University of Cambridge
Cortico-striatal contributions to symptomology in dementia: new targets for therapy
Alzheimer's Research UK
The advent of novel disease modifying therapies in Alzheimers disease (AD) highlights the urgency to reliably distinguish AD from other dementias. Especially, diseases such as behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD) can present clinically very similar to AD, which can make it difficult to identify the patients disease at the earliest time point. The proposed pilot grant will pioneer a new approach which will allow a double-dissociation of AD and bvFTD at a very early disease stage by contrasting for the first time cortical and subcortical contributions to the symptomology of both diseases. Increasing evidence shows that only AD patients present consistently with cortical parietal changes from disease onset, by contrast earliest changes in the subcortical striatum are only present in bvFTD. This pilot project will confirm the specificity of both regions to AD and bvFTD in pathologically confirmed patients. We will further explore the contributions of these regions to the clinical presentation in both diseases and pilot novel specific clinical and cognitive biomarkers for each region. Overall, these findings will greatly improve the diagnostic specificity of both pathologies even at a very early disease stage, which in turn will increase the efficacy of novel upcoming disease modifying therapies.