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School history and previous brain damage may be associated with higher risk of frontotemporal dementia – Neuroscience News

Summary: Prior TBI increased the risk of frontotemporal dementia in people without genetic risk factors for FTD. Additionally, researchers have found that people with FTD tend to be less educated than those with Alzheimer’s disease.

Source: University of Eastern Finland

Two recent studies from the University of Eastern Finland show that school history 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 people of working age. FTD spectrum disorders have, depending on the subtype, major effects on behavior, language functions and cognitive processing.

Many genetic mutations have been implicated as contributing to these disorders, but their non-genetic and therefore potentially preventable risk factors remain unknown and understudied.

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

The researchers used detailed data from more than 1,000 patients, including patients from Finland and Italy, with all of the most common FTD subtypes represented.

In addition to patients with FTD and patients with Alzheimer’s disease, the study included a control group who had not been diagnosed with a neurodegenerative disease. The results were reported in Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology.

It shows a brain
Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is one of the most common causes of dementia in people of working age. Image is in public domain

Based on the study, it appears that patients with different FTD spectrum subtypes and patients with genetic and non-genetic diseases are different in terms of several risk factors.

A second study shows that prior traumatic brain injury may increase the risk of FTD, especially in patients who do not carry a causative genetic mutation. In addition, patients who had suffered head trauma seemed, on average, to develop FTD earlier than those who did not.

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

“These results offer a better understanding of disease mechanisms and, perhaps in the future, an opportunity to prevent frontotemporal dementia,” says Helmi Soppela, PhD researcher and lead author of both papers, from the University of Finland. eastern.

About this frontotemporal dementia research update

Author: Press office
Source: University of Eastern Finland
Contact: Press office – University of Eastern Finland
Image: Image is in public domain

Original research: Access closed.
“Traumatic brain injury associated with early onset sporadic frontotemporal dementia” by Helmi Soppela et al. Alzheimer’s Disease Journal

Free access.
“Potential Modifiable Risk Factors in Familial and Sporadic Frontotemporal Dementia” by Helmi Soppela et al. Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology


Traumatic brain injury associated with earlier onset of sporadic frontotemporal dementia

Background: Currently, there are few studies examining possible modifiable risk factors for frontotemporal dementia (FTD). Objective: In this retrospective case-control study, we assessed whether a history of traumatic brain injury (TBI) is associated with a diagnosis of FTD or modulate the clinical phenotype or age of onset in patients with FTD.

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Methods : We compared the prevalence of a previous TBI between people 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 classified in the TBI+ group if they were reported to have suffered from TBI in their lifetime. Possible associations of TBI with age at onset and disease duration were also assessed in the whole FTD patient group or separately in the sporadic and genetic FTD groups.

Results: The prevalence of prior 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 repeated FTD cases carrying C9orf72 expansion (p = 0.003). Moreover, the comparison of the TBI+ and TBI-FTD groups indicated that previous TBI was associated with an earlier age of onset in FTD patients (B = 3.066, p = 0.010).

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


Potential modifiable risk factors in familial and sporadic frontotemporal dementia


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


In this case-control study, we compared the presence of several cardiovascular and other lifestyle diseases and education between Finnish and Italian patients with familial diseases (not= 376) and sporadic (not= 654) FTD, between different FTD phenotypes, and between a subgroup of Finnish FTD patients (not= 221) and matched Finnish patients with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) (not= 214) and healthy cognitive controls (HC) (not= 100).


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 patients with FTD were less educated (p= 0.032, B = 0.755, 95% CI 0.064–1.466) compared to patients with AD. 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 CH 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.


Our study suggests distinct profiles of several modifiable factors in the DFT group depending on phenotype and family history of inheritance and that particularly sporadic DFT may be associated with modifiable risk factors.

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