Poster E27, Monday, March 27, 2:30 – 4:30 pm, Pacific Concourse
Semantic and episodic memory impairments for faces in frontotemporal dementia and Alzheimer's disease
Jessica A. Collins1,2, Bradford C. Dickerson1,2; 1Massachusetts General Hospital, 2Harvard Medical School
The goal of this study was to delineate the cognitive components and neural mechanisms underlying the person recognition difficulties experienced by patients with FTD and AD. Participants included 11 older healthy controls, 11 patients with AD, 10 patients with the semantic variant of FTD (semantic dementia or SD) and 4 patients with the behavioral variant of FTD (bvFTD). To assess semantic memory for famous faces, participants were first shown a set of 15 famous faces and 15 non-famous foils and were asked if they recognized the person (yes/no), and if so to retrieve the person’s name. After a 20-minute break participants began the second portion of the task, which measured episodic memory for faces. They were shown a set of 60 faces (30 old) and on each trial indicated whether they saw the person in the previous session (yes/no). Relative to healthy controls, FTD patients (both bvFTD and SD) were significantly impaired at recognizing famous faces as being familiar. SD patients exhibited particular difficulty naming the famous faces they had endorsed as familiar. Patients with AD exhibited preserved performance on the semantic memory portion of the task. Contrary to our expectations, all three patient groups were significantly impaired on the episodic memory portion of the task relative to healthy controls, with no difference in performance observed between the three patient samples. Preliminary cortical thickness analyses in the FTD patient group revealed frontal and temporal cortical areas that predicted episodic and semantic memory performance.
Topic Area: EMOTION & SOCIAL: Person perception