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Structural correlates of attention dysfunction in Lewy body dementia and Alzheimer's disease: an ex-Gaussian analysis

Lookup NU author(s): Julia SchumacherORCiD, Dr Ruth Cromarty, Dr Peter GallagherORCiD, Dr Michael FirbankORCiD, Professor Alan ThomasORCiD, Professor Marcus Kaiser, Professor Andrew BlamireORCiD, Professor John O'Brien, Dr Luis Peraza RodriguezORCiD, Professor John-Paul TaylorORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


BACKGROUND:Lewy body dementia (LBD) and Alzheimer's disease (AD) are common forms of degenerative dementia. While they are characterized by different clinical profiles, attentional deficits are a common feature. The objective of this study was to investigate how attentional problems in LBD and AD differentially affect different aspects of reaction time performance and to identify possible structural neural correlates.METHODS:We studied reaction time data from an attention task comparing 39 LBD patients, 28 AD patients, and 22 age-matched healthy controls. Data were fitted to an ex-Gaussian model to characterize different facets of the reaction time distribution (mean reaction time, reaction time variability, and the subset of extremely slow responses). Correlations between ex-Gaussian parameters and grey and white matter volume were assessed by voxel-based morphometry.RESULTS:Both dementia groups showed an increase in extremely slow responses. While there was no difference between AD and controls with respect to mean reaction time and variability, both were significantly increased in LBD patients compared to controls and AD. There were widespread correlations between mean reaction time and variability and grey matter loss in AD, but not in LBD.CONCLUSIONS:This study shows that different aspects of reaction time performance are differentially affected by AD and LBD, with a difference in structural neural correlates underlying the observed behavioural deficits. While impaired attentional performance is linked to brain atrophy in AD, in LBD it might be related to functional or microstructural rather than macrostructural changes.31006825

Publication metadata

Author(s): Schumacher J, Cromarty R, Gallagher P, Firbank MJ, Thomas AJ, Kaiser M, Blamire AM, O'Brien JT, Peraza LR, Taylor JP

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Neurology

Year: 2019

Volume: 266

Issue: 7

Pages: 1716–1726

Print publication date: 01/07/2019

Online publication date: 21/04/2019

Acceptance date: 11/04/2019

Date deposited: 03/05/2019

ISSN (print): 0340-5354

ISSN (electronic): 1432-1459

Publisher: Springer Berlin Heidelberg


DOI: 10.1007/s00415-019-09323-y

PubMed id: 31006825


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