Screening for Frontotemporal Dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease with the Philadelphia Brief Assessment of Cognition: A Preliminary Analysis
Background: A neuropsychological screening instrument sensitive to neuropsychological deficits associated with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and patients with frontotemporal dementia (FTD) would be valuable for diagnostic evaluation. Methods: The Philadelphia Brief Assessment of Cognition (PBAC) assesses working memory/executive control, language, visuospatial operations, verbal/visual episodic memory, and behavior/social comportment and can be administered and scored in 15-20 min. Participants included 149 patients with AD and four groups of FTD patients – i.e., patients with a decline in social comportment, personality, and executive functioning (SOC/EXEC), semantic dementia (SemD), progressive nonfluent aphasia (PNFA), and corticobasal syndrome (CBS). Results: The total PBAC score correlated with the Mini-Mental State Examination. Between-group analysis of PBAC subscales and the results of logistic regression analyses produced substantial between-group differences, emphasizing the sensitivity of the test to differentiate dementia subtypes. AD patients were impaired on tests of episodic memory, SOC/EXEC patients were impaired on a measure of social comportment/behavioral disturbance, PNFA patients obtained low scores on tests of working memory/executive control, SemD patients obtained lower scores on language-mediated measures, and CBS patients were impaired on visuospatial/visual memory tests. Conclusion: These data support the usefulness of the PBAC as a relatively brief screening test of overall dementia severity across a wide range of dementia patients.