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Regional Cerebral Blood Flow Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography for detection of Frontotemporal dementia in people with suspected dementia

Overview of attention for article published in Cochrane database of systematic reviews, June 2015
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  • In the top 25% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (85th percentile)
  • Above-average Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (56th percentile)

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Regional Cerebral Blood Flow Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography for detection of Frontotemporal dementia in people with suspected dementia
Published in
Cochrane database of systematic reviews, June 2015
DOI 10.1002/14651858.cd010896.pub2
Pubmed ID

Hilary A Archer, Nadja Smailagic, Christeena John, Robin B Holmes, Yemisi Takwoingi, Elizabeth J Coulthard, Sarah Cullum


In the UK, dementia affects 5% of the population aged over 65 years and 25% of those over 85 years. Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) represents one subtype and is thought to account for up to 16% of all degenerative dementias. Although the core of the diagnostic process in dementia rests firmly on clinical and cognitive assessments, a wide range of investigations are available to aid diagnosis.Regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) is an established clinical tool that uses an intravenously injected radiolabelled tracer to map blood flow in the brain. In FTD the characteristic pattern seen is hypoperfusion of the frontal and anterior temporal lobes. This pattern of blood flow is different to patterns seen in other subtypes of dementia and so can be used to differentiate FTD.It has been proposed that a diagnosis of FTD, (particularly early stage), should be made not only on the basis of clinical criteria but using a combination of other diagnostic findings, including rCBF SPECT. However, more extensive testing comes at a financial cost, and with a potential risk to patient safety and comfort. To determine the diagnostic accuracy of rCBF SPECT for diagnosing FTD in populations with suspected dementia in secondary/tertiary healthcare settings and in the differential diagnosis of FTD from other dementia subtypes. Our search strategy used two concepts: (a) the index test and (b) the condition of interest. We searched citation databases, including MEDLINE (Ovid SP), EMBASE (Ovid SP), BIOSIS (Ovid SP), Web of Science Core Collection (ISI Web of Science), PsycINFO (Ovid SP), CINAHL (EBSCOhost) and LILACS (Bireme), using structured search strategies appropriate for each database. In addition we searched specialised sources of diagnostic test accuracy studies and reviews including: MEDION (Universities of Maastricht and Leuven), DARE (Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects) and HTA (Health Technology Assessment) database.We requested a search of the Cochrane Register of Diagnostic Test Accuracy Studies and used the related articles feature in PubMed to search for additional studies. We tracked key studies in citation databases such as Science Citation Index and Scopus to ascertain any further relevant studies. We identified 'grey' literature, mainly in the form of conference abstracts, through the Web of Science Core Collection, including Conference Proceedings Citation Index and Embase. The most recent search for this review was run on the 1 June 2013.Following title and abstract screening of the search results, full-text papers were obtained for each potentially eligible study. These papers were then independently evaluated for inclusion or exclusion. We included both case-control and cohort (delayed verification of diagnosis) studies. Where studies used a case-control design we included all participants who had a clinical diagnosis of FTD or other dementia subtype using standard clinical diagnostic criteria. For cohort studies, we included studies where all participants with suspected dementia were administered rCBF SPECT at baseline. We excluded studies of participants from selected populations (e.g. post-stroke) and studies of participants with a secondary cause of cognitive impairment. Two review authors extracted information on study characteristics and data for the assessment of methodological quality and the investigation of heterogeneity. We assessed the methodological quality of each study using the QUADAS-2 (Quality Assessment of Diagnostic Accuracy Studies) tool. We produced a narrative summary describing numbers of studies that were found to have high/low/unclear risk of bias as well as concerns regarding applicability. To produce 2 x 2 tables, we dichotomised the rCBF SPECT results (scan positive or negative for FTD) and cross-tabulated them against the results for the reference standard. These tables were then used to calculate the sensitivity and specificity of the index test. Meta-analysis was not performed due to the considerable between-study variation in clinical and methodological characteristics. Eleven studies (1117 participants) met our inclusion criteria. These consisted of six case-control studies, two retrospective cohort studies and three prospective cohort studies. Three studies used single-headed camera SPECT while the remaining eight used multiple-headed camera SPECT. Study design and methods varied widely. Overall, participant selection was not well described and the studies were judged as having either high or unclear risk of bias. Often the threshold used to define a positive SPECT result was not predefined and the results were reported with knowledge of the reference standard. Concerns regarding applicability of the studies to the review question were generally low across all three domains (participant selection, index test and reference standard).Sensitivities and specificities for differentiating FTD from non-FTD ranged from 0.73 to 1.00 and from 0.80 to 1.00, respectively, for the three multiple-headed camera studies. Sensitivities were lower for the two single-headed camera studies; one reported a sensitivity and specificity of 0.40 (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.05 to 0.85) and 0.95 (95% CI 0.90 to 0.98), respectively, and the other a sensitivity and specificity of 0.36 (95% CI 0.24 to 0.50) and 0.92 (95% CI 0.88 to 0.95), respectively.Eight of the 11 studies which used SPECT to differentiate FTD from Alzheimer's disease used multiple-headed camera SPECT. Of these studies, five used a case-control design and reported sensitivities of between 0.52 and 1.00, and specificities of between 0.41 and 0.86. The remaining three studies used a cohort design and reported sensitivities of between 0.73 and 1.00, and specificities of between 0.94 and 1.00. The three studies that used single-headed camera SPECT reported sensitivities of between 0.40 and 0.80, and specificities of between 0.61 and 0.97. At present, we would not recommend the routine use of rCBF SPECT in clinical practice because there is insufficient evidence from the available literature to support this.Further research into the use of rCBF SPECT for differentiating FTD from other dementias is required. In particular, protocols should be standardised, study populations should be well described, the threshold for 'abnormal' scans predefined and clear details given on how scans are analysed. More prospective cohort studies that verify the presence or absence of FTD during a period of follow up should be undertaken.

Twitter Demographics

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Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 205 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Spain 1 <1%
Russia 1 <1%
Unknown 203 99%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Master 32 16%
Student > Ph. D. Student 30 15%
Researcher 27 13%
Student > Bachelor 27 13%
Student > Postgraduate 13 6%
Other 39 19%
Unknown 37 18%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Medicine and Dentistry 55 27%
Nursing and Health Professions 29 14%
Psychology 18 9%
Social Sciences 13 6%
Neuroscience 11 5%
Other 26 13%
Unknown 53 26%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 10. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 24 January 2016.
All research outputs
of 12,527,219 outputs
Outputs from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 8,923 outputs
Outputs of similar age
of 233,390 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 247 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 12,527,219 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done well and is in the 88th percentile: it's in the top 25% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 8,923 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 21.2. This one has gotten more attention than average, scoring higher than 65% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 233,390 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done well, scoring higher than 85% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 247 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has gotten more attention than average, scoring higher than 56% of its contemporaries.