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November 2021

Functional correlates of musical and visual ability in frontotemporal dementia

Author(s): Boone, K., Cummings, J. L., Read, S. L., Mishkin, F.

Journal/Book: Brit J Psychiat. 2000; 176: British Journal of Psychiatry 17 Belgrave Square, London SW1X 8Pg, England. Royal College Of Psychiatrists. 458-463.

Abstract: Background The emergence of new skills in the setting of dementia suggests that loss of function in one brain area can release new functions elsewhere. Aims To characterise 12 patients with frontotemporal dementia (FTD) who acquired, or sustained, new musical or visual abilities despite progression of their dementia. Method Twelve patients with FTD who acquired or maintained musical or artistic ability were compared with 46 patients with FTD in whom new or sustained ability was absent. Results The group with musical or visual ability performed better on visual, but worse on verbal tasks than did the other patients with FTD. Nine had asymmetrical left anterior dysfunction. Nine showed the temporal robe variant of FTD. Conclusion Loss of function in the left anterior temporal lobe may lead to facilitation of artistic or musical skills. Patients with the left-sided temporal lobe variant of FTD offer an unexpected window into the neurological mediation of visual and musical talents. Declaration of interest This work was supported by the UCLA Alzheimer Disease Center AG - 10123, the Sidell Kagan Research Foundation and the Elins family through UCLA Medical School and the A.W. And Mary-Margaret Clausen Chair at UCSF.

Note: Article Miller BL, UCSF, Mt Zion Hosp, 1600 Divisadero St, San Francisco,CA 94115 USA


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