Education and previous brain injury may be associated with a higher risk of frontotemporal dementia

Education and previous brain injury may be associated with a higher risk of frontotemporal dementia

Education and previous brain injury may be associated with a higher risk of frontotemporal dementia

Abstract: Previous TBI increased the risk of frontotemporal dementia in those without a genetic risk factor for FTD. In addition, the researchers found that those with FTD were less educated than those with Alzheimer’s disease.

Source: University of Eastern Finland

Two recent studies from the University of Eastern Finland show that education and previous traumatic brain injury can potentially affect the risk of frontotemporal dementia.

Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is one of the most common causes of dementia in working-age people. FTD spectrum disorders have, depending on the subtype, major effects on behavior, language functions, and cognitive processing.

Many genetic mutations are thought to contribute to these disorders, but their preventable nongenetic risk factors remain unknown and poorly studied.

According to a recent study conducted at the University of Eastern Finland, patients with frontotemporal dementia are on average less educated than patients with Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, FTD patients who did not carry the genetic mutation that causes the disease were less educated and had a higher prevalence of heart disease compared to FTD patients who carried the mutation.

The researchers used extensive data from over 1,000 patients, including patients from Finland and Italy, with all the most common subtypes of FTD.

In addition to patients with FTD and patients with Alzheimer’s disease, the study also included a control group that was not diagnosed with any neurodegenerative disease. The results were published in Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology.

Education and previous brain injury may be associated with a higher risk of frontotemporal dementia
Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is one of the most common causes of dementia in working-age people. The image is in the public domain

Based on the study, patients with different subtypes of the FTD spectrum, and patients with genetic and non-genetic disease, appear to differ in several risk factors.

Another study shows that previous traumatic brain injury may increase the risk of FTD, especially in patients who did not carry the causative genetic mutation. In addition, patients who suffered a head injury appeared to develop FTD earlier on average than others.

The researchers compared Finnish FTD patients with Alzheimer’s disease patients and with healthy controls. The findings were published in Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

“These results offer a better understanding of disease mechanisms and, possibly in the future, an opportunity to prevent frontotemporal dementia,” says PhD researcher and lead author of both articles Helmi Soppel of the University of Eastern Finland.

About this frontotemporal dementia research news

Author: Press office
Source: University of Eastern Finland
Contact: Press Office – University of Eastern Finland
Picture: The image is in the public domain

Original research: Closed access.
Traumatic brain injury is associated with earlier onset of sporadic frontotemporal dementiaHelmi Soppel et al. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease

Open access.
Modifiable potential risk factors in familial and sporadic frontotemporal dementiaHelmi Soppel et al. Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology


Abstract

Traumatic brain injury is associated with earlier onset of sporadic frontotemporal dementia

Background: There are currently few studies looking at possible modifiable risk factors for frontotemporal dementia (FTD). Objective: In this retrospective case-control study, we evaluated whether a history of traumatic brain injury (TBI) is associated with the diagnosis of FTD or modulates the clinical phenotype or age in patients with FTD.

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Methods: We compared the prevalence of prior TBI between individuals with FTD (N = 218) and age- and sex-matched AD patients (N = 214) or healthy controls (HC; N = 100). Based on patient records, an individual was categorized into the TBI+ group if they were reported to have had a lifetime TBI. The possible association of TBI with age of onset and disease duration was also evaluated in the whole group of patients with FTD or separately in groups with sporadic and genetic FTD.

The results: The prevalence of previous TBI was highest in the FTD group (19.3%) compared to the AD group (13.1%, p = 0.050) or the HC group (12%, p = 0.108, not significant). Previous TBI was more often associated with sporadic FTD cases than with C9orf72 FTD cases with repeat expansion (p = 0.003). Furthermore, comparing the TBI+ and TBI-FTD groups showed that previous TBI was associated with earlier age in patients with FTD (B = 3.066, p = 0.010).

Conclusion: Previous TBI is particularly associated with sporadic FTD and earlier onset of symptoms. The results of this study suggest that TBI may be a triggering factor for neurodegenerative processes in FTD. However, understanding the exact underlying mechanisms still requires further studies.


Abstract

Modifiable potential risk factors in familial and sporadic frontotemporal dementia

Goal

Only a few studies have evaluated modifiable risk factors for frontotemporal dementia (FTD). Here, we evaluated several modifiable factors and their association with disease phenotype, genotype, and prognosis in a large study population including Finnish and Italian FTD patients and controls.

Methods

In this case-control study, we compared the presence of several cardiovascular and other lifestyle-related diseases and education between Finnish and Italian patients with familial (n= 376) and sporadic (n= 654) FTD, between different FTD phenotypes and between a subgroup of Finnish FTD patients (n= 221) and matched Finnish patients with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) (n= 214) and cognitively healthy controls (HC) (n= 100).

the results

Patients with sporadic FTD were less educated (p= 0.042, B = -0.560, 95% CI -1.101 to -0.019) and had more heart disease (p< 0.001, OR = 2.265, 95% CI 1.502–3.417) compared to patients with familial FTD. Finnish FTD patients were less educated (p= 0.032, B = 0.755, 95% CI 0.064–1.466) compared to AD patients. The Finnish FTD group showed a lower prevalence of hypertension than the HC group (p= 0.003, OR = 2.162, 95% CI 1.304–3.583) and a lower prevalence of hypercholesterolemia than in the HC group (p< 0.001, OR = 2.648, 95% CI 1.548–4.531) or in the AD group (p< 0.001, OR = 1.995, 95% CI 1.333–2.986). Within the FTD group, clinical phenotypes also differed with respect to education and lifestyle factors.

Interpretation

Our study suggests different profiles of several modifiable factors in the FTD cohort depending on phenotype and family history, and that sporadic FTD in particular may be associated with modifiable risk factors.

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