Overdiagnosis and underdiagnosis of behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia and its relation to psychiatric disorders


Wednesday, 22 June, 2016 -
13:00 to 14:00


Room 1616 Mathews Building, UNSW Kensington


School of Psychology

Type of event: 


Audience / Guests: 

Public / All

Behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD) is a clinical syndrome due to heterogeneous neurodegenerative diseases, characterized by early and prominent affective and behavioural disorders. In the absence of reliable biomarkers in the early disease stage, diagnosis largely depends on clinical criteria. Accurate early diagnosis remains a challenge as many symptoms of bvFTD overlap with those found in primary psychiatric disorders, increasing the risk of misdiagnosis and consequently mistreatment.
In this talk I will give an overview about the syndromatic overlap of bvFTD and several primary psychiatric disorders. At first, the clinical spectrum of bvFTD including bvFTD caused by genetic mutations will be discussed. By looking at several psychiatric disorders with bvFTD-like clinical manifestations, we will see that differentiating bvFTD from psychiatric disorders on clinical grounds alone is sometimes hardly achievable, necessitating the use of biomarkers. However, given the already mentioned limited value of biomarkers in early-stage bvFTD, I will then emphasize the importance in assessing in more detail aspects of social cognition, a clinical domain that has been included as one of six domains of neurocognitive function in the recent edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders (DSM-5). In this sense, I will finish my talk by presenting recent research data on the perception of negative facial emotions for discriminating between bvFTD and major depressive disorder.


Marc Sollberger, Memory Clinic: University Center for Medicine of Aging Basel and the University Hospital Basel, Switzerland.