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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 54 (2012) 5, 409 - 417

New research

Frontotemporal dementia and schizophrenia in later life: a comparison of executive and general cognitive functioning

F. Sanders, M.M.J. Smeets-Janssen, P.D. Meesters, A.E. van der Vlies, C.J. Kerssens, Y.A.L. Pijnenburg

summary
background Frontotemporal dementia (ftd) is characterised clinically by progressive changes in behaviour and personality; these changes are followed by cognitive disorder. Ftd needs to be differentiated from other forms of dementia and from psychiatric conditions such ass chizophrenia. Both ftd and schizophrenia lead to cognitive disorders and particularly to executive impairments.
aim To compare executive and general cognitive functioning in patients with ftd and in patients with schizophrenia in later life.
method As cognitive screening instruments we used the ‘Frontal Assessment Battery’ (fab) and the ‘Mini-Mental State Examination’ (mmse). The fab en mmse test results (retrieved from the database of the Alzheimer centre of the vu medical centre) for 25 outpatients diagnosed as having ftd were compared with the test results (retrieved from the ‘soul’ study database) for 31 elderly schizophrenia patients.
results In both the fab and the mmse tests the scores for the patients with ftd were significantly lower than the scores for the patients with schizophrenia.
conclusion Our study suggests that, despite the clinical similarities, there are differences between patients with ftd and elderly patients with schizophrenia with regard to executive and general cognitive functioning. Further studies are needed in order to differentiate between the two illnesses.

keywords cognition, Frontal Assessment Battery, frontotemporal dementia, schizophrenia