Differences in Spatial Navigation Impairment in Neurodegenerative Dementias

Authors: J. Cerman 1;  J. Laczó 1,2;  M. Vyhnálek 1;  K. Vlček 3;  O. Lerch 1;  K. Sheardová 2;  J. Hort 1,2
Authors‘ workplace: Neurologická klinika 2. LF UK a FN v Motole, Praha 1;  ICRC, Mezinárodní centrum klinického výzkumu, FN u sv. Anny v Brně 2;  Oddělení neurofyziologie paměti, Fyziologický ústav AV ČR, v. v. i., Praha 3
Published in: Cesk Slov Neurol N 2014; 77/110(4): 449-455
Category: Original Paper


Impairment of multiple cognitive domains, including spatial navigation, leads to deterioration of self-sufficiency, a characteristic feature of patients with dementia. Spatial navigation is divided into three basic components that depend on different brain structures – navigation using a close orientation cue (cued), starting position of the body (egocentric) and distant orientation cue (allocentric). The aim of the study was to compare differences in impairment of these spatial navigation components in patients with the most common types of neurodegenerative dementias. In total, 78 patients with neurodegenerative dementias of various etiologies were divided into three groups: Alzheimer’s disease (AD, n = 61), frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD, n = 9) and dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB, n = 8). All subjects were examined in an experimental device called the Blue Velvet Arena that allows researchers to measure performance in each of the three navigation components. The results of the different tests were subsequently compared. In the cued navigation test, the FTLD group performed better than the AD (p = 0.03) and DLB (p = 0.006) groups. Furthermore, in the egocentric navigation test, the DLB group was outperformed by AD (p = 0.012) and FTLD (p = 0.012) groups. Finally, in the allocentric navigation test there were no differences among the groups (p = 0.069). Our results show that spatial navigation impairment may be least pronounced in FTLD patients and most pronounced in DLB patients. There are specific differences in spatial navigation impairment among patients with AD, FTLD and DLB that can be measured with the Blue Velvet Arena device.

Key words:
Alzheimer’s disease – frontotemporal lobar degeneration – dementia with Lewy bodies – spatial orientation


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