Event Abstract

Motor speech deficits in behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia

  • 1 The University of Melbourne, Speech Neuroscience Unit, Australia
  • 2 Eastern Cognitive Disorders Clinic, Australia
  • 3 The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, Australia
  • 4 Kings College London, United Kingdom
  • 5 La Trobe University, Australia

Background: Behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia (BvFTD) is a neurodegenerative disease. Frontotemporal dementia is the second most common cause of young-onset dementia after Alzheimer's disease and is characterised by behavioural disinhibition, apathy, perseverative behaviour, functional decline, and frontal and/or anterior temporal atrophy. Motor speech deficits are a supporting diagnostic feature. Here we sought to document the degree and nature of speech impairment in BvFTD using perceptual and acoustic methodologies. Methods: Nineteen patients with either BvFTD (n=11) or primary progressive aphasia (PPA) provided speech samples and underwent magnetic resonance imaging. Speech was analysed perceptually to describe the nature of deficits. Acoustic analysis of speech quantified the degree of group differences between BvFTD, PPA and healthy controls. Voxel-based morphometry of MRI scans was used at a whole brain level and within 6 a-priori regions of interest. Results: The speech motor profile of patients with BvFTD (pwBvFTD) varied between patients. PwBvFTD presented with voice quality deficits (10/11) and reduced speed and accuracy in alternating syllable production tasks (11/11). PwBvFTD showed significantly poorer function on the majority of timing measures on tasks with low levels of automaticity (e.g., reading, unprepared monologue), as shown by acoustic data. Correlations between voxel-based morphometry and speech metrics revealed significant association between cortical white matter volume and mean silence length and percent of silence per sample. Conclusions: Quantifying the degree and nature of speech changes may serve to improve differential diagnosis and act as a viable tool for tracking disease progression.

Keywords: Acoustics, Dementia, Dysarthria, Speech, apraxia

Conference: XII International Conference on Cognitive Neuroscience (ICON-XII), Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, 27 Jul - 31 Jul, 2014.

Presentation Type: Poster

Topic: Language

Citation: Poole M, Brodtmann A, Pemberton H, Low E, Darby D and Vogel A (2015). Motor speech deficits in behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia. Conference Abstract: XII International Conference on Cognitive Neuroscience (ICON-XII). doi: 10.3389/conf.fnhum.2015.217.00396

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Received: 19 Feb 2015; Published Online: 24 Apr 2015.

* Correspondence: Dr. Adam Vogel, The University of Melbourne, Speech Neuroscience Unit, Melbourne, Australia, vogela@unimelb.edu.au