M2R (Memory Resource and Research Centre), Geriatrics Department, University Hospitals of Strasbourg, Strasbourg, France
ICube Laboratory, UMR 7357 and FMTS (Fédération de Médecine Translationnelle de Strasbourg), Team IMIS, Université de Strasbourg et CNRS, Strasbourg, France
Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) is the second most common form of dementia in elderly patients. In the early stages, it shares many clinical and pathological features with other neurocognitive disorders such as Alzheimer's disease, making early and accurate diagnosis challenging. While written production has been shown to be sensible to pathological aging even before the onset of spoken language disorders, no research has been conducted on this aspect in DLB patients, particularly at the prodromal or mild stages. Objective. In order to better characterize their cognitive profiles, our speech therapy study aimed to assess the ability of prodromal or mild DLB patients in writing production. Methods.Seventeen prodromal to mild DLB patients underwent written tests selected from the French language assessment corpus GREMOTS. The protocol included dictations of words, logatoms, and sentences. These tests were completed with a self-assessment questionnaire about writing disability and an observational table of writing behavior. Results.18% of patients had a deficit score in dictation of words, 41 % of patients had a deficit score in dictation of logatoms and 35% of patients had a deficit score in dictation of sentences. 71% of patients had a subjective complaint about their handwriting quality. The assessment of handwriting quality also showed difficulties for 76% of patients, with graphic motor pattern disorders and motor symptoms associated with parkinsonism dysgraphia. Finally, our results suggest an impact of working memory, attentional and executive function impairments on logatoms production, and an impact of working memory impairment on long sentences production and grammatical agreements. Discussion. These findings are promising and may improve our knowledge of the prodromal and mild stages of DLB. They may also contribute to improve early diagnosis and clinical practice.