What is the role of lab testing in the diagnosis of frontotemporal dementia (FTD)?

Updated: Jun 14, 2018
  • Author: Howard S Kirshner, MD; Chief Editor: Jasvinder Chawla, MD, MBA  more...
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Routine testing (eg, blood, cerebrospinal fluid) in frontotemporal lobe dementia (FTD) is usually unrevealing.

The genetic test for APOE-4 is less useful in FTD than in Alzheimer disease. A study by Mesulam et al found no association between FTD and the APOE-4 genotype. [44] Other studies have had somewhat different results, but, in general, APOE-4 correlates much better with Alzheimer disease than with FTD. [45, 67]

The findings in electroencephalography (EEG) are commonly abnormal in FTD, often showing focal slowing of electrical activity over 1 or both frontal or temporal lobes. These findings are not sufficiently specific to be clinically useful, and, in general, EEG is less useful than functional brain imaging with PET scanning or even lobar atrophy on MRI.

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