Practice effects in genetic frontotemporal dementia and at-risk individuals: a GENFI study

Introduction

Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is a heterogeneous group of neurodegenerative diseases with an onset usually before the age of 65 years even if it can appear also in older ages.1

On cognitive tests, patients with FTD show deficits in executive functions, social cognition and language, whereas the initial performances in memory and visuoconstruction tasks usually are preserved.1 The general approach to detect cognitive decline in dementia is to repeat cognitive testing and observe changes over time. However, exposure to similar tasks could improve performance as the individual gets familiar with both the tasks themselves and the test setting (ie, practice effect or learning effect).2 3

Different attempts to adjust for practice effects in repeated testing have been proposed.4 However, recent research suggests that the phenomenon of practice effects can provide useful information. Patients with neurological and psychiatric conditions show lower practice effects…

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