Multimodal Imaging in Frontotemporal Degeneration

Investigator: Howard J. Rosen, MD
Sponsor: NIH National Institute on Aging

Location(s): United States


The goals of this proposal are 1) to support time for Dr. Rosen to provide mentoring to a growing number of clinical researchers, 2) to support time for him to augment his skills as an investigator and 3) to increase his ability to conduct patient oriented research (POR) and to impart these skills to his mentees. To accomplish these goals he will augment his skills in statistical analysis, increase his efforts in self-development as a mentor and develop a more formal mentoring program. In addition, Dr. Rosen's new goals include improving his understanding of geriatric psychiatric assessment, introducing these approaches into his research and reaching out to more trainees interested in psychiatric symptoms. Training for both Dr. Rosen and his mentees will be accomplished through selected coursework and research activities including data analysis and manuscript preparation, using the data from Dr. Rosen's ongoing projects, including the Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration Neuroimaging Initiative, and an ongoing project to study the cognitive and emotional basis of impaired self-awareness in dementia. Because of his experience in both multimodal brain imaging and psychophysiological and behavioral methodology from emotions research, Dr. Rosen has unique expertise that can benefit trainees with neurology, psychiatry and psychology backgrounds. In addition, Dr. Rosen is proposing a new project, which will add the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM (SCID) to the clinical assessment of members of families affected by mutations that cause FTLD (f-FTLD). The aims of the project are to quantify the frequency of traditional psychiatric syndromes in early f-FTLD, and to assess value of psychiatric diagnosis in predicting the rate of cortical thinning over one year. The study will provide better characterization of the early clinical presentation of f-FTLD and give guidance about the psychiatric symptoms that may precede the development of sporadic FTLD, which can then be investigated in future studies. The proposed grant would support the research and mentoring activities of Dr. Howard Rosen, a behavioral neurologist whose research focuses on early recognition, better characterization and longitudinal tracking of atypical neurodegenerative dementias, in particular frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD). Currently, there are no specific treatments for most atypical dementias, and no well-established signs indicating when these diseases might be developing. Multimodal brain imaging and novel clinical assessments will be required to make inroads on recognition and treatment of these devastating diseases, and these techniques are the focus of the proposal.