Alzheimer's Disease

Basal Ganglia Morphology Distinguishes Dementia Subtypes

Putaminal Morphology Reveals Frontostriatal “Axis” in FTD

With collaborators from the Australian National University and the University of California (Los Angeles), we have shown that, like the hippocampus, the putamen in the striatum can be used as a possible biomarker for dementia subtype. In comparing a well-characterised group of patients with frontotemporal dementia, Huntington’s disease Alzheimer’s disease and matched healthy controls, and using sophisticated shape analysis methodology from Paul Thompson’s group at UCLA, we showed that there are distinct atrophy “signatures” that occur in the putamen, a key grey matter structure in the basal ganglia. These signatures may be useful in aiding diagnosis, and for better understanding of some of the cognitive and behavioural disturbances that occur in these degenerative disorders.

The research also shows that, compared to a more typical basal ganglia disorder and a cortical disorder, frontotemporal dementia shares characteristics of both, adding to our previous work proposing a frontostriatal axis for many of the features of this illness.

The paper can be found
here.

Looi et al. Differential putaminal morphology in Huntington’s disease, frontotemporal dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Aust NZ J Psychiatry 46: 1145-1158, 2012.

Brain Shape Analysis May Differentiate Alzheimer's from FTD

BRAIN SHAPE ANALYSIS DIFFERENTIATES ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE FROM FRONTOTEMPORAL DEMENTIA

A/Prof Mark Walterfang and Dr Dennis Velakoulis, with colleagues from ANU and the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, have shown how analysis of the shape of the hippocampus, one of the key brain regions involved in memory, can differentiate Alzheimer’s disease (AD) from another key type of dementia, fronto-temporal dementia (FTD).

Dr Walterfang undertook computerised shape analysis techniques on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans to demonstrate that the head of the hippocampus is preferentially affected in FTD, whereas it is relatively spared in AD, which tends to affect the rest of the hippocampal structure.

The paper can be found
here.

Lindberg et al. Hippocampal shape analysis in Alzheimer’s disease and frontotemporal dementia subtypes. J Alzheimers Dis 30: 355-365, 2012.