International Consortium Develops New Guidelines to Help Diagnose bvFTD



An international team of researchers has developed clinical recommendations that could make a diagnosis of behavioral variant FTD (bvFTD) easier by helping to distinguish the condition from psychiatric disorders.

The guidelines are based on reviews of available medical literature and the individual recommendations of nearly 50 scientists and clinicians from 15 countries with expertise in neuropsychiatrist aspects of bvFTD. The researchers suggest two main steps to help advance accurate diagnoses: collecting collateral information on all symptoms from multiple family members, and a multidisciplinary neuropsychiatric assessment that includes tests to assess social and cognitive areas.

The recommendations provide hope for individuals and families who may face several years before receiving an accurate diagnosis of FTD, as early symptoms of the disease can be misconstrued by primary care practitioners as a psychiatric disorder such as depression.

AFTD Medical Advisory Council member Bradford Dickerson, MD, of Massachusetts General Hospital, notes the importance of addressing this “challenging topic” in an interview with Neurology Today. “The field has been grappling for years with the challenge of differentiating persons with bvFTD due to FTD neuropathologic changes (what we think of as the major forms of the disease) from clinical syndromes that may mimic bvFTD in some ways but are not likely due to neurodegenerative neuropathologic changes,” he said.

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