Rationale and Design of the “DIagnostic and Prognostic Precision Algorithm for behavioral variant Frontotemporal Dementia” (DIPPA-FTD) Study: A Study Aiming to Distinguish Early Stage Sporadic FTD from Late-Onset Primary Psychiatric Disorders

Sterre C. M. de Boer, Lina Riedl, Chiara Fenoglio, Ishana Rue, Ramon Landin-Romero, Sophie Matis, Zac Chatterton, Daniela Galimberti, Glenda Halliday, Janine Diehl-Schmid, Olivier Piguet, Yolande A. L. Pijnenburg, Simon Ducharme

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Background: The behavioral variant of frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD) is very heterogeneous in pathology, genetics, and disease course. Unlike Alzheimer’s disease, reliable biomarkers are lacking and sporadic bvFTD is often misdiagnosed as a primary psychiatric disorder (PPD) due to overlapping clinical features. Current efforts to characterize and improve diagnostics are centered on the minority of genetic cases. Objective: The multi-center study DIPPA-FTD aims to develop diagnostic and prognostic algorithms to help distinguish sporadic bvFTD from late-onset PPD in its earliest stages. Methods: The prospective DIPPA-FTD study recruits participants with late-life behavioral changes, suspect for bvFTD or late-onset PPD diagnosis with a negative family history for FTD and/or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Subjects are invited to participate after diagnostic screening at participating memory clinics or recruited by referrals from psychiatric departments. At baseline visit, participants undergo neurological and psychiatric examination, questionnaires, neuropsychological tests, and brain imaging. Blood is obtained to investigate biomarkers. Patients are informed about brain donation programs. Followup takes place 10-14 months after baseline visit where all examinations are repeated. Results from the DIPPA-FTD study will be integrated in a data-driven approach to develop diagnostic and prognostic models. Conclusions: DIPPA-FTD will make an important contribution to early sporadic bvFTD identification. By recruiting subjects with ambiguous or prodromal diagnoses, our research strategy will allow the characterization of early disease stages that are not covered in current sporadic FTD research. Results will hopefully increase the ability to diagnose sporadic bvFTD in the early stage and predict progression rate, which is pivotal for patient stratification and trial design.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)963-973
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Alzheimer's Disease
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jan 2024


  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • diagnostics
  • frontotemporal dementia
  • neurodegeneration
  • prognostics
  • psychiatric disorders

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