Dementia and Neurodegenerative Diseases
Frontiers in neurology
Formal publication: June 2021
Authors: Duran-Aniotz, C., Orellana, P., Leon Rodriguez, T., Henriquez, F., Cabello, V., Aguirre-Pinto, M. F., Escobedo, T., Takada, L. T., Pina-Escudero, S. D., Lopez, O., Yokoyama, J. S., Ibanez, A., Parra, M. A., & Slachevsky, A.
Abstract: Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) includes a group of clinically, genetically, and pathologically heterogeneous neurodegenerative disorders, affecting the fronto-insular-temporal regions of the brain. Clinically, FTD is characterized by progressive deficits in behavior, executive function, and language and its diagnosis relies mainly on the clinical expertise of the physician/consensus group and the use of neuropsychological tests and/or structural/functional neuroimaging, depending on local availability. The modest correlation between clinical findings and FTD neuropathology makes the diagnosis difficult using clinical criteria and often leads to underdiagnosis or misdiagnosis, primarily due to lack of recognition or awareness of FTD as a disease and symptom overlap with psychiatric disorders. Despite advances in understanding the underlying neuropathology of FTD, accurate and sensitive diagnosis for this disease is still lacking. One of the major challenges is to improve diagnosis in FTD patients as early as possible. In this context, biomarkers have emerged as useful methods to provide and/or complement clinical diagnosis for this complex syndrome, although more evidence is needed to incorporate most of them into clinical practice. However, most biomarker studies have been performed using North American or European populations, with little representation of the Latin American and the Caribbean (LAC) region. In the LAC region, there are additional challenges, particularly the lack of awareness and knowledge about FTD, even in specialists. Also, LAC genetic heritage and cultures are complex, and both likely influence clinical presentations and may modify baseline biomarker levels. Even more, due to diagnostic delay, the clinical presentation might be further complicated by both neurological and psychiatric comorbidity, such as vascular brain damage, substance abuse, mood disorders, among others. This systematic review provides a brief update and an overview of the current knowledge on genetic, neuroimaging, and fluid biomarkers for FTD in LAC countries. Our review highlights the need for extensive research on biomarkers in FTD in LAC to contribute to a more comprehensive understanding of the disease and its associated biomarkers. Dementia research is certainly reduced in the LAC region, highlighting an urgent need for harmonized, innovative, and cross-regional studies with a global perspective across multiple areas of dementia knowledge.
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