroop, the Five Digits Test (FDT) and the Delay Discounting Task (DDT). Caregivers completed the Barratt Impulsiveness Scale 11th version (BIS-11).Results: bvFTD and AD groups showed no difference in the tasks of inhibitory control, while the caregiver questionnaire revealed that bvFTD patients were significantly more impulsive (BIS-11: bvFTD 76.1+9.5, AD 62.9+13, p <.001).Conclusions: Neuropsychological tests of inhibitory control failed to distinguish bvFTD from AD. On the contrary, impulsivity caregiver-completed questionnaire provided good distinction between bvFTD and AD. These results highlight the current limits of cognitive measures of inhibitory control for the differential diagnosis between bvFTD and AD, whereas questionnaire information appears more reliable and in line with clinical diagnostics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)163-171
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the International Neuropsychological Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Behavioural variant Frontotemporal Dementia
  • Delay discounting
  • Executive function
  • Impulsivity
  • Inhibitory control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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