Dementia and Neurodegenerative Diseases
Frontiers in neurology
Formal publication: August 2021
Abstract: Beyond canonical deficits in social cognition and interpersonal conduct, behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD) involves language difficulties in a substantial proportion of cases. However, since most evidence comes from high-income countries, the scope and relevance of language deficits in Latin American bvFTD samples remain poorly understood. As a first step toward reversing this scenario, we review studies reporting language measures in Latin American bvFTD cohorts relative to other groups. We identified 24 papers meeting systematic criteria, mainly targeting phonemic and semantic fluency, naming, semantic processing, and comprehension skills. The evidence shows widespread impairments in these domains, often related to overall cognitive disturbances. Some of these deficits may be as severe as in other diseases where they are more widely acknowledged, such as Alzheimer’s disease. Considering the prevalence and informativeness of language deficits in bvFTD patients from other world regions, the need arises for more systematic research in Latin America, ideally spanning multiple domains, in diverse languages and dialects, with validated batteries. We outline key challenges and pathways of progress in this direction, laying the ground for a new regional research agenda on the disorder.
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